Tail Injuries in Puppies

Tail of a puppy dog

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Big breed puppies like Labradors are so happy—and so large—that happy wagging can bang the tail tip and cause it to bleed. A painful tail can get in the way of proper tail talk.

Pet tails can also be shut in doors, stepped on, or otherwise hurt. Once injured, tails are very prone to re-injury and can stay sore and battered.

Finding the Wound

Hair can hide the wound, and may become matted with blood. If your dog will tolerate it, gently soak the tail with cool water to remove any caked-on debris or dried blood. This will help to clean the wound as well as to help you identify where it is. If your dog is very painful, it is better to seek veterinary treatment right away and to avoid doing anything further that may cause pain or distress.

Treating Dog Tail Injury

Rinsing off the wound with cool water will help slow the bleeding and reduce inflammation. Then gently pat the tail dry with a clean cloth if your dog will tolerate it. You can also try applying an ice cube to the area to numb the pain and reduce swelling.

Once the injury is clean and dry, bring your dog to the veterinarian. Your veterinarian can recommend the best medication and treatment for your pup's specific injury, as well as ongoing preventative measures to avoid re-injury.

Preventing Future Trauma

An E-collar can keep him from chewing, licking, or disrupting a healing tail injury. Some injuries require that the damaged tail tip be amputated if it is repeatedly re-injured, or the damage is too severe for it to heal. If that happens, fur tends to grow over the end and hides the loss. Your pet will never miss the, er, missing link.

Make some changes in the dog’s environment to avoid a repeat of the tail trauma. Remember that if he injures puppy-size tails, once he grows up the potential for injury (and household damage) increases. Bigger dogs need larger areas where they can swing their tails without banging walls, or clearing off the coffee table.