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Why do dogs chase their tails?

Updated on February 17, 2012

Chasing tail, like barking and walking is a dog thing. All dogs at one time or another have chased their tails although this behavior is noticed to be more common in some breeds of terriers. Tail chasing can either be amusing or irritating. This natural canine behavior is more prevalent in puppies. If the tail chasing is not excessive and it is not doing any harm there will be no need to stop the dog from doing so. However, in some cases, tail chasing can signify an underlying medical concern. It is therefore necessary to know what causes the dog to chase its tail.

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A puppy chasing its tail

Puppies parted from its mother and from its littermates are commonly seen chasing their tails. Without the siblings to play with, the puppy will be bored. When it sees something moving on its rear, the puppy would make a dash to grab it. And the repetitive whirling around is on! Apparently, the puppy does not realize that what it is chasing is attached to its body.

An attention getting behavior

A dog that chases its tail would certainly be noticed. Because dogs are social animals they would crave for its people’s attention. So what would the dog do if it is ignored? The dog can turn into a destructive monster that would destroy the family properties in a matter of minutes. The dog can bark incessantly or it can chase its tail. To the dog negative attention would be better that no attention at all.

A dog’s way of dealing with anxiety and boredom

Have you brought a new dog at home? Is there a new baby in the house? The old pet would be anxious if the “new comers” are showered with love and attention while he, the loyal one seems to be ignored. Chasing the tail is equivalent to the nail biting behavior of humans. A dog that is left at home all day with no playmates and no toys would think of something to while away the time. What can be a better way to deal with boredom than to chase the tail? At least, the owners will find no cause to scold the dog as nothing was destroyed.

An underlying medical concern

Tail chasing can be cause by external and internal parasites. The itchiness caused by flea infestation can make the dog chase its tail to be able to bite the itchy area. The same thing is true if worms are making the anal area itchy. A dog with an impacted anal gland would chase the tail in an effort to express the gland to be more comfortable.

dog chasing tail & catchin it!

Dog chasing tail


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