Injured & Broken Dog Tail: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

dog tail

If your dog has a broken tail, it is important that you are able to recognize the symptoms.

You’ll also want to know how to treat this problem, which can be quite serious.

A broken tail is fairly common among dogs, and there are many things that can cause it.

The Anatomy of a Dog’s Tail

First you’ll want to learn a little bit about your dog’s tail, which has anywhere from 5 to 23 individual vertebrae. Inside of their tail are many blood vessels, small muscles and connective tissue. All of these things are extremely delicate and can be punctured fairly easily.

The numerous muscles in your dog’s tail are what allow them to maintain complete control over it at all times. Their tail is somewhat of an extension of their personality and mood. If your dog is scared or anxious, its tail will probably go between its legs. If they are happy, their tail will be turned up and wag back and forth.

Symptoms of a Broken Tail

There are lots of different symptoms of a broken tail that you’ll want to be aware of. This will make it easier to get your dog the treatment it needs sooner rather than later.

It doesn’t wag like normal

If your dog has a broken tail, you might notice that it doesn’t wag like it normally does. Their tail may only move a little bit or in a strange way. This is definitely a sign that something is seriously wrong with your dog’s tail.

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It is Bleeding

Another fairly obvious sign of a broken tail is bleeding. If you notice any blood on your dog’s tail, you’ll want to inspect it thoroughly and carefully. It is very possible that they are injured to some degree and need treatment.

They are Walking Differently

A lot of dogs that have a broken tail will begin walking differently. Even a small problem with their tail can have a huge impact on their ability to get around. You might notice them limping or stumbling when walking.

They Keep Licking their Tail

A dog will often lick a part of its body that is causing them pain. If your dog keeps licking their tail, there is a chance that something is wrong with it.


If you notice a lot of shedding from your dog’s tail, it could be due to some sort of injury they sustained. This is certainly not normal, so you will need to take notice.

dogs tail

Causes of a Broken Tail

There are many different things that can cause a break in a dog’s tail that you’ll want to be aware of.


It is possible that your dog’s tail was broken due to some sort of physical trauma. This could be anything from being bitten by another animal to having their tail accidentally slammed in a door. You may have actually done this to them without even noticing.

Nerve Damage

There are numerous medical conditions a dog can have that cause nerve damage. This can cause the tail to become numb or very painful, depending on the underlying condition. Sometimes this is a matter of a genetic condition that a dog has.

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Some dogs bite at their own tails out of boredom or because of general behavioral issues. If they bite at their tail enough, they can cause real damage to it. This is another possibility that you’ll want to at least consider.

dog tails

Treatments for a Broken Tail

The treatment that is required for your dog’s broken tail depends on the type of injury and what caused it in the first place.

Standard First Aid

If your dog just has some minor cuts on its tail, you can apply standard first aid. This means cleaning the wound and applying an antibacterial spray or ointment. This will prevent the wound from becoming infected, which can quickly make things a lot worse. You will then want to wrap up the cut, changing the bandaging until it heals.

Make sure that you look for signs of infection with your dog’s cuts until it heals up. If the wound seems to be getting worse, you’ll need to take them to the vet right away. Even a minor infection can be quite serious for these animals. It doesn’t take long for a dog to become seriously ill from an infected wound.

Go to the Vet

It is important to know when you should take your dog to the veterinarian. If they have any major cuts, signs of infection or an actual breaking of the vertebrae, you’ll want to seek professional treatment.

Your veterinarian will run some tests to determine the extent of the injuries to your dog’s tail before deciding on a certain treatment. The sooner you get them to the vet, the more likely they are to make a full recovery without any problems.

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It is likely that the vet will perform an X-RAY on your dog’s tail just to be safe. This will provide them with a better idea as to the extent of the injuries.


  • If your dog seems to be walking in an abnormal way, there is a chance that their tail is broken.
  • Look for any blood that may be coming from your dog’s tail, as this also indicates potentially serious injuries.
  • A dog with a broken tail will most likely not be able to wag it normally, so you’ll need to keep an eye out for that as well.
  • A broken tail often results from some sort of trauma, such as getting hit by a car or having their tail slammed by a door.
  • There is also a chance that your dog has a broken tail due to nerve damage.
  • If your dog is biting its own tail for whatever reason, it could become broken altogether.
  • If they only have minor cuts on their tail, you can apply normal first aid with an antibacterial spray and bandaging.
  • If the problem is more serious, you shouldn’t hesitate to the visit the vet.
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