There could be several different reasons why your dog keeps looking at its back end. He could be looking at his tail or have a medical problem that is causing him discomfort. Or it could be a sign of a canine mental health disorder.
Here we look in some detail at the reasons why a dog might keep looking at its back end. If you’re worried about your dog acting like this, read on to find out more.
Is He Playing With His Tail?
Many dogs keep looking at their back end because of their tail. Puppies, in particular, like to see their tail. At a young age, some won’t even realize that their tail is part of their body. So, they might be peering and thinking, that’s a toy for me to play with!
If dogs are bored, they can look back at their tail and then start chasing them. This entertains them and often amuses their owners too. If they sense that their owners are finding it funny, most dogs will carry on. They’re glad that you’ve noticed them and enjoy the attention.
Does He Want to Go for a Walk?
How much exercise does your dog get? If he keeps looking at his rear end in order to chase his tail, and this happens frequently, he might be doing it to burn off some energy. Make sure your dog gets enough regular exercise for his breed and size.
Is it Because of His Age?
If your dog is older and hasn’t been acting like this before, it could be due to his age. The older a dog gets, the more their awareness decreases. He could be looking back at his tail due to this decline in his mental state – and even form a new habit of chewing it.
Does He Have a Medical Issue That You Need to Get Checked Out?
Your dog constantly staring at his back end could be a sign of a medical issue. There could be irritation, soreness, or pain in this area. The most common medical reasons why he’d keep looking there are:
- Gas pain
- Skin irritation
- Allergies or intolerances to food
- Infected or impacted anal glands
- Hip dysplasia.
Some dogs keep looking at their bottoms because they are in pain from trapped gas. There is not much you can do for him other than wait for it to pass. Your dog also might have irritated skin – has he been groomed recently? Check what products your groomer uses.
But, if your dog is gazing at his rear end and also licking the area, and/or scratching, and/or scooting (dragging his bottom across the floor), this could be a sign of something a little more serious. Let’s look at some of these conditions in more detail.
Infected anal glands and tapeworms
Dogs staring backwards and scooting could be caused by clogged or inflamed anal sacs. If these do not empty themselves properly, you may need to get antibiotics from the vet. Or your dog could be looking at his back end due to a tapeworm which causes irritation in this area. Again, see a vet who can help to de-worm your dog.
If your dog keeps looking at his bottom and walks a little unsteadily, he could have hip dysplasia. This is more common in larger dog breeds. Your dog could be gazing at his back end more due to pain in his hips, as well as struggling to jump and run and generally moving around less.
If you think that your dog might have hip dysplasia, don’t panic. Take him to a vet who can help diagnose him and advise on treatments, such as reduced diet, more exercise, and joint supplements.
Is it a Sign of a Mental Health Problem?
Canine compulsive disorder
If your dog keeps looking at his back end, it could be a sign that he has a mental health problem. Canine compulsive disorder or compulsive behavior order is a recognizable condition in dogs. It is often indicated by the repetitions of certain actions or behaviors.
And a dog who keeps staring at his tail can be a sign of this problem. If he repeatedly looks at his tale and then chases it or spins around, this is a tell-tale sign of the disorder. This repetitive action then develops into a pattern, which then turns into an obsessive habit.
Lots of dogs repeat actions over and over again. It doesn’t always mean there is something wrong with their mental state.
But, think about whether your dog is repeating an action, such as looking at his bottom, and you can’t easily distract him. Or see whether it prevents him from doing normal activities like eating or playing. If so, he could have formed a habit of doing this due to a mental disorder.
A dog might also be looking at his rear end constantly and then chasing his tail if he is suffering from separation anxiety. He might feel stressed and frightened when away from his owner. So, he resorts to looking back and running in circles.
You can help your dog break these habits by playing with him or by taking him on long walks. Try to see if there is anything that triggers this repetitive behavior. If you notice something, try and distract him. A vet or animal specialist can also advise you if you are especially worried.
To Sum Up
A lot of dogs look at their back ends regularly. On most occasions, it is not something to worry about. They could be excited and playing with their tail. They might have the occasional itch or pain from gas. If your dog seems fine otherwise and the behavior is short-lived, then you don’t need to be concerned.
But, a dog that keeps staring at its bottom could have a more serious problem. He could have a medical issue, such as infected anal glands, tapeworms (yellow balls in dog poop), or hip dysplasia. Or it could be a sign of a canine compulsive disorder. In these cases, it is always best to seek help and advice from a vet.