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Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails When Excited?

No one is 100% sure why dogs chase their tails. It can be due to boredom, lack of exercise, stress, medical issues, or genetics. Let’s check out the common reasons why dogs chase their tails.

Key Takeaways

Dogs chase their tails for enjoyment, to get your attention, to relieve boredom or stress, pain, allergy/rash, or to act their age.

A dog chasing his tail is quite normal, and the best way to stop them from doing it is to distract them.

9 Reasons behind Dogs Chasing Their Tails When Excited

Enjoyment

The most common reason a dog chases his tail is enjoyment. Puppies show excitement when they explore the world around them. So, they start chasing their tails and amuse the people around them.

Attention

Your dog wants your attention and shows this by chasing its tail or getting into your lap when you return home. It may also start licking you to get your attention. Ensure you give your dog plenty of time and play with him so he doesn’t stress out.

Boredom

Dogs that don’t get to go out too often get bored inside the home. They don’t have much to do the whole day, and extra energy builds up in the system. The dogs then start chasing their tails to engage in some form of activity and use the build-up energy. Give your dog enough time to reduce boredom.

Age Factor

Puppies usually chase their tail because they have recently discovered it. Some puppies believe their tail is a toy and love playing with it. It is nothing to worry about; this behavior usually ends as the puppies grow up.

Tall Terriers and German Shepherds chase their tails more often than other dog breeds. This is where genetics comes into play.

Older dogs may chase their tails because their mental health is decreasing. You may want to take your old dog to a wet if he is engaged in repetitive tail chasing.

dog chase tail

Pain

Dogs can’t tell you if they are in pain. They’ll start licking or biting the hurting areas. Sometimes your dog may be chasing his tail because it’s hurting due to injury, rash, or allergies.

Allergies and Rashes

Sometimes tail chasing indicates skin problems like allergies or rashes. Your dog may develop rash or allergies due to a change in diet, soap, or shampoo. He may catch a rash outside. Examine your dog’s tail to see if it is red or has welts, scales, or allergies. You must take your dog to a vet immediately if you notice such things on his tail or elsewhere.

Parasites or Fleas

Your dog may chase and bite his tail because of parasites and fleas. As dogs can’t scratch themselves, they bite their tails to eliminate the parasite. Check your dog’s tail to see if it is attacked by parasites. You can use a flea comb to remove the fleas. You can also give them a flea bath, and don’t forget to check their bedding.

Dogs usually catch fleas from yards. You must spray your yard with a dog-safe flea spray to get rid of fleas and other parasites.

Compulsive Disorder

Chasing tail is a listed compulsive disorder in dogs. Some other compulsive disorders include shadow and light chasing, spinning, self-mutation, and fly biting.

Compulsive disorders manifest when your dog is left alone, stressed, or when they see someone new. You can pinpoint the triggers by noticing your dog’s behaviors. Don’t forget to visit your dog’s doctor to learn more about this behavior. The vet may put your dog on medication.

Stress/Anxiety

Dogs start chasing and biting their tails when they are stressed or anxious. Dogs get stressed when they go to a new place, you have visitors, or you don’t give enough time to your dog. Make sure you spend time with your pet, play with him, treat him, and take him out for walks at least 2-3 times a week.

How do you get your dog to stop chasing his tail?

It is quite difficult to stop your dog from chasing his tail all the time, but you can distract them. It always helps to know how to handle your excited dog to prevent injury.

Give your dog plenty of time, opportunities to play and socialize, and give him food treats. Let them be alone in a large unobstructed place to reduce injury risks. Do not raise your voice or chase your dog when he is chasing his tail.

When to visit a vet for tail chasing?

You must consider visiting a vet when your dog becomes obsessed with chasing his tail or can’t think of anything else. For example, he misses meals and treats, and starts chasing his tail when playing or walking outside. The vet will likely prescribe medications and behavior therapy for tail chasing that isn’t an underlying medical problem.

Is it normal for a dog to chase its tail?

Yes. It is normal, and most pet parents get amused seeing their dogs chasing tails. However, it can indicate a significant underlying problem. It is okay to laugh but don’t ignore repetitive tail chasing and biting. Your dog may be trying to tell you something is wrong with him.

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