I was sitting at home one evening enjoying a cup of coffee and I was watching my dog roll around on the floor. All of a sudden, she jumped up and started circling. I continued to watch her and I realized she was actually chasing her tail. I started laughing and spit my coffee of all the place. Okay, enough about my amusement and the mess I made.
I started to wonder why my dog was chasing her tails. After a bit of research, I found the most common reasons dogs chase their tails can be boredom, attention, something can be wrong or genetics.
Well I knew my dog was happy and content so her reason could not be boredom. I also knew it wasn't attention, we had just finished the circuit. You know the circuit, she had already ate, peed and played. So it left me with something was wrong or genetics.
Could something be wrong? What could be wrong? I went into full dog mommy mode. I found, dogs chase their tails when they are infested with intestinal parasites like tape worms that migrate out the rectum. No obvious signs of parasites, I checked her poop and really got up in her rectum more than I am willing to admit. It could also be because of external parasites like fleas, mites, skin irritation or food allergies. So, again I examine her. No fleas, no mites, I didn't change her shampoo or add anything new to her diet, so I was happy nothing could be wrong.
That left me with genetics. Some breeds are more likely to develop certain compulsive disorders. Doberman Pinschers, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers have excessive licking disorder. Terriers are known for tail chasing or spinning since they don't have a long tail, and usually don't catch it. German Shepherds also tail-chase. Their compulsion can even lead to biting and chewing their tail. Other Canine Compulsive Disorders are pacing, fly snapping, barking, light chasing and excessive licking.
My dog is a Boston Terrier so yes she is more genetically likely to chase her tail. She doesn't do it enough to classify as a compulsive disorder, but I did find that she may actually have an excessive licking disorder, but that's for another article.
As I was researching, I did notice that tail chasing can be dangerous if it leads to chewing and biting the tail. If you notice your dog biting or chewing her tail, check for fleas or mites. If she does this on a regular basis, she may have parasites or a disorder, it's best to take her to a vet for a check up.
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