Does your dog do this too? It seems that sometimes, no matter how old they are, many of them just never outgrow their puppy stage and break away from this bad habit. Of course, it could also be a sign of some health issue.
If you find your dog keeps doing this action, it’s important to find out the actual causes and work on addressing the issue before it gets out of control.
When your dog keeps biting his bum and tail, it could be a bad habit that he has picked up. Anxiety, boredom and obsessive compulsive disorder could also cause this behavior. Health issues such as external parasitic infection, impacted anal gland, allergies and teething issues can trigger this biting.
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Bad Habit Picks Up
When your dog keeps biting his bum and tail, it could probably be a bad habit that he had picked up from the shelter.
What you would need to do is to correct him for this undesirable behavior.
You can try to distract him by giving him a toy or something he likes to chew. If he doesn’t pay attention to the toy, give him another one.
Keep giving him different toys until he starts paying attention to the toys instead of his tail.
When he does this, praise him and reward him with his favorite treats.
The goal is to make him associate that when he stops biting his tail, GOOD things will happen, and you would want to positively reinforce that behavior.
Another alternative is to have a leash on him. Make sure his leash is very short so that he will keep his mouth on the leash and not on his own tail.
Keep working with him on this and in a couple of weeks, he will no longer be interested in biting his tail.
External Parasitic Infection
If you find your dog only bites on a specific area of the bum or tail, it could be a sign of external parasitic infection that comes from fleas or ticks.
You could try to use a flea comb on him. This will help you find any ticks, and you can remove them from your dog.
Inspect the infected area (check his fur around his butt and tail areas for ticks) and remove any ticks or fleas you find using the comb.
Then, give your dog a thorough bath, including his tail. This will kill any fleas or ticks you may have missed.
You can also use some natural remedies to kill any fleas or ticks your dog may have picked up.
Prepare the solution by mixing one part of the lemon juice with two parts of water. Dip a cotton ball in this mixture and apply it to his bum and tail where he is biting.
Leave it on for ten minutes and then rinse it off. Repeat this procedure once per week for two consecutive weeks. This will drive the fleas or ticks away from your dog’s skin and kill them.
The earlier you treat these parasites, the better your chances of success. And, don’t forget to tell your vet about this if it continues to occur.
Impacted Anal Gland
If your dog is dragging his butt on the ground apart from biting his tail, he could be suffering from an impacted anal gland.
He is also likely to exhibit metallic fishy odor in his breath and fur as the result of this disorder.
What you should do is to examine his anus very carefully. If you find any type of lump or something hard like a peanut there, it means that your dog has impacted anal glands.
In this case, what you should do is to give your dog a hot compress on the swollen area several times per day. This will relieve the pressure on the glands and heal the swollen spot.
You should also do a review on his diet as this disorder is often caused by a poor diet that leads to either constipation or diarrhea.
Ensure that his diet is rich in fiber and low in carbohydrates. Make sure that he gets plenty of fresh water every day.
Keep an eye out for any sudden changes in the frequency of his stools.
If he stops going to the bathroom (due to constipation) or if his stool is unusually liquid (due to diarrhea), it is a sign of some health problem that needs your attention.
Your dog could be suffering from some form of allergies or skin condition caused by a food allergy, environment, or the baby wipes that you used to clean his bum are triggering his irritation.
Try to observe when he starts to bite his bum or tail?
Did he do it after he had his meal or after an outdoor event?
Or after you have sprayed some perfume or use a new fragrance shampoo on him?
These observations will help you to address the cause.
If it is due to diet, try eliminating any “suspected” ingredient from his diet and see if his symptoms improve.
If you have changed his food recently, try changing it back to his old dog food and see if this helps.
If it is due to the environment, try to find out where he had been that triggered his allergies.
Was it a groomer’s office, a park or a playground? Also, check his environment for dust, pollen, dander, and other allergens.
If you notice he has a runny nose, sneezing or other signs of itchy watery eyes, you may want to consider having your carpets cleaned.
My last suggestion is that you should also go to your vet and let him perform a check on your dog for any food allergies and skin problems.
This will give you peace of mind and will also let your vet know if there are any underlying medical conditions which need further investigation.
Due To Anxiety
Just like when you are nervous, you may be unknowingly biting your finger. Your dog will also be looking for something to bite when he is anxious and biting his bum or tail could be his way to calm him down.
So if you see him doing this, stop what you are doing and give him a chewing toy or just pet him and tell him it’s okay you are with him.
Let him feel your calm energy so that he will be at ease and stop his biting.
Don’t scold or punish him for this. Just reassure him so that he knows it’s going to be alright.
If he is already crate trained, you can have him placed in a crate as this will help him feel safe and secure and will give him something positive to focus on.
Your dog will see the crate as his den and will happily go there when he is feeling anxious.
Make sure the crate is spacious enough for him and make it cozy for him to be in by placing some of his favorite toys in it.
Sometimes, just the presence of another calm, friendly person can be enough to help your dog overcome his anxiety.
Bring him out often and let him sniff around a bush or tree and let him “interact” with nature. This will help take his mind off his worries.
Due to Boredom
Your dog could be biting his tail out of boredom.
You see, when your dog had nothing to keep him busy with, he had to find other ways to occupy himself and one of the ways is by biting his own tail.
This is a very common behavior among bored dogs, and it’s just a harmless bit of nipping.
You can stop this behavior by giving your dog something interesting to do.
One of the best things you can do is to make sure your dog has regular exercise. Not only will this promote good health for him, it will also keep him from getting bored and causing trouble.
You can play physical games such as tug-of-war with him or take him on long walks.
Either way, make sure both of you have fun! In fact, you should try to find some fun activities you can share together.
This will help to build up your trust and relationship with your dog, and it will also give both of you a much-needed break from the daily grind.
Another thing that you should do is to get him some interesting toys. Make sure that the toys that you are getting for him are safe for him to chew.
Keep in mind that just because a toy is “safe” for your child does not mean it is “safe” for your dog.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Dogs with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) experience anxiety when they are exposed to certain stimuli.
So, if your dog keeps biting his bum or tail repeatedly, it may be a sign of OCD.
He may be over-stimulated by his environment (when you have lots of visitors in your home that he is unfamiliar with) and the anxiety and stress can cause him to engage in some irrational behaviors.
For example, dogs that are in extreme anxiety or stress often groom themselves excessively, even if they have a perfectly good coat of fur.
If this is the case, your vet will likely prescribe something for him to help calm him down, such as a drug called “clomipramine“. This drug has been proven to be very effective for treating OCD in dogs.
If your dog is still a puppy, he could be going through his teething period (the time when your puppy’s adult teeth are emerging) and biting his tail is one of the ways that he is learning how to control the intensity of his biting.
During his teething phase, you will probably also see him throw up frequently because he could have eaten something indigestible. Thus, it is important to keep a close watch on him during this time to prevent him eating anything toxic or indigestible.
The teething process can last up to 6 months and during this time, he will start to bite on things that he can get hold of to ease his mouth discomfort.
What you can do is to offer him some chewing toys to keep his mouth “busy”.
Avoid giving him hard chews like rawhide bones or stiff leather chews. These are too much for a puppy’s mouth to handle and can cause problems like jaw fractures and infections.
You could also give him something soft and easy-to-chew, like a beef stick or a strip of bacon.
Take him to the park and let him run around. This will help to tire him out and make him less likely to chew or bite on things when he gets home.