Dog Lets Tail Hang? Water Rod? A Professional Clears It Up!

Your dog and you had a great, exciting day, maybe even went to the water and in the evening you discover a suddenly hanging tail on the dog?

Very good that you are thinking about it!

If your dog lets the tail hang, this is usually a sign of a so-called water rod!

In this article, you will find out what the cause is, how you can prevent worse and how you can prevent a water rod.

In a nutshell: The dog lets the tail hang down

Your dog is holding the tail strangely or your dog no longer raises the tail? Does he no longer wag his rod when playing?

This can mean two things. Either your dog is very scared or he has a water cane.

Since a water route is VERY PAINFUL, a veterinarian should ABSOLUTELY be consulted!

What are the symptoms of a water stick?

Dogs are often affected by water rods, which are worked very intensively without training.

A water rod is nothing more than overloading the rod.

Due to the severe pain, the dog lets its tail hang down and is no longer able to move and control it.

Long swimming in cold water in particular is a well-known trigger and causes a bruised tail in the dog.

The following symptoms indicate a water rod:

  • Sudden change of tail position: a few cm of tail is stretched out normally and the rest hangs limp
  • The dog adopts a relieving posture when sitting and lets the pelvis tilt
  • The dog shows pain when defecating

What are the causes of a water rod?

Unfortunately, the topic of water rods is not very well known. It has not been thoroughly researched and there are several theories about its origin:

  • The tail vertebra joint was compressed
  • Inflammation between the vertebrae due to overuse
  • Muscles responsible for the tail have been damaged

How is a water rod treated?

A water rod is extremely painful for your dog! That’s why a visit to your veterinarian is highly recommended.

Pain medication and anti-inflammatory drugs are usually prescribed.

It takes a few days to a maximum of 2 weeks for a water rod to heal.

It is important that you give your dog time to heal. Unfortunately, it often happens that a dog becomes more susceptible to it after the first water rod.

You can also help your dog with a water rod

In addition to the medication, you can also support your dog yourself so that the water cane heals faster and the pain becomes more bearable.

Rest and protection

Remember, your dog uses his tail in so many areas like balance and body language. His tail is in constant motion during activity, which of course causes pain.

Give your dog plenty of rest and protection during this time. You can go full throttle again after healing.

Warming envelopes

If your dog allows it, offer him warm compresses. Cherry stone cushions are particularly suitable for this. Boiled potatoes are also great heat accumulators.

But make sure that these are not too hot!

You can apply the warming compresses several times a day for about 20 minutes.


If you want to use homeopathic remedies, please discuss this with your vet beforehand.

There are homeopathic remedies that are not compatible with medicines.

I myself have had very good experiences with arnica cream! My dog really appreciated the massage with it.

How can I prevent a water rod?

Learn from your experience! Find out what you did that day. Was it more than usual? Remember; less is often more.

Many dogs love water, no matter how cold it is. They swim until the game ends.

It is also believed that well-trained dogs are less prone to water rods.

Make sure your dog is in good physical condition and stays fit.

Make a point of warming up your dog well before any intense swims, and avoid standing idle on cold or blustery days when he’s wet.

In cool weather, a dog bathrobe is a very good, simple, and practical solution after a swim.


Make sure that your dog has enough space in its transport box and can lie down properly.

Dog boxes that are too narrow do not allow for a good posture for the back and damage can occur more easily.

What can be other causes of a hanging tail?

Your dog may let its tail hang for a variety of reasons. Other possible causes for this are:

  • fear
  • back pain
  • chronic stress
  • dislocation in the tail
  • submissive behavior
  • broken rod

Depending on the cause, you should address the specific needs of your dog. In any case, take your dog to your trusted veterinarian if you notice that something is wrong.


Is your dog hanging its tail? This is an alarm, something is wrong!

A painful water rod is usually the trigger here. A visit to your veterinarian for a diagnosis, pain medication, and anti-inflammatories is a good way to control water cane.

Have you noticed any other signs in your dog that you cannot classify? Then take a look at our dog training bible and learn to better understand your dog’s world.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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