Why do puppies bite their tail?
Original Question: I have a 5 month old Shih Tzu (Bella) and she sometimes chews on her tail to the point that it is soaking wet from saliva. Is this something that puppies do? There never seems to be any damage done to her tail. - Anonymous
This is one of those questions where I’d really want to be present and take a look at the tail and make sure there are no problems. This is a five-month-old puppy and what a lot of puppies do is that they explore the world through their mouths. Maybe Bella has just become fascinated with her tail which is why she is chasing it and biting it or maybe it’s a playful issue and therefore it might be a behavioural issue.
The first I recommend that you do is book an appointment with your veterinarian to make sure that there are no underlying medical problems and so that they can take a very close look at the skin. If it is a behavioral issue you can certainly engage Bella in different ways to keep her busy. For example, walk her a lot more, give her toys and have her do stimulating things like that to keep her away from her tail. I’d probably refrain from things like putting glitter spray on the tail as that’s not going to be very nice for her. If it gets quite serious you could think about things like that for older dogs that do this but you can also look at decreasing anxiety by using supplements, etc.
There are medical conditions that puppies can have that can cause itching such as fleas, mites and even just infections can cause a problem so you’re really going to want to do that physical exam to rule out the medical problems first and then you can address it as a behavioral one. Hopefully Bella is just doing this for fun and that she’s going to grow out of it and that’s very possible but a lot of people think that dogs licking themselves is a good thing such as licking their wounds. A lot of times we see that it’s quite bad because then they’re making that area moist and more prone to infection and sometimes traumatising the skin so you do want to avoid these types of situations.
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