No More Wags? Here’s How To Check If a Dog’s Tail Is Broken

A lot of what dogs feel is expressed through their tails. It’s one of their ways to communicate, but their tails can also sustain injuries. Believe it or not, your dog can have too many wags, which can lead to a broken tail. To ensure that your dog will receive the treatment it needs, you should know how to check if a dog’s tail is broken or injured in any way.

Take note that tail injuries don’t always go away on their own. Worse, your dog will suffer as you put off treatment.

Common dog tail injuries

how to check if a dog’s tail is broken
  • Abrasions. Dogs aren’t the most careful beings, which means that their tails can get scratched or caught on various things. This can lead to mild abrasions, which are easily treated at home. However, you should be careful as some abrasions can lead to excessive bleeding.
  • Laceration. Dogs can also sustain deep cuts on their tails. This can be due to getting exposed to sharp edges or biting their own tails. Depending on the extent of the laceration, it may or may not require stitches.
  • ‘Happy tail’ injuries. Happy tail injuries are a result of wagging a dog’s tail too much out of excitement or joy. In the process, the canine’s wagging tail may hit hard objects, which can hurt the delicate nerves. Overall, this injury isn’t happy and may require veterinary attention.
  • Tail fractures. A dog’s tail is composed of small bones and cartilage. If subjected to intense force, the bones will fracture. Most of the time, the fractured tail will be put in a cast to encourage healing. However, if parts of the tail are extremely crushed, it may have to be amputated.
  • Tail sprain. Sprains can happen on a dog’s tail due to overuse, crating for too long, and even air drying. This condition is painful, but it’s fairly easy to treat. Most cases of tail sprain will go away on their own, but some may require anti-inflammatory medications.
  • Limber dog tail. Limber tail is caused by overexertion, which will make the canine’s tail muscles excruciatingly painful. The tail will be sensitive to touch and will appear limp.
  • Broken tail. Like fractures, a broken dog tail must be taken seriously. It usually requires veterinary attention for faster healing and recovery.

Overall, it can be tricky to prevent these tail injuries on your dog, especially if you have a very active breed. Still, you can reduce the risk through preventive measures, which I discussed below.


What causes a dog’s tail to be broken?

Many owners don’t know that the tails of their dogs can actually get broken for some reason. The most common culprit here is trauma due to falling from an elevated spot or getting hit by a vehicle.

Take note that dogs can also break their tails by slamming into a hard surface by wagging. And in some cases, dogs can wag their tails too much that it sustains injuries.

Aside from that, dogs can also break their tails when they excessively bite, lick, or chew on them. This is more common among canines with existing irritations on their tail’s coat.

However, it’s also important to understand that broken tails in dogs can be inflicted by family members. It’s possible that your toddler pulled or tug the canine’s tail too much, causing the tail bone to get broken.

Lastly, your dog’s tail can get caught under a rocking chair, a falling object, a car’s tire, or any similar scenario. All of these can lead to a broken tail, which requires immediate treatment.


How to check if a dog’s tail is broken

If you noticed that your dog’s tail doesn’t look normal, it’s important to check whether it’s broken or not. Here are some of the symptoms that your dog is dealing with a broken tail:

how to check if a dog’s tail is broken
  • Swelling on the tail area. Inflammation is a common sign that something isn’t right with your dog’s body. So if its tail is swollen, it probably got hurt or suffered from a fracture.
  • Sensitivity to touch or movement. A broken tail is painful, so dogs suffering from it won’t like being touched. Also, the dog will cry when you try to lift or palpate its tail.
  • The tail isn’t wagging. When a dog’s tail gets broken, it will not wag like normal. In some cases, the broken part will stop moving, which will give the tail an odd appearance.
  • Crying when trying to wag the tail. If your dog is in pain whenever it tries to wag or move its tail, you should examine it for potential injuries.
  • Unusual tail appearance. Does your dog’s tail have a bent that wasn’t there before? If so, its tail is likely broken or fractured.
  • Bleeding or pierced tail skin. An open wound is a guaranteed sign that your dog’s tail is injured. It can be broken or has other injuries. Whatever it is, you should seek proper treatment for your pooch.
  • Abnormal gait. If you notice that your dog is walking differently, especially on its rear legs, you should check its tail. The pain coming from its broken tail might be the reason why there’s a change in its gait.
  • Biting or licking its tail too much. Dogs tend to chew and lick parts of their bodies that are injured. So if your dog is grooming its tail excessively, you should check for any possible injury.
  • Hair loss on the tail. Hair loss on the tail area is often a secondary condition to excessive licking. Also, the broken tail is probably not receiving ample blood flow, which leads to poor hair growth.

What to do if your dog’s tail is broken

If you suspect that your dog has a broken tail, you should call its veterinarian right away. Minor tail injuries can heal on their own, but fractures often require veterinary attention.

Never try to self-medicate your dog’s broken tail. Doing so may cause more harm than help since you don’t fully know the extent of the injury.

Also, don’t put off the treatment. When you do this, you’ll just allow the injury to get worse, which will cost more in the vet’s office later on.

At the vet’s clinic, the veterinarian will examine the dog’s tail to diagnose the injury and see its extent. From there, the vet can decide about the best course of treatment.

Most of the time, the vet can reset the bone if it’s dislocated. If it’s fully broken, the tail will be cast until it heals.

However, if the damage makes the broken tail impossible to restore, the worst-case scenario is amputation. Nevertheless, this is rarely an option and veterinarians will exhaust all possible means of treatment before considering this treatment.


How to protect your dog’s tail

If you’re worried that your dog may sustain a broken tail, the following tips will help prevent it from happening:

1. Train your dog to remain calm

Broken tails can be due to happy tail syndrome or when your dog wags its tail too much. You can prevent this overuse by training your dog to respond calmly to stimuli.

For example, if your dog gets jumpy and excited when you come home, you should train it to sit and calm down before you give attention. This will teach your dog that overexcitement isn’t a tolerated behavior.

2. Remove any sharp objects around

You should treat your dog like a toddler when it comes to having sharp or hazardous objects around. It’s important to remove anything that its tail could topple or items that can hurt the dog’s tail.

You should do this regardless of whether your dog had a history of broken tail or not. It’s best to err on the side of caution as broken tails are painful injuries.

3. Always examine your dog’s tail

Make it a habit to check your dog’s body, including its tail. That way, you can easily see if something is off or if an injury is present.

Remember that some dogs won’t easily show signs of injury. In this case, the broken tail may develop an infection before it becomes apparent to the dog and the pet owner.

4. Teach your kids to be gentle

There are cases when a broken dog tail is caused by a child who pulled too hard. This is why you should teach your kids the limitations of interacting with the dog. And if your child is still too young to understand such limits, you should never allow him or her to mingle with the dog without your supervision.

5. Watch out over elevated spaces

While dogs aren’t as good climbers as cats, some can still try to get their way to elevated spaces. A fall from such heights can lead to a slew of injuries like broken tails, dislocated hip, and head trauma.

It’s important to remove anything that will allow your dog to climb up these areas. The same goes for your fences where a dog may climb and fall off.

6. Be careful with dogfights

Dogfights can cause various injuries in a dog. While a broken tail is rarely a result of these encounters, it can still happen if the other dog targets your pet’s rear.

When walking your dog outdoors, make sure that it’s always leashed. You should also be aware of the surroundings to see if there are canines on the loose or any animal that’s coming near your dog.

If any of the dogs show aggression, you should pull your pet away. This will prevent the situation from escalating and erupting into a fight.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much does it cost to get a broken dog tail treated?

A: A broken dog tail can cost you up to $200 or more, depending on the severity of the injury. In some cases, the tail injury may require surgery, which definitely costs more. The overall cost also depends on the expertise of the veterinarian, your location, and further treatments needed.

Q: Why is my dog’s tail bent at the end?

A: If your dog’s tail has an unusual bend, you should check for a potential tail injury. The tip of the tail might be broken or dislocated. Nevertheless, some dogs can be born with unusual tails, with some being kinky. But if you’re worried, it doesn’t hurt to consult the veterinarian about the matter.

Q: Why won’t my dog lift his tail?

A: If your dog isn’t lifting its tail, it might be suffering from some kind of injury. It can be a minor cause of tail sprain or a more serious condition caudal myopathy. It’s best to examine your dog’s tail and see if your pooch is fine whenever its tail is touched or lifted. If so, you may need to consult a veterinarian.

Q: How long does a dog’s tail take to heal?

A: The healing of an injured dog’s tail depends on the severity of the condition. If your dog only suffered from a sprain, its tail should be wagging in a matter of days. However, injuries that required surgical treatment may take weeks for the tail to go back to normal.

Q: Will an injured dog’s tail heal on its own?

A: Minor tail injuries will heal on their own. However, it’s still important to seek veterinary attention to know the full extent of your pet’s injury. From there, the vet can provide the necessary treatments, whether it’s in the clinic or at home.

Q: Do dogs feel pain in their tails?

A: Dogs feel pain on their tails because it has pain receptors. It also has bones and cartilage that could break when exposed to extreme force or trauma. This is why you should never pull, step on, or squeeze your dog’s tail.

Final words

Knowing how to check if a dog’s tail is broken will save your pet from a lot of pain. Many canines don’t initially show signs of injuries until it has already gone worse. And if you suspect that your pooch is suffering from this problem, the vet is always the best person to consult.

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