If your dog’s tail has been between its legs for a few days, it usually means they are stressed, frightened, have a tail injury, or are in heat (female dogs only). The best way to get the tail wagging again is to avoid stressful situations and attempt to play with them.
There is nothing worse for a dog owner than watching their dog in pain or feeling completely uncomfortable.
Dogs communicate with us through their body language. Considering speech is not an option (besides barking and whimpering), they need to act out what they are feeling to communicate with us.
When your dog has his tail between his legs for days, it means that he is trying to tell you something.
Why Is Your Dog’s Tail Between Its Legs?
There are several possibilities for what could cause your dog to have his tail between his legs for days on end.
This is usually a sign that your dog is frightened or stressed. They are using their tail to communicate these emotions to you.
If there is a more dominant dog or even a human in his presence, your dog could be feeling constant fear.
This could also mean that your dog is showing his submission to a dominant figure.They could be simply trying to show the more dominant figure he is not challenging his authority and is simply submitting to him.
Sadly, if this dog is being physically abused, it might mean he is constantly frightened and cowering in fear.
Check and ensure there isn’t any physical abuse going on. Check your dog’s body for any pain points, bumps, bruises, or cuts.
A tucked tail can also be a sign of stress. If your dog is anxious, he could plunge his tail between his legs as a reaction.
Memory Loss (more common in older dogs)
Sadly, it’s common for older dogs to experience memory loss. They may be tucking their tail between their legs because they’re constantly forgetting what environment they are in. It can be stressful when you forget where you are!
Female Dog in Heat
If your female dog has been tucking her tail between her legs for days, then she might be in heat.
Illness, Gut Issues, and Pain
If there isn’t a reason for your dog to feel nervous, scared, or stressed, it may be time to look for an illness.
Check your dog’s body for bumps, bruises, cuts, lumps, fleas, scrapes, bald spots, splinters, and anything else.
Be sure to check everywhere you can look, including in his mouth, ears, nose, genitals, and paws. Having a flashlight could be handy for those hard-to-see spots.
Taking a closer look at your dog’s diet and even his excrement could be helpful, too. Although this may be far less likely to be the reason for his behavior, check for worms or any kind of stomach or gut upset.
Several other symptoms go along with your dog being sick or in pain include:
- Decreased appetite
- Difficulty lying down
- Lethargy or agitated behavior
- Issues with movement
A tail tucked between the legs could also be the symptom of a tail injury. It could be nerve damage, a broken bone, a fracture, or gland issues.
It could also be a sign of muscle damage, which is common in large breeds and dogs who have over-exercised or spent too much time in their crate.
See if the tail is swollen, and/or if your dog is constantly licking their tail. You can try to have your dog relax and recuperate.
If that fails, you can give your dog anti-inflammatories. However, you should see your vet before giving your dog any medication.
What to Do Next
Considering this is more often a sign of fear or stress, try to take the stressor away if you can. If it’s not possible, such as moving to a new home or leaving your dog while you go to work, there are several things you can do to relax and destress your dog.
Avoid Other Stressful Situations
If your dog is stressed, you should try to avoid future stressful situations. Meeting new people, mingling with new dogs (even at the dog park), and having loud noises are just some examples of stressful situations to avoid for now.
Pay close attention to your dog’s environment. Even new items in your home can cause your dog to stress and/or be scared!
If there are any new objects in your home, try hiding them from your dog and seeing if this will change his behavior and make him feel better.
Supply Your Dog with a Favorite Item
When your dog experiences stressful situations that are out of your control, you can give your dog a favorite toy, T-shirt, bone, or any other item that may lessen their stress levels.
Giving them some attention and affection can also reduce their stress (if that’s what your dog likes).
Training can help your dog in many ways. Easy communication between you and them can significantly decrease your dog’s stress levels and improve their symptoms as well.
Inconsistent rules and commands will confuse your dog and put her into a state of fear, embarrassment, and stress.
If you tell your dog to jump on the bed one day, then scold them for jumping on it the following day, she will be confused and fearful.
Improving other aspects of your dog’s health can positively affect his mental health. Feeding your dog a healthy diet and providing enough opportunities for exercise can significantly help your dog relax and take his tail out from between his legs.
Practice What You Preach
Dog owners know their dogs are extremely in tune with their emotions and mental state. Because dogs are so observant, it could be possible that your own stress and anxiety are causing theirs.
Be sure to tackle your own anxieties first. Once you do, your dog’s anxiety and stress should improve as well.
Take Your Dog to the Vet
If you can’t find anything visibly wrong with your dog, there may be something internal going on.
If in doubt, take your dog to the vet and discuss his behavior with him. It’s better to get professional and definitive answers about your dog’s health than to guess.
When your dog tucks her tail between her legs, it can be alarming. It can be more so when they do it for days on end.
It’s important to note, though, that no matter what the cause is, your dog should be perfectly fine if the proper steps are taken to help her feel better!
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