Why Is My Dog Chasing Its Tail?

A dog chasing its tail is normal, isn’t it? At least it’s a cliché of a stupid dog who thinks his own tail is prey.

Would you think your dog is most likely to be nervous or upset when chasing its own tail? Or that he might even be in pain. Presumably, this or that serious reason lies behind this feature.

Because what many dismiss as “this is what dogs do” is often an expression of one of many physical or mental health problems, rather than “typical behavior” with no specific function.

Possible Causes

This is explained by veterinarians and behavioral expert Dr. Vanessa Spano in front of The Dodo online magazine. It has been associated with tail chasing in dogs for one of the following reasons:

  • Stress
  • Disappointment
  • Fear or panic
  • Pain
  • Skin irritation
  • Neurological problems
  • Convulsions

The veterinarian knows from experience that dogs chase their own tail most often because of frustration or stress. Therefore, she advises, first of all, to carefully observe what situation can provoke stress. If possible, hosts should address the cause of the stress.

Is Your Dog Chasing Its Tail? You Can Do It

If this is not possible – or you simply cannot identify the source of the stress – you are trying to distract your loved one. As soon as you notice that he wants to chase his tail, you can give him a command, for example, “Sit down!” If he follows this, you must reward him.

Here’s how you break the behavior pattern: instead of chasing its own tail, your dog makes a different movement.

If despite your best efforts, your dog continues to chase its tail, you should also talk to your veterinarian about the behavior. He can then figure out if there is a physical problem behind it.

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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