Dogs can injure their tail when they wag it too much. This condition is called the Happy Tail Syndrome, and there's a way to prevent these injuries.
All pet owners know that a dog expresses their happiness by wagging the tail. Some dogs, however, wag excessively with no inhibitions and they end up injuring themselves. This injury is called the Happy Tail Syndrome and while it's common and even “normal” among canines, it's still a painful and bothersome experience that may recur in dogs.
Fortunately, as a pet owner, you can do something to prevent the Happy Tail Syndrome from hurting your pup. There are some treatments and behavioral fixes you can do to ensure that your dog won't suffer from this condition, which is also known as splitting tail or kennel tail.
How Happy Tail Syndrome Happens
Ever notice how hard dogs wag their tail when they're extremely excited about something? If you arrive home from work or if they’re in the park and notice interesting things, they wag their tails to indicate their feelings.
Larger dogs like Labradors and Golden Retrievers are typically prone to suffer from the Happy Tail Syndrome because their tails are long. Very active dog breeds that are bright, energetic and always excited are at higher risk as well, according to Dr. Carrie Uehlein.
Moreover, dogs with short hair, such as the Greyhound or Dalmatian, could easily hurt themselves if they wag too hard and hit their tails on a hard surface like a chair or a door. Depending on the breed, some have thin skin covering that offer little protection, especially if you've got a super excitable dog.
Now, hitting their tails might cause some nasty cuts and splits towards the tip. Sometimes, this tip could bleed and you might notice some blood splatters on the floor.
The problem is the tissues around the tip of the tail don't heal fast so some dogs end up developing an infection. In worst cases, part of the tail may be amputated to prevent the infection from spreading all over the dogs' body.
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Treating Happy Tail Syndrome
It's best to let the veterinarians do it first and then learn how it is done. The bandage has to be changed and the tail has to be cleaned daily to prevent an infection. The vet will also evaluate if the dog needs further medication for the bacterial infection, apart from swabbing the tail's wound and covering it with a bandage.
Sometimes, the tail might have broken vertebrae or damaged tendons. So, the vet might attach a special device on the dog's tail to keep it still until it heals. The injured dog will have to wear a veterinary recovery collar, also known as the Elizabethan collar or pet cone, to prevent him from chewing and taking off the bandage.
Preventing Happy Tail Syndrome
Training your dog to curb his excitement can help prevent overly eager tail wagging incidents. Encourage calmer behavior by not showing any attention to an over-excited dog. Instead, reward the dog if it stays calm. Dogs also pick up on your energy, so if you're calm, you can influence your pup to manage his excitement as well.
Give your dog plenty of exercises, toys, and room to play to temper down the over-excitement. If they're constantly stimulated during the daily walks, they'll able to drain their energy in the most positive way.
Never confine your dog in spaces where he's likely to hit his tail against walls or surfaces. If he's a crate, make sure that it is large and comfortable enough.