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Tail Chasing in Puppies 

The challenging, entertaining, and never-ending chase for the tail – is there something funnier?

Your puppy was playing with its toys, and all of a sudden, he starts spinning for his tail. The cycle is more than dizzying, but your puppy is determined – this time, he will finally catch its tail. However, eventually, he gets tired and gives up. He will give it another shot later.

If you are a puppy parent, chances are this scenario is more than familiar. How many times has your puppy tried to catch its tail? Many, I guess. But how many times have you wondered whether the tail-chasing behavior is normal puppy behavior? Or is there something more to it?

Well, if you want to know the answer, you are reading the right lines. This article will tell you everything you need to know about puppies and their love tail chasing tendencies.

Is Tail Chasing in Dogs a Sign of Autism?

There is a widespread misbelief that tail chasing in puppies is the canine equivalent of autism in children. And just like autism is popularly linked with vaccines, some dog parents connect tail chasing with their puppies' vaccines. This entire concept is absurd.

Ever since we domesticated dogs, we are trying to humanize them. The comparison between autism and tail-chasing is the perfect example. However, it is entirely wrong.

Dogs do not even suffer from autism. Therefore, tail chasing can under no circumstances be described as an autistic behavior in puppies.

Did you know? Bull Terriers are highly inbred and some exhibit an almost breed-specific behavior of repetitive tail chasing. This is one of the most serious behavioral issues that plagues this breed. 

Bull terriers are predisposed to tail-chasing behaviors

Bull terriers are predisposed to tail-chasing behaviors

Why Do Puppies Chase Their Tails? The Real Reasons

With autism crossed of the list, it is time to dive into the real reasons behind the tail-chasing behavior. 

Some reasons are normal and can be classified under the “dogs doing dog stuff” category, while others are red flags signalizing some more serious is going on.  Here are the top reasons why puppies chase their tails.


Creativity is born out of boredom, right? As we all know, a bored puppy is a creative puppy, and willing to find entertainment options on its own. Well, what is more entertaining than chasing his own tail?

Honestly, tail-chasing is a truly benign form of dealing with boredom. Some puppies prefer chewing shoes and furniture. Basically, you should be happy if your puppy chooses tail-chasing instead of destructiveness.

Innocent Playfulness

It is no secret that puppies experience the world through their mouths. They are willing to put just about anything into their mouths. And the tail is quite interesting in those terms since it is not always available – your puppy needs to put an effort in chasing her before finding out her taste.

If your puppy is chasing his tail due to his puppy playfulness, chances are he will outgrow the habit later on life.

Attention-Seeking Behavior

There are not many things your puppy will not do to get your attention. And since it knows how much you enjoy watching his tail-chasing sessions, the behavior may seem like a good attention-seeking method.

Even if you do not encourage the behavior, you will still reprimand it. Reprimanding is also a form of attention, so either way your puppy got what it wanted.

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Fleas and Ticks

Puppies infested with fleas and ticks are very likely to chase their tails. The mechanism behind the behavior is really simple. 

The parasites make your puppy itchy. Considering that external parasites like the smell of the puppy’s anal glands, chances are they will be mostly concentrated in the tail region.

A monthly preventive is a good way of ensuring your puppy stays free of external parasites. In addition to causing itchiness, they can transmit infectious diseases and other parasites.

Tail chasing and scratching in puppies can be a sign of external or internal parasites

Tail chasing and scratching in puppies can be a sign of external or internal parasites

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites or worms are a common issue among puppies. All it takes is one delayed deworming treatment and you have a puppy with worms.

 As disgusting as it sounds, some worms are actually capable of crawling out of the dog’s bottom. Obviously, this crawling is irritating and your puppy may try to ease the irritation by chasing its tail.

Impacted Anal Glands

Impacted anal glands are becoming an increasingly frequent issue among dogs of all ages, puppies included. The impaction of the anal glands is a rather discomforting condition.

Your puppy may be chasing its tail in an effort to decrease the discomfort associated with the impacted anal glands.


Tail-chasing can be a sign of anxiety. Anxious puppies find comfort in repetitive behaviors. This is because repetitive behaviors offer a consistent pattern and the best way to relieve anxiety is through consistency.

If your puppy is chasing his tail due to anxiety, it is important to find the source of anxiety – having guests over, loud music, changes in your work hours, fireworks, thunderstorms…

High Cholesterol

This genuinely seems like an odd reason, but according to a recent study, all of the tail-chasing dogs included in the research had one thing in common – significantly higher cholesterol levels.

The significance of this finding is not yet established. However, it is interesting enough to spark some further digging into the correlation.

Concluding Thoughts

When someone says puppies, the first thing we depict is tail wagging. The next thing we automatically imagine is tail chasing. 

I am not sure what makes the tail-chasing concept so funny to us, but it seems like we are watching our puppies chase their tails with the same enthusiasm as they do the actual chase.

However, there is more to tail-chasing than fun and entertainment. Namely, while sometimes chasing the tail is a perfectly normal puppy and, in general, dog behavior, other times it can be a sign of an underlying issue.

The circumstances in which the tail-chasing occurs and the body signs that accompany and follow the behavior can give good insight regarding its origin. 

If your puppy suddenly becomes overly interested in chasing its tail, call your trusted vet and schedule an appointment.

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