As a dog parent, I’m constantly watching my dogs, perplexed by what they do and wondering why they do it.
Dogs do the darndest things, that’s for sure.
Why dogs chase their own tails is a phenomenon that is right up there with dogs having the “zoomies” and doing the Indy 500 around your yard, especially after a bath!
By Adeline Ee.
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You know the one thing most strange behaviors have in common?
Dogs are expressing their excitement and expelling energy.
Many strange behaviors stem from simple joy and playfulness.
Of course, everything should be enjoyed in moderation.
Short bursts of energy that manifest in playful antics is one thing, but constant, repetitive behavior is a whole different ball game that we suggest should be looked at by a professional such as a canine behaviorist.
Is My Dog Bored When He Chases His Own Tail?
Oftentimes, dogs that are bored and under-stimulated might engage in strange behaviors like chasing their own tails or having the zoomies.
While these are harmless activities when exhibited in moderation, excessive boredom over prolonged periods can lead to more serious behavioral problems like destructive chewing, digging, and separation anxiety.
Be sure that your dog has plenty of exercise and is exhausted at the end of the day, and the whole tail chasing thing might just grind to a halt.
Remember, a tired dog is a happy one!
Isn’t My Dog Just Playing?
If your dog chases his own tail every once in a while, it is more than likely that he is simply expelling some excess energy and being playful.
Like human babies, dogs love to put things in their mouth to explore the world, and that includes parts of themselves!
They might see their own tail as a fun, fluffy chew toy and with their prey drive, seek to chase it around.
Most of the tail chasing can be attributed to puppy exuberance, but when the behavior gets excessive, then it’s time to take a closer look.
Could My Dog Be Anxious?
Yes, your pooch can certainly be exhibiting anxious or nervous behavior, similar to us humans and compulsive behaviors like chewing our nails.
Repetitive behavior can be a great stress reliever…
…and your dog might be doing the tail chasing as part of his way of blowing off some steam and releasing some stress.
Just like people, some dogs are naturally more twitchy than others, and may suffer from some form of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), which might manifest in tail chasing.
It would help to watch your pooch carefully to see what triggers the tail chasing.
If your dog is overly excited when someone comes to the door, or when you come home, the tail chasing and spinning is likely to last a few seconds.
However, if it does last longer than that, it might be because of a deeper underlying reason.
Does My Dog Want Attention?
Dogs, like mine, ALWAYS want attention!
Tail chasing is a funny behavior and what do we do?
Laugh in happiness, kneel down and give your dog a hug, or simply just enjoy the time together.
Your dog will learn that by chasing his tail, he’ll make you happy, and you’ll give him plenty of attention.
Some attention seeking is to be expected and relatively harmless.
However, as always, if your dog does this excessively or insists on your attention, you can prevent and reduce this behavior by ignoring it and only giving attention when he stops chasing his tail.
He’ll soon get the idea!
Does My Dog Have A Medical Condition?
Check the tail thoroughly for signs of any skin infections or bites.
If your doggo’s tail is itchy and irritated, he might be chasing his tail to soothe the bite, itch, or injury.
Dogs might itch around their butts because of parasites, skin infections, fleas, food allergies, or unexpelled anal glands.
Monitor your dog closely and if you suspect he’s chasing his tail because of a medical problem, off to the vet’s you go!
When Are Dogs Chasing Their Own Tails Unhealthy?
Some moderate tail chasing is natural, and more likely than not, is a dog’s way of expressing joy, excitement, and playfulness.
However, if you notice your dog chewing on the tail excessively and causing injury such as torn skin or bald patches, it is best to get help from a veterinary professional to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
If your dog chases his tail compulsively and is hard to distract with food or treats, it could also be a sign of a compulsive mental condition, and a canine behaviorist should be consulted to ensure that the problem doesn’t escalate into a full-blown problem.
This adorable behavior is more likely than not, harmless.
But amusing as it is, you’ll need to keep a close watch on Fido and make sure that it isn’t because of a deeper, more ominous reason than a quick release of playful energy!