Why do dogs chase their tails?: 7 Reasons

Some people believe that dogs chase their tails because they are bored or have too much energy. Others think that the behavior is instinctual and stems from the dog’s desire to clean its fur.

Another theory is that tail-chasing behavior is a way for the dog to release tension or express excitement.

The actual reason why dogs chase their tails is still unknown, but it is likely a combination of all of the above reasons.

However, if your dog is engaging in this behavior frequently, it might be a sign that something is wrong and you should take him to the vet.

Reasons Why Dogs Chase Their Tails

Important reasons and signs –

Underlying Medical Condition

If your dog is chasing his tail excessively, it might be a sign that he is experiencing pain or discomfort somewhere in his body.

Dogs will often engage in this behavior as a way to self-medicate and relieve the pain they are feeling. So if your dog is constantly chasing his tail, take him to the vet for a check-up.

Stress or Anxiety

If your dog is constantly feeling stressed or anxious, he might start chasing his tail as a way to release that energy.

Dogs who are in new environments or who are around a lot of people might be more prone to this behavior.

If you think that your dog is stressed, try to create a calm and relaxing environment for him and see if that helps.


Dogs will often chase their tails when they are excited, such as when they see a squirrel outside or when they hear their favorite toy squeak.

This is often just a way for the dog to release all of that energy and excitement.


If your dog is spending most of his day cooped up inside, he might start chasing his tail as a way to entertain himself.

Dogs need plenty of exercise and stimulation in order to stay healthy and happy, so make sure your dog gets enough playtime outside.

So if your dog is constantly chasing his tail, try to give him more things to do.

Cleaning Behavior

It is believed that some dogs chase their tails as a way to clean themselves.

This is because the tail has a lot of scent glands and the dog might be trying to spread those scents around.

This is one of the main reasons why puppies tend to chase their tails more than adult dogs.

Genetic Behavior

Some dogs are just more prone to chasing their tails than others.

This might be due to genetics or it might be something that the dog learns from his/her parents.

If you have a dog who is constantly chasing his tail, try to keep an eye on him and see if there is anything you can do to prevent him from doing it.


If your dog is feeling nervous or scared, he might start chasing his tail as a way to calm himself down.

This is often seen in dogs who are afraid of loud noises or new environments.

If you think your dog might be nervous, try to introduce him to new things slowly and make sure he feels comfortable and safe.

What is the purpose of a tail on a dog?

The tail of a dog has a variety of purposes.

It helps the dog to balance while running, and it acts as a rudder when swimming.

The tail also communicates the dog’s emotional state and can be used to indicate whether the dog is afraid, happy, or angry.

Lastly, the tail helps to keep the dog’s body warm by trapping air.

Balancing the body

One of the main purposes of a dog’s tail is to help the animal balance its body while it is running.

The tail acts as a counterbalance to the dog’s head and helps keep the animal upright.

Rudder when swimming

Dogs use their tails as rudders when they are swimming.

The movement of the tail helps the dog to navigate through the water and to keep its balance.

Communicating emotions

The tail is also used by dogs to communicate their emotional state.

When a dog is afraid, its tail will be tucked between its legs. A happy dog will wag its tail from side to side, and an angry dog will wag its tail up and down.

Keeping the body warm

Most importantly, the tail helps to keep a dog’s body warm.

The tail has a lot of loose skin on it, and this loose skin traps air.

This trapped air acts as insulation, keeping the dog’s body warm. These are some of the main purposes of a dog’s tail.

What is a dog’s tail made of?

A dog’s tail is made of bone, muscle, and connective tissue. The anatomy of a dog’s tail is similar to that of a human’s arm.

The tailbone, or coccyx, is located at the base of the spine and consists of several fused vertebrae.

The muscles and tendons in the tail allow it to move freely. The tail is covered with hair and has a number of nerves and blood vessels.

The skin on the tail is thin and delicate and can be injured easily.

When you see a dog wagging its tail, it is actually moving the muscles in its back and hindquarters.

The muscles in a dog’s tail are used for balance and communication.

Dogs use their tails to express emotions such as happiness, excitement, fear, and aggression.

Observing a dog’s tail can help you understand its mood and intentions.

For example, a wagging tail that is held high and stiff may indicate that the dog is feeling aggressive or dominant.

A low, relaxed wag may mean that the dog is happy and friendly.

The tail is also an important part of a dog’s anatomy.

The tail helps to keep the dog’s balance when it is running or jumping and provides warmth in cold weather.

Do dogs feel pain in their tails?

Many experts believe that dogs do feel pain in their tails and that it can be quite severe.

This is because the tail contains many nerve endings that are sensitive to touch, pressure, and temperature.

When a dog’s tail is injured or feels pain, he may whimper, cry out, or refuse to move it.

So, clearly, dogs can feel pain in their tails and it can be quite uncomfortable for them.

If your dog seems to be excessively licking or biting his tail, or if he seems to be in pain when you touch it, take him to the veterinarian for a check-up.

The feel of pain in the tail is probably not as bad as pain felt in say, a paw or hip. But it would still be bothersome to the dog.

However, it is important to note that there are many reasons why a dog might be licking or biting his tail, and pain is only one of them.

So, if your dog exhibits these behaviors, it is important to rule out other causes before assuming that the pain is coming from his tail.

Generally speaking, if a dog is in pain, he/she will express that pain in some way.

So, if your dog is licking or biting his tail and you can’t find any other obvious explanation for it, it’s a good idea to take him to the vet and have him checked out.

Do dogs like their tails touched?

Some dogs may enjoy having their tails touched, while others may find it uncomfortable or even painful.

It is always best to ask the dog’s owner if it is okay to touch their pet’s tail before doing so.

In general, it is best to avoid touching a dog’s tail unless the animal seems to enjoy it.

Many dogs will wag their tails when they are happy or excited, so this can be a good way to tell if the pet enjoys being touched.

If a dog’s tail is wagging, it is usually safe to pet or scratch it.

However, if the tail is held low or between the legs, this may be a sign that the animal is uncomfortable and should not be touched.

Another way to tell if a dog is uncomfortable is to watch its body language.

If the dog is tense or has its hackles up, it is likely not enjoying being petted.


The most popular belief is that dogs chase their tails because they are bored or have too much energy. Another belief is that the tail-chasing behavior is a remnant of the dog’s hunting days, when they would chase their prey until it was exhausted. However, the exact reason why dogs chase their tails is still unknown as it is likely a combination of several factors. In general, most dogs outgrow the tail-chasing behavior as they mature.