Dog Tail Injuries

Updated November 21, 2016

Take a moment and think about all the items your dog's tail comes in contact with on a daily basis. Dog tail injuries are quite common. Take your dog to a veterinarian if you suspect or notice an injury. Frequently, tail injuries are a result of bites, accidents and nervousness.


Symptoms of dog tail injuries include a swollen tail, a drooping tail, a tail that doesn't wag, or your dog walking differently. If you notice these symptoms there is probably an injury. Don't treat dogs with anti-inflammatory human drugs or leftover human prescriptions. You shouldn't try and set the dog's tail alone. Seek the assistance and advice of a veterinarian.

End-of-the-Tail Injuries

Injuries on the end of a dog's tail are often from getting the tail caught in something, such as a door. Some nervous dogs will chew on the end of their tails causing injury and infection. Check the dog for fleas or dry skin. These also can cause a dog to chew on the end of its tail. Pay attention to whether the dog starts chewing when the environment changes, as with visitors to your home or sudden loud noises. This could be an indication that the dog is chewing and injuring the end of its tail due to nervousness.

Middle-of-the-Tail Injuries

Injuries to the middle of the tail can have a variety of causes, including hitting the tail on an object, getting the tail caught in a door, or the tail's accidentally being stepped on. Don't try to set your dog's tail, because you could set it incorrectly. Another reason for middle-of-the-tail injuries could be a bite from another dog, insect bite, or the tail's being tugged on during play.

Typically, middle of the tail injuries will swell. The dog will not wag its tail as often or at all. You might notice a drooping of your dog's tail. If you notice any of these symptoms, get your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Base-of-the-Tail Injuries

The tail is connected to the base of the spine at the hind quarters. Injuries in this area are the most serious. The use of the tail muscles helps your dog eliminate bodily waste. Tail injuries at the base of the tail can cause incontinence and constipation in dogs. Your dog might accidentally urinate in the house or whine when trying to pass a bowel movement. Don't fuss at or punish the dog for any accidents, since they are due to the base-of-the tail injury.

Signs that your dog's tail is injured at the base include: a tail that is completely drooped, swollen hind quarters, a tail that will not wag, and difficulty lifting the tail for waste elimination. Injuries to this area typically take longer to heal than the other two areas.


Treatment of dog tail injuries varies according to the location of the injury and the severity. A veterinarian might set the dog's tail. Typically, medication will be given for pain management and inflammation. It's important to follow the veterinarian's instructions to help the tail heal quickly. In some severe cases, the tail may have to be surgically removed.

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About the Author

Daniel Smith graduated from technical school in 1993 and has been writing since 2005. His has written numerous articles for the instructional website called eHow in areas including gardening, home improvement, celebrating special events and health-related topics.