Does your dog scratch and/or chew their tail uncontrollably? Most owners turn their head at this type of behavior, assuming it's normal for canines. After all aren't dogs supposed to groom themselves? There's a fine line between self-grooming and scratching/chewing to the point where it causes open wounds. If the latter happens, it can place your dog at risk for infection and other forms of transmissible illness.
Why Dogs Scratch and Chew Their Tails
First and foremost, you need to find out why exactly your dog is scratching and chewing their tail. One of the most common reasons for this behavior is fleas, and with summer officially here, these blood-sucking parasites are out in full force. Inspect your dog's fur by running a brush or comb through it, looking for signs of fleas and flea bites. If you come across just a single flea, chances are there are more buried within your dog's fur. I recommend bathing your dog and applying a premium flea treatment product like FrontLine Plus to purge these parasites.
Another common reason why dogs scratch and chew their tails is allergies. Just as us humans can be allergic to certain things, so can dogs. If your dog is allergic to a laundry detergent used to wash their bed and linens, they may exhibit this behavior. Try using an all-natural laundry detergent, or alternatively you can make your own using white vinegar and water.
Stopping Your Dog From Scratching and Chewing
Ideally, you should identify the root cause of your dog's scratching and chewing, and then take the necessary action to treat it. If fleas are the problem, for instance, you should bathe, groom and apply a flea treatment product.
Regardless of what's causing your dog to scratch and chew their tail, though, it's important for owners to discourage this behavior. Allowing your dog to chew their tail uncontrollably may result in open wounds through which bacteria can enter. Depending on the severity of your dog's condition, you may want to purchase a neck cone for your dog. Your dog may still be able to scratch their tail, but they won't be able to chew it.