Why Does My Dog Chase and Chew Their Tail

As noted in the introduction, a dog chasing its tail is not always a symptom of a problem. When dogs are playing or exploring, they frequently gallop around in excitement. This is a simple show of excitement, especially in younger dogs when they encounter a possible companion. When they are pursuing themselves in a circle, the dog is not in distress, but is clearly happy.

Image Credit:Aaron Sorrell

Only when a dog chases their tail compulsively and/or viciously is there a problem. This is especially true when a dog chases their tail and bites it forcefully.

Psychological factors

A stereotypy is a pattern of movement or activity that occurs repeatedly for no apparent reason. Because the conduct makes no sense in any context, we may usually conclude that the dog is acting out of a psychological problem. When the behaviour is prolonged enough, it might be harmful to the dog. A dog, for example, will keep their paws clean by licking them. The skin on a dog’s paws might break if they lick them repeatedly.

When a dog chases and bites their tail, it can cause serious injury. This is especially true if they break the skin and infect the wound. Dog stereotypes are more prominent in domestic animals and are frequently associated with maladaption or maltreatment.If a dog has agitation or a lesion on their tail, they may chase and bite it to relieve the frustration they can create.

 A dog, for example, may chase their tail because of:

Improper anal gland function

Cuts or wounds in the back

Parasites of the intestine

Parasites from outside the body


Dermatitis due to allergies

The tail area of a dog can become uncomfortable or even painful, especially if the dog has parasites or allergic dermatitis. It is natural for the dog to try to ease the feeling in these situations. If these problems are not addressed, the dog’s agitation can cause serious injury, especially if wounds become infected.

For all of these reasons, it is critical that you take a dog who is always chasing their tail to the veterinarian. They are able to rule out or diagnose physiological conditions. If this is addressed, the issue should correct itself. If not, they will assist you in determining the psychological cause of your dog’s stereotypies and may even send you to an ethologist or dog trainer who will be best equipped to discover the source of your dog’s stereotypies.

My Dog Keeps Chasing Their Tail – My dog chases and chews their tail.

My dog collapses while chasing their tail.

Your dog may appear to be chasing their tail at times, but they are doing it clumsily or even losing their balance. 

In some circumstances, the dog may be chasing their tail to steady themselves or because they are straining to walk appropriately.

A dog’s lack of coordination can be caused by a variety of factors. Some are more serious or permanent than others. A dog’s equilibrium, for example, is heavily influenced by its ears. If the animal has a condition, such as canine otitis (ear irritation), they may lean to one side or need to be stabilized. This generally cures itself once the infection that is causing the inflammation is addressed.


Image Credit:Natasha Svoboda

Other circumstances may influence their equilibrium, causing the dog to chase their tail and tumble over. Different types of ataxia in dogs can impair their neurological system and cause incoordination. 

The underlying cause of ataxia will determine the treatment. Other types of vestibular illness in dogs, particularly in middle-aged and older dogs, can impact their balance.

If your dog is going in circles, chasing their tail, or losing coordination, you should take them to the vet. They are capable of diagnosing the specific ailment and administering the appropriate treatment. Certain problems can become irreparable if you wait too long.

My elder dog is constantly chasing their tail.

As you can see, if your dog continues to chase their tail, we must consider the context of this behaviour. It is likely that we are experiencing a developmental issue in cases involving younger canines or puppies.

Puppy genetic predispositions can lead to abnormal behaviors like chasing their tail or incoordination. Older dogs may experience cognitive dysfunction as their body deteriorates. While neurological disorders can affect dogs of any age, diagnosing and managing symptoms early can improve their quality of life. It is crucial to take a dog to a veterinarian if they continue chasing their tail.

Other reasons why a dog chases its tail

We’ve gone over some of the most prevalent reasons why dogs chase their tails. While the following are not all that prevalent, we should consider the potential of:

Trauma to the head

Tumours of the intracranial cavity



Specific drug reactions


Image Credit:Jan Yarnot

When we witness this behaviour, we must take the dog to the vet. Only a veterinarian can evaluate what is wrong with the dog and begin the most appropriate treatment. A dog that circles in a circle without stopping, falls, cries, or pants is not natural, especially if the dog is an adult or senior dog. It is critical to look into what is causing this behaviour.