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Can Dogs Break Their Tail?

As a pet owner, we know all dogs have tails and it is an important part of their body. But, have you ever wondered what would happen if a dog’s tail became injured? Or, can dogs break their tail?

The answer to if they can break their tail is yes! Dogs (and cats too) can break their tail.

Not all dog breeds are prone to suffering broken tails.

Active dogs are at a higher risk of tail injuries with less active dogs having minimal risk.

Can Dogs Break Their Tail?

A dog’s tail is one piece of a complex structure of bones, blood vessels, muscles, and nerve systems.

Just like any other part of the dog’s body, the tail can also break.

Have you ever stepped on a dog’s tail?

The kind of wail they make should tell you how painful it could be.

Today, we are going to talk about how you can tell if your pup has broken his tail, how it can be prevented, and the treatment and recovery process.

White dog tail

How can you tell if your dog has a broken tail?

Unless the tail looks swollen (or has ruptured) it may not be easy to tell if your dog has a broken tail.

Several tell-tale signs to look for that can show you that the dog may be in pain and suffering from a broken tail or tail fracture include:

A swollen tail

This could be an indication of an internal clot resulting from the injury.

Visible ruptures

If you can see any visible injury or rupture on the tail of your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately!

Unusual behavior

If the dog is tail biting or chewing on the tail (or trying to curl the tail between its legs all the time) it could be an indication that it is feeling pain and the tail may be broken.

Hair loss on the tail

Hair loss could be an indication that the dog may have suffered from some sort of abrasion.

Painful wags

If the dog is unable to wag the tail freely and restricts tail movement, it may have suffered a tail break.

Whining dog

If your dog is producing low whining sounds, it is possible that it could be in pain and could be suffering from a broken tail.

They may also be very protective of the tail during this time.

Bent tail

If the dog’s tail is visibly bent at an awkward angle, consult your veterinarian!

Nasty smell

Infections and injuries smell nasty. If your dog smells bad but you cannot seem to figure out where the smell is coming from, check the tail.

If the tail is emitting nasty odors, there is a possibility that the dog could be having a broken tail.

The nasty smell could be coming from an infected area.

If this is the case, get the dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent the infection from spreading to other areas of the tail and body.

Dog clinches to your touch

When the dog tries to prevent you from touching its tail (or clinches when you touch it gently), it may have a broken tail and warrants a vet visit.

A change in walking style and gait

If you notice your dog walking differently – dragging its hind legs – you should ask your veterinary to have a closer look.

They could be walking like that as a way of minimizing the discomfort and pain they are feeling on their broken tail.

Your dog starts pooping and peeing in the house

If you have a well-trained dog and suddenly you find it peeing or pooping on the floor, you should be concerned.

Maybe it is feeling pain and being unable to relieve itself the right way, it chooses to defecate on the floor where the pain is minimal.

Limber Tail Versus Broken Tail

In some instances, your dog could be suffering from what is called a ‘limber tail’.

This is a condition where the tail bends awkwardly after much exposure to different elements, including harsh weather conditions, or spending too much time in a small, enclosed space.

Your veterinarian will offer a good diagnosis upon further examination.

Dog with nose on the ground and tail in the air

How to Prevent your Dog from Breaking its Tail

Prevention of a broken tail is better than the cure in this situation.

A dog with a broken tail will be in intense pain.

To prevent this from happening, you can take several precautions:

Keep your pets on a leash

Dogs have a higher chance of breaking their tails out in the wild.

If you are taking a walk with your dog, keep them on a leash to control how they interact with the environment and minimize the possibility of getting themselves into dangerous situations.

Get rid of hazardous materials around the house

Dogs like exploring and they will play with everything they come across in the yard.

Some items (such as cutting tools) could pose a serious risk to the health of these animals.

To prevent the possibility of a nasty accident, get rid of these hazardous items.

Keep the dogs in open and adequate spaces

Do not keep your dogs in tiny places where they are forced to curl into an awkward position.

By keeping them in spacious kennels, you will be reducing the possibility of the dogs hurting themselves.

Happy tail syndrome

Happy tail syndrome is a condition where the dog wags its tail so hard that it hits objects and causes injury.

This happy tail injury is sometimes known as “kennel tail” and “bleeding tail.”

It should not be mistaken with “limber tail syndrome,” another affliction correlated to a damaged tail.

Try to calm an overly excited dog from enthusiastically wagging its tail if it is hitting its tail against walls, furniture, etc.

Repeated slaps of the tail against walls and objects can cause injury to the tail and even nerve damage.

Vet shaving a dog's tail

Treatment and Recovery

Taking your dog to your vet for a treatment plan is the best option for proper care once you have discovered that they have a broken tail.

The tail is part of the dog’s spine. This could mean that the spine may also suffer if the tail is broken.

The vet will conduct all the necessary tests and offer an action plan for recovery.

If the dog’s skin is exposed, they will clean, treat and bandage the affected area.

The vet will also offer you advice on how to take care of such a condition depending on the type of injury.

If there is swelling, they may advise you to apply a warm compress to help reduce the swelling and manage the pain.

They will also offer pain medication, other medications needed, and directions on how to administer medication.

In severe cases, the veterinarian may recommend setting the dog’s bones or conducting surgery to restore the tail’s structure.

So, can dogs break their tail?

As you can see, YES, they can! It is a real and painful thing!

Debbie P

Tuesday 18th of October 2022

This is great and I'm glad you did this post.

Molli Taylor

Monday 17th of October 2022

oh gosh, this sounds terrible!

Bea LaRocca

Sunday 2nd of October 2022

I have always wondered about this and now I know. Thank you for sharing this information, preventative tips and treatment options

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