Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?

Why do dogs chase their tails? It’s certainly a curious behavior! Some people believe that dogs chase their tails because they are bored or have nothing else to do. Others believe that it is a way for dogs to communicate with each other. Still, others believe that it is a way for dogs to rid themselves of parasites. So, what is the real reason why dogs chase their tails? Let us find out below.

Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails? 

Dogs chase their tails for a variety of reasons. Let us explore these reasons in detail below:

They are bored

One of the most common reasons why dogs chase their tails is because they are bored. If your dog does not have anything else to do, he will likely start chasing his tail out of boredom. This is especially common in dogs that are left alone for long periods with nothing to do.

To communicate

Another reason why dogs chase their tails is to communicate with other dogs. When a dog chases his tail, he is actually sending a message to other dogs that he wants to play. Therefore, if you see your dog chasing his tail, it is a good idea to take him out for a walk or to play with him so that he can get rid of all that excess energy.

To relieve anxiety

Some dogs chase their tails because they are anxious or stressed. If your dog is constantly chasing his tail, it might be a good idea to take him to the vet to see if there is anything wrong. It could be that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety or some other form of stress. 

To rid themselves of parasites

Dogs also chase their tails in an attempt to rid themselves of parasites. If your dog has fleas or ticks, he may start chasing his tail in an effort to get rid of them. If you see your dog chasing its tail, check for fleas and ticks. 

For attention

Sometimes, dogs chase their tails simply for attention. If your dog is chasing his tail and you keep laughing or giving him treats, he may start to think that this is what he needs to do to get your attention. Try to ignore your dog if he’s chasing his tail just for attention. 

To express excitement

Many dogs will chase their tails when they’re excited or happy. If your dog starts chasing his tail when you come home from work, it’s probably because he’s excited to see you. Dogs may also chase their tails when they’re playing with other dogs or toys. 

Compulsive disorder

Finally, some dogs chase their tails because they have a compulsive disorder. This means that they cannot help it and it is something that they feel like they have to do. If your dog has this disorder, he will likely chase his tail for long periods and may even hurt himself in the process. If you think your dog has a compulsive disorder, you should take him to the vet to get help. 

There are a few different reasons why dogs chase their tails. In most cases, it’s nothing to worry about and is simply a behavior that dogs do. However, if your dog is chasing his tail excessively or seems to be hurting himself, you should take him to the vet to get checked out. 

why do dogs chase their tails - dog's tail

How Do I Stop My Dog From Chasing His Tail?

Even though this behavior might seem amusing at first, it will become alarming if your dog seems to be chasing his tail excessively or hurting himself in the process. If you’re concerned about your dog’s tail-chasing behavior, here are a few things you can do: 

Talk to your vet

If you think your dog might have a compulsive disorder, take him to the vet to get help. The vet can help you rule out any medical causes and give you some tips on how to stop the behavior.

Change his diet

If your dog is chasing his tail because he’s bored, try changing his diet. Adding some new toys or food puzzles to his routine can help keep his mind challenged and occupied. 

Exercise him more

Burning off excess energy can also be helpful in stopping a dog from chasing his tail excessively. If your dog seems to have too much energy, add some additional exercise to his daily routine. A long walk or run might do the trick! 

Consult a professional trainer

If you’re still struggling with your dog’s tail-chasing behavior, consult a professional trainer or animal behaviorist for help. A professional trainer will be able to help you determine the cause of your dog’s tail-chasing behavior and come up with a tailor-made plan to help stop it. 

Provide mental stimulation

Dogs who are bored or not getting enough exercise are more likely to chase their tails. Make sure your dog is getting enough mental and physical stimulation by providing him with toys, plenty of walks, and training sessions. This way, he’ll be too tired to chase his tail! 

Ignore the behavior

In some cases, dogs chase their tails because they’re seeking attention. If you consistently ignore your dog when he’s chasing his tail, he’ll eventually learn that this behavior is not a good way to get your attention. 

When Should I Be Alarmed About My Dog Chasing His Tail?

You should be alarmed if your dog is chasing his tail to the point of self-injury. If your dog seems to be excessively licking, biting, or rubbing his tail area, this could be a sign of an underlying medical condition and you should take him to the vet. 

Chasing tails can also be a symptom of anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder. If your dog is displaying other signs of anxiety or OCD (e.g., pacing, excessive barking, destructiveness), consult with a certified animal behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist for help. This way, you can get a professional opinion and create a treatment plan that’s tailored to your dog’s needs.

In most cases, dogs chasing their tails is harmless and simply means they’re bored or need more exercise. However, if you’re concerned about your dog’s tail-chasing behavior, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and consult with a professional.

Are Dogs Aware That Their Tails Are Attached To Them?

While we may never know what goes on inside our dogs’ heads, it’s doubtful that they’re aware that their tails are attached to them. Dogs chase their tails for the same reasons that puppies play with their tails – it’s fun!

Tail-chasing is also a way for dogs to release excess energy, and it can serve as a form of exercise. Some dogs chase their tails more frequently than others, and this behavior usually decreases as dogs get older.

If you think your dog is chasing its tail excessively or if the behavior is causing problems, talk to your veterinarian or a certified animal behaviorist. Excessive tail-chasing can be a sign of an underlying medical condition or psychological problem, so it’s important to not ignore this behavior.

why do dogs chase their tails - dog's tail

What Are Good Activities To Entertain My Dog?

There are a number of good activities that can help entertain dogs and keep them from becoming bored. These activities include:

Going for walks or runs

Going for walks or runs is a good way to entertain your dog and get some exercise at the same time.

Playing fetch

Playing fetch is another good way to keep your dog entertained. You can play fetch with a ball, Frisbee, or other toys.

Tug-of-war

Tug-of-war is a game that dogs often enjoy playing. It’s important to make sure that you don’t play too rough, however, as this can lead to injuries.

Hide and seek

Hide and seek is another fun game that dogs can enjoy. You can hide treats around the house for your dog to find, or you can have someone else hold your dog while you hide and then call him when you’re ready to be found.

Visiting the beach or swimming in a pool

You can also visit the beach or swimming pool with your dog. Just make sure that you supervise him carefully, as dogs can drown if they’re not careful.

Doing tricks or learning new commands

Doing tricks or learning new commands is also a great way to keep your dog’s mind active. You can teach your dog to sit, stay, come, or lie down. You can also teach him tricks like playing dead or rolling over.

Get your dog a companion

You can also get your dog a companion. This is especially helpful if you have a shy or anxious dog. A companion can help your dog feel more confident and secure.

There are many different ways to keep your dog’s mind active. You can choose what works best for you and your dog. Just remember that dogs need mental stimulation just as much as they need physical activity.

FAQs About Dogs Chasing Their Tails

Why do dogs chase their tails when excited?

Dogs chase their tails when they’re excited because it’s a way to release all that energy. When dogs are excited, they may also run in circles or jump up and down.

Why is my dog chasing his tail and biting it?

If your dog is chasing his tail and biting it, he may be doing it for attention or because he’s bored. Dogs can also chase their tails if they’re trying to remove something that’s stuck on them, like fleas.

Why does my dog chase his tail at night?

Dogs chase their tails at night because they’re trying to release energy before bedtime. If your dog is chasing his tail at night, try giving him a toy or bone to chew on before bed.

Are dogs that chase their tails dumb?

No, dogs that chase their tails are not dumb. In fact, dogs that chase their tails are often very intelligent. Dogs that chase their tails often do so because they’re trying to release energy or because they’re bored.

Do dogs know their tail is attached to them?

No, dogs do not know their tail is attached to them. This is one of the reasons why dogs chase their tails. Dogs sometimes see their tails as another animal and they want to catch it.

How to stop a dog from chasing its tail?

To stop a dog from chasing its tail, you should try to give him a toy or bone to chew on. You can also try to take your dog for more walks so he can release some of his energy. Finally, you can try to train your dog with positive reinforcement so he knows that chasing his tail is not good behavior.

Final Thoughts

So, why do dogs chase their tails? Dogs chase their tails for many reasons, including boredom, excitement, and even stress. If your dog is chasing his tail frequently, it might be a good idea to take him to the vet to rule out any health issues. Otherwise, try some of the tips above to help stop your dog from chasing his tail.

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by Nicole Barnett

Nicole has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. She has three dogs, two of which she rescued from the streets. When not furiously typing away at her computer, you’d either find her chasing after her adorable dogs and kids, or volunteering at a local shelter.

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