What to Do When Your Dog Starts Biting its Tail

As a dog owner, it can be difficult to distinguish between a behavioral phase or an ailment that should be tended. For instance, if your dog is biting its tail, what are you expected to do? Doing an internet search may bring up confusing or conflicting information, but is it a serious issue that needs a veterinarian’s attention? 

Why is my dog biting its tail?

Before figuring out a solution to your pet’s problem, it is important to understand the source of its biting. Identifying the underlying cause should make it easier to determine the best way to put your dog at ease. These reasons may include:

Allergies (Hypersensitivity)

Many people do not realize that dogs can have allergies just as humans do. Dogs can have a range of sensitivities, from food hypersensitivities to environmental allergies. If your dog bites its tail, it might be because it is experiencing hypersensitivities.

The most well-known allergens include mold, pollen, or household synthetic substances. A dog biting its tail may also be hypersensitivity to food such as poultry, wheat, potatoes, or even a few kinds of vegetables. To confirm this, your veterinarian can do a sensitivity test to determine what allergies your dog might be experiencing.

Stress and Anxiety

Another condition that dogs experience is anxiety and stress. When some dogs start to feel on edge--for example, when their owner leaves for work--they may take part in destructive practices to alleviate their own nervousness. While numerous dogs channel this worry into damaging property, they may turn their nervousness to themselves, if they are kenneled.

Parasitic Infestations 

Tail-biting may be in response to parasites. Insects and ticks are common pests to encounter, especially during the warm spring and summer months. Many dog owners are all too familiar with how many dogs respond to getting an insect bite or a tick.

They will scratch, chew, or lick at the spot in an effort to comfort themselves and free themselves of the insect. Many owners give their dogs take an oral medication, medicated shower, or wear a medicated collar to keep them from getting pests.

Hot Spots

A hot spot is created on the outside of a dog's body and occurs when they repeatedly scratch, bite, or chew at an area of the skin until an open wound is made. Hot spots regularly form in situations where there are dampness and warmth, so dogs are defenseless against diseases if it gets infected. Therefore, it is important to address this issue quickly.

Impacted Anal Glands

A dog biting or nibbling at its tail may be because of an affected anal gland. For a dog, its anal-centric organs and glands are critical both for their wellbeing and as a social instrument. Individuals customarily shake hands when they meet;however, a dog will discharge liquid from its anal glands that other dogs will smell when they meet. If a dog’s anal glands are impacted, not only will their social interactions be limited, but they may have problems using the bathroom.


A few dogs may injure their behind and not let their owner know. If your dog has harmed their behind, they may start biting or gnawing at the afflicted area as a sign that there is something wrong.


Like people, some dogs may develop nervous habits when they are bored. Some humans will chew their nails, shake their foot, or play with their hair. For a canine, their responses to boredom and weariness can unexpectedly show themselves including biting.

Hormonal Imbalances

In certain dogs, a hormonal imbalance can prompt the tail-biting. If the dog's body isn't creating enough thyroid hormone normally or if it is delivering an overabundance of cortisol, the dog is at a higher risk of developing superficial skin infections.

Deciding the correct solution for your dog

When you have pinpointed the reason behind why your dog is biting its tail, the subsequent stage is to decide the correct solution to correct their conduct or treat the basic issue. Finding the correct solution will vary dependent upon the situation, particularly since there is a wide range of reasons why a dog might be biting or chewing their tail.

Changing Food

If your dog is biting because of food allergies, the solution is to figure out what food sources are setting off the response and to eliminate them from your dog's diet.

Getting Rid of Parasites

If your dog is chewing their tail because of parasites, it is essential that you treat the infestation. There are a huge number of flea and tick medications that you can use based on the recommendation of your veterinarian.

Using Medication

For various conditions, your veterinarian may prescribe drugs to treat the issue. If your dog is experiencing dry, flaky skin that is making them itch, they may require a topical treatment or an oral medicine to enable their skin to come back to normal.

Correcting and Preventing the Behavior

If your dog is displaying a compulsive behavior, for example, tail biting, it is vital that you intercede and find a way to help discourage their behavior. This may mean utilizing a bitter spray to keep them from biting  or putting them in a collar or cone that doesn't enable them to nibble at hot spots or irritation on their tail.

Dealing with Boredom and Anxiety

A few dogs may act out if they are bored or anxious. In these cases, it is best that your dog gets enough exercise, love, and mental stimulation. Dangerous behaviors frequently decline when all of your dog's needs are being met.

Implementing the Solution

While treating a dog biting its tail may not be the same for each dog, whatever solutions you choose to use should be done so consistently.



Hello, I'm Shelly! I write about all things dogs. I'm a proud mother of 3. So I guess my official title is fulltime mother, part-time dog blogger. Look around and if you have any questions reach out to me shelly@mylargedogs.com