Why Does My Dog Bite His Tail Until It Bleeds

Give your dog a puzzle toy with peanut butter or small dog treats inside. He will enjoy the treat while it redirects his chewing habit to an item without hurting him. Rawhide chews are also good to redirect the biting habit to another item for long periods.

Dogs may chew their tail until it bleeds due to impacted anal glands. This happens when the anal glands don’t empty themselves as they normally would.

How to Stop Your Dog’s Tail Biting

There are a number of effective methods that you can use when it comes to putting a stop to your dog’s tail biting. You will need to consider the cause of this behavior to get the best possible results.

If your dog is biting its tail because of stress, you’ll want to comfort it as much as possible. This means speaking to them in a soothing voice and petting them gently.

You should also try giving your dog some fun toys that they will enjoy chewing on. It could go a long way towards putting an end to this particular behavior. If your dog is currently in the teething phase, this is definitely something that you should try.

The most common causes of tail biting and tail chewing in dogs are:

  • Parasites: fleas, ticks, or worms
  • Environmental and skin allergies
  • Hot spots and other secondary infections
  • Stress, boredom, or confinement
  • Injury
  • Impacted anal glands
  • Let’s take a closer look at each of these issues below.

    Fleas and ticks are common enough seasonal afflictions for dogs. We’ve all seen a dog scratch at a spot on his body where fleas are bouncing around or a tick has attached itself. With medicated collars, regular baths, and prescriptions, these pests are fairly easy to treat. In the same way that humans are allergic to the saliva of cats or dogs, so too are some dogs allergic, not to the presence of ticks and fleas, but to the saliva in their bites.

    A dog with an undiagnosed flea allergy may bite repeatedly at the site of an allergic reaction until they break their own skin to find relief. Tapeworms can also cause such physical discomfort in the area surrounding the anus that a dog feels compelled to gnaw at the base of her tail. Ultimately, it’s the pain she’s causing herself by constant chewing that leads her to whine as well.

    Inflammation of the skin, or dermatitis, caused by fleas and ticks is not the only allergy that can lead a dog to chew at her tail. Environmental allergies — anything from pollen outside to household chemicals inside — can give rise to allergic reactions. Whether the source of your dog’s allergy is mites, mold or contact with other animals, the reactions are most severe in a dog’s early years, between 3 months and 6 years old.

    A human’s first instinct to a skin allergy is to scratch at it, and it’s the same for a dog. Interestingly, trying to treat one allergy can lead to the discovery of a different one. If your dog has sensitive skin, something as simple as the shampoos or soaps you use to bathe her can also spur an allergic response.

    A hot spot is an area on a dog’s body where repeated scratching or chewing leads to the creation of an open wound. Warmth and moisture are the optimal conditions for hot spots to form. Should a stray bacteria find its way to the site before it is properly treated, a secondary infection is a typical result. Recognize a hot spot by the presence of blood, pus, and matted hair.

    If your puppy or dog is biting at the base of her tail so frequently that she draws blood, then secondary infections are not the root cause of her problem, only another symptom. A veterinarian can help you determine whether the true reason has to do with hygiene, nutrition, or another factor.

    Stress, anxiety and boredom can lead dogs into a host of destructive and repetitive behaviors: tearing up your favorite shoes, your most comfortable couch pillows, and so on. Out of necessity, some people crate their dogs when they leave for the day. If dogs spend too much time confined, they may turn their attentions inward and seek relief where they can.

    The same applies to dogs who do not get sufficient exercise, interactive play or mental stimulation. Some people may think a dog turns to self-destructive activities like tail biting as ways to get attention, and in these cases, who can blame them?

    Any kind of rear or hindquarters injury — a broken or fractured tail bone, for instance — is something a dog cannot inform his owner of, and may go unnoticed under normal circumstances. The intensity of the dog’s pain may lead her to act on or draw attention to it by excessive chewing, biting, or licking at the affected area. Only veterinary X-rays will be able to properly diagnose such an issue.

    Finally, another common reason why a dog may be biting at the base of her tail until it’s bleeding is an impacted anal gland. A dog’s anal glands are as important to a dog as our hands are to us, and, socially, they fill similar needs. Just as we shake hands when we meet folks, canine anal glands secrete interesting fluids that dogs smell when they meet each other. This is one reason why dogs are so intent on sniffing at each other’s rear ends at any opportunity.

    One obvious sign that a dog is having an anal gland issue is scooting, when he sits up and drags his butt across the ground. Other symptoms include a fouler-than-normal smell originating from a dog’s behind, trouble defecating (you call it constipation), and, in severe cases, blood or pus in the feces.

    How do you treat a dog’s raw tail?

    Apply antibiotic ointment and bandage the tail lightly with self-adhering wrap instead of adhesive tape. To avoid restricting blood flow, do not wrap the bandage too tightly. Change the bandage and re-apply antibiotic ointment daily. Bitter apple or an Elizabethan collar (cone) may deter chewing at the bandage.


    How do I stop my dog from biting his tail?

    Allergies, injury, infection and stress are among the causes of dog tail biting or tail chewing. Since dogs cannot talk, they cannot make their needs or desires plain to us in any simple or intelligible way. It’s easy to get frustrated when our dogs engage in behaviors that are repetitive, troubling or destructive.

    What can I put on my dogs raw tail?

    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.