Help! My Dog has a Broken Tail!
Nothing beats a wagging, happy tail! Unfortunately, this excitable, happy part of a dog's anatomy can sometimes get in the way. Many years ago I accidentally slammed my dog's tail in the front door. Boy did she yelp loudly and boy did I feel bad! Thankfully, her tail wasn't broken...just badly bruised. One way you will be able to tell if your dog's tail is indeed broken is by the way he or she wags it. Dogs that have broken tails are only able to wag them halfway (they won't be able to move their tails beyond the break). If the skin of the tail is broken be prepared for a lot of blood as tails tend to bleed heavily.
So what do you do if your pup has a broken tail? Well first of all you will need to stop the bleeding. GENTLY grasp the tail where the injury occurred (you might want to wear a pair of gloves) and press down firmly (but gently). Next, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water. It is very important to clean the wound so that it doesn't get infected. Once the wound is clean, apply an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin. Finally, place sterile gauze pads over the wound (use medical tape to keep them in place). It is important to remember that if your dog's tail is indeed broken he or she will be in some pain. Therefore, be extra careful when cleaning and bandaging the bleeding area.
Depending on where your dog's tail is broken you may be able to immobilize it without a trip to the vet's office. However if you are at all uncomfortable at the thought of doing so, then by all means, take your pup to the vet. If the tail IS NOT broken at the base, you can take care of the fracture at home. Simply use a chopstick or other very thin piece of wood as a splint. Place the piece of wood under the tail (where it is broken) and beginning at the tip of the tail wrap the tape snuggly, working toward the body with closely over-lapping layers. The splint will help to keep the tape in place. Your dog will need to keep the splint on for at least one or two weeks. Only remove the splint once your dog is able to wag his or her entire tail.
If your dog's tail is broken at the base you should take him to the vet as these breaks can be more complicated. Tails that are broken at the base can cause nerve damage. Therefore, it is important to take your pup to the vet as soon as possible so he or she can assess the seriousness of the situation. Though most tail breaks are not that serious, your dog will need some extra loving care while his tail heals. For example, if your dog breaks his tail at the base he will not be able to lift it in order to go to the bathroom. Therefore, he will need your assistance. If your dog appears to be in pain, ask the veterinarian for some pain medication. Good luck!
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