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Cute dog chasing his tail.

Our dogs provide all kinds of joy and laughter simply by being themselves, but the dog chasing tail obsession is surely one of the most amusing. But the reason your dog is chasing his tail may be no laughing matter. So why does it happen? Can the behavior lead to something serious? Why do dogs chase their tails?

Why Do Dogs Chase Their Tails?

There are a few explanations for why dogs chase their tails and every dog is different. If the behavior is overly-persistent, consulting your veterinarian to rule out health issues and injuries is recommended. Your dog may be chasing his tail for one of these five reasons:


If you tend to laugh when your dog starts to chase his tail, there’s a good chance he’s responding to the positive response. By repetitiously gaining attention during the act, he might use the behavior to gain attention when desired.

Health Issues

If your dog is nipping at their tail or trying to chew on it, then it may be time to visit the veterinarian. Dogs are known to chase their tails when burdened by fleas, worms, or some other kind of issue.


Our dogs will chase their tails due to simple boredom. The act of spinning in circles and chasing their tails is fun and exerts energy. Puppies are notorious for this behavior. Not only is the tail a foreign object but it’s also a fun toy. This is often the explanation for why puppies chase their tails. In general, as puppies age, the dog chasing tail behavior tends to die down.


Some dogs can develop compulsive disorders that involve chasing their tails. Behavioral problems of this sort can develop for many reasons – trauma, separation anxiety, confinement, physical abuse, and so on. These issues need to addressed appropriately.


Depending on the breed of dog, genetics play a role in answering the question, why do dogs chase their tails. For reasons still not quite understood, certain breeds like terriers and German shepherds are known to chase their tails more than most breeds. Furthermore, the dog chasing tail behavior happens, even more, when confined indoors for too long.

Your dog could cause serious injury to himself if he does end up catching his tail. Some dogs have been known to cause hair loss due to this behavior, and in some cases, cause injury. So, if your dog is obsessively chasing his tail an excessive amount then have him checked out by your veterinarian. There’s a good chance that he’s fine, but if he isn’t, a proper diagnosis comes with the expertise of a medical professional.

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