At one time or another, most puppies or dogs chase or bite their tails. It’s something to do, and it’s fun. Many dog owners find it amusing. But if tail biting is not corrected early enough, however, it can become canine obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Symptoms of OCD in dogs
Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder in dogs focus on tail chasing, tail biting, or other obsessive behavior.
Dogs that exhibit obsessive behavior most often:
- have a high chase or prey drive,
- don’t get enough exercise,
- lack mental stimulation,
- or experience overstimulation,
- spend too much time being crated or kenneled or tethered.
Neurotic dog symptoms usual surfaces when a dog is still a puppy. Behavior issues are easier to correct when a dog is young.
If you ignore tail biting or tail chasing, which also are anxiety symptoms, it can become a severe behavior disorder. Dogs with OCD can chew their tails into a bloody mess, which causes infections. Some secondary infections have been so severe that the dog’s tail had to be amputated.
This doesn’t mean you have to freak out if your dog happens to spin around and nibble on its tail. It could mean the dog has an itch or feels something crawling. But if you observe obsessive tail biting or obsessive tail chasing, you need to be concerned.
Treat a dog with OCD
- Have your veterinarian check for allergies.
- Check and treat your dog for fleas.
- Exercise your dog more often. Get them too tired to chase anything!
- Stimulate your dog mentally. That will keep your dog’s mind off his tail.
- Do not crate or kennel your dog, unnecessarily.
- Never tether your dog. Dogs have strangled themselves chasing their tails.
- If overstimulated, calm them down with obedience commands – it’s hard to chase your tail if you are sitting on it!
- Enroll in Puppy Kindergarten or obedience class – it keeps your puppy or dog both physically and mentally stimulated and socialized.
- Treat your dog with stress-relief supplements or CBD-infused dog treats.
If your dog doesn’t respond to training or other efforts to stop tail biting, check with your vet. Dogs with higher cholesterol levels tend to chase and bite their tails more often than dogs with average or lower cholesterol. A change in diet or medication could solve the problem.
The sooner you address tail biting, the happier you and your dog will be! Don’t put it off. Don’t wait until your puppy becomes OCD.
Follow Karen A. Soukiasian on Facebook.
*DogsBestLife.com participates in the Chewy Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to let our site earn fees by linking to Chewy.com.