Why Does a Dog Keep Chewing His Tail up by His Butt?

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Even if you just went out to the mailbox, your dog is ecstatic when you come in the door. There's nothing like a good tail-wagging greeting. Your dog expresses so many emotions through her tail. If she starts constantly chewing that appendage near the base, she's telling you something is very wrong.


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Canine parasites

If your dog is incessantly biting his tail, he may have some type of parasite infestation, according to Dogster. Such parasites may take the forms of fleas, ticks or worms — or a combination of pests. The base of the tail is an area, along with the back of the head, where fleas tend to congregate. Tapeworms, segments of which look like rice around the dog's anus, can cause constant irritation.


Fortunately, eradicating these parasites and relieving your dog's discomfort is relatively easy. Ask your veterinarian about the best flea and tick preventive for your pet. If you spot those telltale tapeworm segments, deworm your dog with a medication specifically designed to eliminate tapeworms. Again, your vet can prescribe a suitable dewormer.


Impacted anal glands

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Your dog has two glands on either side of her anus. In the canine world, the fluids from these glands are a form of dog ID. When dogs meeting each other for the first time sniff each other's rear ends, they're obtaining information about the newcomer from the secretions. Think of it as their version of "Here's my card."


Anal glands often become impacted, resulting in pain and possible infection. Tail gnawing is just one symptom of impacted anal glands. Scooting across the floor is another common sign. Take your pet to the vet for an examination.

If impacted anal glands are the culprit, your vet can express them and release the nasty material. If an infection is present, antibiotics are prescribed. Some dogs are prone to anal gland impactions. If you're up to it, your vet can teach you how to safely perform this unpleasant task.


Food allergies

A flea allergy is usually simple to treat. That's not the case with food allergies. While sneezing and wheezing is a common allergic reaction in people, in dogs such allergies usually manifest themselves in skin problems. Identifying and combating the issue requires veterinary attention.


If your vet suspects a food allergy, an elimination diet is usually recommended. According to Cummings Veterinary Medical Center at Tufts University, this involves substituting feeding your dog a diet either provided by the veterinarian or a single protein diet. The latter often consist of one uncommon meat the animal has never previously been fed, such as rabbit, duck or even kangaroo. Other than water, nothing else should enter your dog's mouth for the prescribed period.


If your dog stops the tail biting and the skin improves, it's likely a food allergy was to blame. From now on, you'll have to manage your dog's diet very carefully. You can try re-introducing another single meat source at some point, such as beef or chicken, but if your dog's allergy flares up again, you know at least one of the triggers.


Canine anxiety

Sometimes, there's no external reason for a dog's constant tail chewing. Instead, it's a way for the dog to let you know something is missing in his life, whether it's exercise or mental stimulation. He's stressed and anxious, and he takes that stress and anxiety out on himself. It's up to you to provide him with an outlet for his pent-up feelings.

Help your dog by spending as much time with him as possible, including going for long walks. Such exercise benefits both of you. Play with him, and provide him with toys and suitable chew objects so that he pays less attention to his tail.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.