What Is Happy Tail Syndrome?

Hard Times for Tails

Tails with cuts or lacerations caused by being thwacked against a hard surface may need to be bandaged or sutured, depending on how serious the injury is. The wound can sometimes become infected and require treatment with antibiotics.

Bandaging the tail helps it to heal by preventing further injury. To keep the dog from chewing at the bandages, it may be necessary to coat them with bitter apple or some other bad-tasting substance, or to fit the dog with an Elizabethan collar to prevent access to the injured area.

Some dogs just never figure out not to wag so vigorously. If a dog keeps injuring the tail and is in constant pain or causes frequent bloody messes, you may need to consider tail amputation.

Dogs have tails for a couple of reasons: The tail serves as a counterweight or rudder for more effective or precise turning when the dog is running, and it signals social cues. Those are important purposes but not essential. If taking the tail off will solve the problem of happy tail syndrome, rest assured that a tail isn’t an essential piece of anatomy for your dog.

In fact, consider a bobbed tail the world’s greatest doggy grin.

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