Second Chance: Elusive Dog Tails + Highlights!

Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center (SCHS) and Thrift Shops have been serving San Miguel, Ouray and Montrose Counties since 1994. The shelter is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday 11am – 5:30pm. Community veterinary services are available by appointment.

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Why do dogs chase and bite their tail?

It’s funny, puzzling, and sometimes frustrating when your dog catches sight of his tail and spins in circles trying to catch it. Or she bites and chews her tail for no apparent reason.

There are several possible behavioral and/or medical reasons why your dog is chasing or biting his tail. The simplest explanation is boredom.

Tail-chasing is a simple way for dogs to let loose and have a little fun. If a dog doesn’t have anything or anyone to play with, he might need to entertain himself. It’s a game- they see their tail wagging behind them and it’s fun to chase. Even dogs without tails might chase their backsides. Tail chasing is normal when it’s brief, easily interrupted, and easily redirected.

Sometimes the chase is successful, and they catch their tail. When dogs bite their tail while playing it can most definitely hurt. However, when they’re having that much fun, the pain may not register fully until later.

Puppies may be more apt to bite and chase their tails because they are just discovering what is going on with their bodies. Although it’s cute and entertaining, it’s not a healthy game to encourage. You should redirect the puppy’s attention to a toy to avoid injury.

Boredom and puppy play are just a couple of possible reasons your dog is chasing and biting his tail.  The behavior may be a sign of a medical condition such as a tail injury, impacted anal glands, fleas, ticks, allergies, or worms.

Tail-chasing can sometimes develop into a serious compulsive disorder. Warning signs to look out for include not stopping after a few seconds, only chasing in one direction, or biting so hard that the tail bleeds.

Tail biting or chasing can become a compulsion in any dog, but especially dogs who have little individualized stimulation. When tail chasing goes from a fun game to a nonstop habit, you may have a compulsive behavior on your hands. If you are concerned, consult a dog trainer, animal behaviorist, or veterinarian.

Nearly all dogs chase their tails now and then, but watch out if your pet is doing it every day or if it becomes an obsession. Also, be on the lookout for accompanying behaviors, such as your dog growling at his tail, chewing or biting around the tail, whimpering, or showing other signs of discomfort and pain. In any of these scenarios, schedule a visit with your vet as soon as possible.


Dixie is a 3-year-old hound mix with a lot of love to give. She likes giving kisses and sitting on your lap. She would love an active family to go camping, hiking, or even just playing fetch in the yard.

AND… To continue the Second Chance Highlights section, we want to share the following:

D0 You Know a Bunch of Kittens is Called a Kindle?

A kindle, a clowder, an intrigue… whatever you call it, we have it. As in, LOTS of kittens. Please consider adopting one of the little furry bundles (or better yet, two of them!)

Second Chance needs donations.

In 2023, we’ve been called upon to save many pets, some of whom require substantial time, patience, and money to get them to be ready for their new homes.

Please read the stories of some of these pets, and give generously to insure we are able to help more pets in the future.

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