Our Veterinary Blog
Dog Tail Biting in Lakeland, FL: How to Stop It
Does your dog bite their tail often? Are you worried they may cause some harm to themselves by doing this? Do you want to find out how to stop the behavior? Tail biting is a common compulsive behavior in dogs, and the underlying causes can vary. It’s important to stop the behavior when possible to prevent your dog from hurting themselves, but it can be difficult to figure out the right method of making this happen.
In the article below, you’ll find out more about dog tail biting and how to stop it in Lakeland, FL.
Determine the Underlying Cause of Your Dog’s Tail Biting
First, it’s important to figure out the underlying cause of your pet’s tail biting. If she is biting her tail just for the fun of it, this may be easier to resolve than tail biting as a result of anxiety or skin irritation. Hot spots are one of the more difficult tail biting causes to get rid of, too.
Once you have figured out the underlying cause, you can narrow down the treatment options and help get your dog back to her usual, healthy self in no time. Be sure to ask your vet if you think your dog’s tail biting could be related to a physical issue.
Consider Stress Factors
There may be stress factors in your family or household that are influencing your dog’s nervous behaviors. If your dog is nervous or anxious about something, they may be more likely to start biting their tail, much like a nervous human would bite their fingernails.
If you’ve moved to a new home recently, brought home a baby or another pet, or if your work schedule has changed a lot, these are all factors that could be causing your dog to panic and start tail biting. In this situation, training or medication may be the only solutions that can help.
Provide Enrichment for Your Dog
Many times, dogs bite their tails because they are bored. If your dog has nothing better to do with their time, they may become prone to tail biting. To prevent this problem, you can provide more enrichment for your pet throughout the day.
Enrichment may come in the form of active play or good, long walks, but it can also come from mental stimulation. If you cannot walk your dog every day or if they aren’t getting enough enrichment from physical activity, try a puzzle toy to add some mental challenges to their day.
Train Your Dog to Stop Biting Its Tail
It may seem impossible, but you can actually train your dog to stop biting their tail, as long as you observe the behavior when it happens. If you see your dog biting its tail, give them a firm “stop” or “no” command to make them stop. They might not get the idea at first, but over time, they will understand.
You can make the training go even more smoothly by giving your dog a high-value treat when they stop biting their tail on command. Pretty soon, they’ll associate the lack of tail biting with something good, and won’t want to bite their tail anymore.
Provide High-Quality Food
Many dogs are slightly allergic to or intolerant of their kibble or wet food. Food allergies in dogs may easily cause skin irritation that can lead to chewing and biting behaviors, including tail biting. If you think your dog’s issue is a food allergy, try switching them to a better quality food.
Food with higher quality ingredients is less likely to cause food allergies in dogs. However, if your dog is allergic to a specific type of protein, you may need to work to determine which protein is causing the problem and remove it from their diet moving forward.
Keep Up with Flea and Tick Prevention
Your dog’s tail biting could be related to fleas, ticks, or worms. By keeping up with their regular flea and tick prevention as well as regular deworming, you can help reduce the risk of tail biting and other behaviors in your pet.
Flea baths may be necessary in situations where your dog’s fleas have gotten out of control. Periodic flea baths can also help reduce the risk of infestations.
Patience and Consistency Will Help Your Dog Stop Biting Its Tail
With a little patience and practice, you can prevent your dog from biting their tail. However, if you find that the methods on this list are still not working for you and your pet, no matter what you do, then it might be time to enlist the help of a professional.
A professional trainer can help you if your dog’s tail biting habit is related to a compulsion. If the underlying cause is medical, a vet can help instead. Work with one or both of these professionals to figure out the right course of action for your pet, and you’ll be able to help her in no time.
At Lakeland Animal Clinic, we’re more than happy to help you with your dog’s tail biting dilemma and can point you in the right direction. You can call us at 863-688-3338 with any questions or concerns you may have.
Family is family, whether it has two legs or four. At Lakeland Animal Clinic, we've spent the last 40 years healing and caring for your pets. As a family-operated practice, we know that family is about more than simply being related. Animals give us the ability to develop strong bonds and feel great compassion for a fellow living creature.