Silly or Serious: Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?

Posted by Stacey Venzel

Dogs chase their tails for many reasons, but it’s not always something to laugh about.

When Spot starts going round and round and round and round, endlessly chasing his tail, it can cause an eruption of laughter from anyone viewing the behavior. Sometimes it really is just a dog being playful, but other times it’s a sign that something needs to change.

Here are eight reasons a dog might chase its tail:

 1. Boredom

One of the most obvious and easily preventable reasons for a dog chasing its tail is boredom. If a pet is stuck in a crate or home, or even the same yard all day, life can get pretty dull. At this point, going after your own body part becomes exciting.

Making sure your pet has plenty of exercise and stimulation in the form of toys, friends and even treats can keep your pup from getting bored.

why does a dog chase its tail

 2. Fleas

These biting insects can nestle on the rump and tail of a dog, causing an aggressive urge to itch. You might never find a flea on your dog as it only takes one flea to cause this behavior to become obsessive.

Flea treatment and prevention with the consult of a veterinarian can deter tail-chasing behavior caused by these pests.

 3. Anal Gland Problem

If the anal glands are swollen or inflamed, your dog might be trying to get at them but appear to be chasing his tail. If you also notice him scooting, while leaking liquid from his rear, or being extra smelly back there, he might be due for an anal gland expression.

A trip to the vet can solve this problem, provided there is no underlying issue with the anal glands or region of the anus.

anal gland problem

 4. Behavior Issues

Canine compulsive disorder is a rare but serious behavioral condition that requires medical attention and training.

 5. Hormone Imbalance

Any time there is an interruption in the flow or amount of hormones in an animal’s body, behavioral issues could arise. Bloodwork would help rule this out as a possibility.

dog tail

 6. Skin Infection

Aside from itching due to fleas, a bacterial, yeast infection, or hot spot could be forming around the canine’s posterior. Similar to a flea reaction, the dog could be chasing its tail to try to get at the irritation.

Cleaning the area and receiving proper medical treatment could stop the behavior from occurring.

 7. Genetics

Some breeds are more prone to tail chasing than others, including Shepherds, Cattle Dogs, and Terriers.

 8. Puppies Being Puppies!

If the canine in question is a puppy, there might be a simple answer for the habitual behavior. The puppy could just be an inquisitive youngster, still not quite sure what a tail is.

While it looks like all fun and games, a dog might be telling you something when it chases its tail.

If you’re concerned about this repetitive behavior, seek advice from a veterinary professional.

Silly or Serious: Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?