Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?

Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?

Have you ever watched your dog spin around chasing their tail and wondered why they do it? It’s a common behavior that many dog owners find amusing and sometimes puzzling. In today’s blog, we’ll look at some of the reasons behind this quirky behavior. If you find your dog frequently chasing their tail and are mildly concerned about it, feel free to reach out to Schertz Animal Hospital at (210) 659-0345 for more information and guidance.

Normal Playful Behavior

Many dogs, especially puppies, chase their tails as part of normal play. They may see their tail as a toy—a part of themselves that moves around and seems to have a life of its own. This can be particularly true for energetic breeds who need a lot of stimulation and playtime. It’s a fun way for them to burn off some energy and entertain themselves. However, if this behavior is frequent and obsessive, it might be a sign to introduce more varied physical and mental activities to keep your dog engaged.


Sometimes, dogs might chase their tails to get attention from their owners. If you laugh or give them attention while they perform this behavior, this might encourage them to repeat it. Dogs are social creatures and may engage in various behaviors just to interact with you. Making sure your dog gets enough playtime and interaction can help mitigate excessive attention-seeking behaviors.

Medical Reasons

While tail-chasing is often harmless, it can sometimes be a sign of a medical problem. Conditions such as skin allergies, anal gland problems, or neurological issues can cause discomfort or irritation around the tail area, leading dogs to chase their tail in an attempt to catch or soothe the irritation. If your dog is chasing their tail excessively and seems to be in distress, or if you notice signs of damage to their tail, be sure to call Schertz Animal Hospital to discuss the problem and schedule an exam.

Behavioral Conditions

In some cases, tail chasing may be a manifestation of a behavioral condition, such as compulsive behavior. This can develop in dogs who are stressed, anxious or lack adequate stimulation. Compulsive behaviors can escalate over time, so you need to address them as early as possible. Managing stress and providing a stable, stimulating environment can significantly help. If you’re concerned about your dog’s behavior, contacting a professional at Schertz Animal Hospital can provide you with the resources and guidance you need to improve your dog’s mental well-being.

Breed Specific Tendencies

Certain breeds are more prone to chasing their tails. Breeds like German Shepherds, Terriers, and Bull Terriers are sometimes more likely to engage in this behavior due to their high energy levels and predisposition towards repetitive behaviors. Understanding breed-specific traits can help you tailor your training and care to suit your dog’s instincts and needs.

Preventing and Managing Tail Chasing

Managing tail chasing involves providing ample physical and mental exercise for your dog. Regular exercise, training sessions, interactive toys, and social interaction can help keep their mind and body engaged, reducing the urge to chase their tail. Additionally, you need to avoid reinforcing the behavior by giving it attention; instead, redirect your dog’s focus to more productive activities.

If you notice that your dog is chasing their tail more than usual, or if the behavior is accompanied by signs of distress, don’t wait. Give Schertz Animal Hospital a call at (210) 659-0345 to discuss your concerns and schedule an appointment!

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Schertz Animal Hospital

Since 1976, Schertz Animal Hospital has offered the greater San Antonio area outstanding pet care. Our state-of-the-art animal hospital in Schertz, TX compliments our stress-free handling and experienced veterinary staff. Make an appointment online or give us a call at (210) 659-0345 today!