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Do Dog Tails Break? Signs and Treatment



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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While it might seem unlikely, dogs can indeed break their tails. This typically occurs due to trauma or injury and can cause significant discomfort for your furry friend.

It’s important for dog owners to be aware of the signs of a broken tail, as prompt treatment can help alleviate pain and prevent further complications.

This guide will delve into the symptoms of a broken dog tail and discuss the various treatment options available.

Key Takeaway

  • Tail trauma in dogs refers to injuries or damage to the tail, commonly caused by accidents, excessive wagging, or getting caught in objects.
  • Dog tails can break or sustain injuries due to various factors such as accidents, falls, or being caught in objects.
  • Signs of a dog with a broken tail may include listless wagging, swelling, bending, difficulty moving or wagging the tail, altered gait, repeated licking or biting at the tail, inability to wag the tail freely, whining, and holding the tail in an abnormal position.

What is Tail Trauma in Dogs?

Tail trauma in dogs refers to any injury to the canine’s tail or its supporting structures. This can include injuries emanating from breaks, fractures, or dislocations.

Dogs can break their tails in various ways, such as getting hit by a car, having their tail slammed into a door, or even during rough play.

Working dogs and large dogs with longer tails are particularly prone to tail injuries.

Do Dog Tails Break?

Do Dog Tails Break Signs and Treatment

Yes, dogs can break their tails and it usually happens due to trauma, such as a dog’s tail being slammed into a door, getting hit by a car, or a hard fall.

Dogs with longer tails, like working dogs, are more prone to tail injuries.

Signs of a broken tail include changes in the way dogs wag their tails, discomfort when moving the tail or touching the base of the dog’s tail, or if the tail isn’t wagging as usual.

The dog may also show signs of pain like whimpering. If you suspect your dog has a broken tail, it’s crucial to get your dog to the vet immediately for a proper diagnosis and treatment, which could range from pain management to tail amputation in severe cases.

Owners can help prevent tail injuries by keeping an eye on their dogs while walking or playing to avoid accidents.

How Do Dogs Break Their Tails?

Dogs can break their tails in several ways, most often due to some form of trauma. One common cause is the tail being accidentally slammed into a door. Similarly, a dog might injure its tail by falling off furniture or down stairs, particularly if the tail gets caught or twisted during the fall.

Being hit by a car is another unfortunate but common way that dogs can break their tails. The force of the impact can cause serious tail injuries, including fractures.

In some cases, dogs can even break their tails while playing or engaging in vigorous exercise. For example, a dog might injure its tail while wagging it too hard against a hard surface, like a wall or piece of furniture.

Dog breeds with long tails are particularly prone to tail injuries. These dogs have more tail to potentially get caught or hit, leading to a greater risk of injury. Working dogs, who use their tails for balance and communication, can also be at higher risk.

Signs of a Dog Broken Tail?

Signs of a dog’s broken tail include:

Changes in Tail Movement

One of the first signs of a broken tail in dogs is changes in tail movement. This could include a limp or listless tail, difficulty wagging, or holding the tail in an unusual position.

Pain and Discomfort

Dogs with broken tail often show signs of pain and discomfort. This could manifest as whimpering, restlessness, or avoiding sitting down. They may also react negatively to their tail being touched.

Physical Changes

Physical changes can also be a sign of a broken tail. This might include swelling, redness, or visible wounds on the tail. In some cases, there may be an obvious kink or bend in the tail where the break has occurred.

Changes in Behavior

A dog with a broken tail may also exhibit changes in behavior. These can include loss of appetite, lethargy, or increased aggression due to pain. If your dog is acting out of character, it’s always a good idea to consult with a vet.

Difficulty with Balance

The tail is an important part of a dog’s balance. If a dog’s tail is broken, they may have difficulty balancing, particularly when moving quickly or turning sharply.

Remember, these signs could indicate other health issues as well, so it’s important to seek veterinary advice if you notice any changes in your dog’s tail or overall behavior.

Will a Dog Tail Injury Heal Itself?

Some dog tail injuries can heal on their own, particularly if the injury is minor and located towards the tail tip.

However, severe injuries or fractures closer to the base of your dog’s tail often require veterinary intervention.

If your dog has a broken tail or shows signs of tail injuries such as changes in wagging, discomfort, or the tail isn’t moving as usual, it’s important to get your dog to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

While some conditions like ‘limber tail’ may resolve with rest and time, other tail fractures might necessitate more extensive treatments, such as surgery or even tail amputation in extreme cases.

How Long Does A Broken Tail On A Dog Take To Heal?

Minor tail injuries or fractures, particularly those closer to the tail tip, may heal within a week or two. However, more severe breaks, or those closer to the base of your dog’s tail could take a month or more to completely heal.

It’s important to keep an eye on your dog during this healing process. If your dog seems in pain, is not able to wag their tail, or the tail isn’t moving as usual, these could be signs that the tail hasn’t healed properly and further veterinary attention may be required.

In some cases, where the tail is severely broken or injured, the vet might need to perform a tail amputation. Post-surgery, the healing process could be extended due to the need for wound care and recovery from anesthesia.

When Should You Contact Your Vet About a Tail Injury?

You should contact your vet about a tail injury in your dog as soon as you notice any signs of distress or discomfort.

These signs may include changes in the way dogs wag their tails, obvious signs of pain such as whimpering, or if the tail isn’t moving or wagging as usual.

The dog may also react negatively when you touch the base of its tail or along the tail.

Other signs to look out for include an unusually limp tail (sometimes referred to as “limber tail”), a tail that is held at an odd angle, or visible injuries like cuts or abrasions. If your dog seems unusually agitated or anxious, this could also be a sign of pain from a tail injury.

In some instances, a tail injury could be due to a fracture or break. Common causes of tail fractures include the tail being slammed into a door, the dog being hit by a car, or a fall. Dogs with longer tails and working dogs are particularly prone to tail injuries.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix a Broken Dog’s Tail?

A minor tail fracture that requires pain management and rest can cost between $50 – $200 while a severely broken dog tail that requires surgical treatment can cost between $200 – $1000.

The cost to treat a broken tail in a dog can vary greatly depending on the severity of the injury and the necessary treatment.

A minor fracture that requires pain management and rest may incur a lower cost, typically the price of the vet consultation and any prescribed medication. This could range from around $50 to $200.

However, if the tail is severely broken and requires surgery or amputation, the cost can significantly increase.

Surgical treatment for a broken tail can range anywhere from $200 to $1,000 or more, depending on the complexity of the surgery, the need for anesthesia, and aftercare requirements such as follow-up visits and medications.

In some areas or at some clinics, costs may be higher due to the cost of living and operating expenses. It’s also worth noting that these are only estimates and actual costs can vary.

Pet insurance may help offset some of these costs, but it depends on the specific policy. Always consult with your veterinarian for the most accurate cost estimate.

Broken Dog’s Tail Treatment

Treatment for a dog’s broken tail includes:

Veterinary Consultation

The first step in treating a broken dog’s tail is to consult with a veterinarian. They can perform a physical examination and may use X-rays to accurately diagnose the break.

Pain Management

If the break is minor, the vet may recommend pain management as the primary form of treatment. This typically involves medication to reduce pain and inflammation. Rest is also crucial during this period to allow the tail to heal.


In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary. This could involve setting the broken bones back into place or, in some cases, amputating the tail if the damage is severe or causing significant pain.

Post-Surgery Care

After surgery, post-operative care is important for a successful recovery. This can include wound cleaning, administering prescribed medications, and limiting the dog’s activity level to prevent further injury.

Physical Therapy

In some cases, physical therapy may be recommended to help restore full function to the tail. This can involve exercises to improve strength and flexibility.

Remember, it’s important to follow your vet’s advice and instructions during this time to ensure the best possible recovery for your dog.

Important Precautions To Protect Your Dog’s Tail From Fractures?

Supervise Playtime

Supervising your dog during playtime can help prevent tail injuries. This includes monitoring interactions with other dogs to ensure play doesn’t get too rough and result in a tail injury.

Be Mindful of Doors and Gates

One common cause of tail injuries is getting the tail caught in doors or gates. Always ensure your dog’s tail is clear of the door before closing it.

Safe Transportation

If your dog travels in a car, ensure they are secure and unable to jump around or fall, which could result in a tail injury. Using a dog harness or crate can help keep your pet safe.

Create a Safe Environment

Creating a safe environment at home can also help protect your dog’s tail. This includes removing any hazards that your dog may hit their tail against when wagging enthusiastically.

Regular Exercise

Regular exercise can help keep your dog’s tail strong and healthy, reducing the risk of fractures. Ensure your dog gets plenty of opportunities to run and play in a safe, controlled environment.

Regular Vet Check-ups

Regular vet check-ups can help catch any potential issues early before they become serious. If your vet notices any weakness or problems with your dog’s tail, they can recommend appropriate preventative measures.


Q: What is limber tail syndrome?

A: Limber tail syndrome, also known as limber tail or limp tail, is a condition where a dog’s tail becomes limp and flaccid. It usually occurs due to overexertion or excessive swimming.

Q: What are common dog tail injuries?

A: Common dog tail injuries include fractures, dislocations, sprains, strains, and soft tissue damage.

Q: How is a dog’s tail anatomy?

A: A dog’s tail is made up of several small bones called vertebrae, which are connected by muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The tail is an extension of the dog’s spine.

Q: How can I prevent tail injuries in my dog?

A: To prevent tail injuries in your dog, you should avoid activities that put excessive strain or impact on the tail, such as rough play, pulling on the tail, or allowing your dog to jump from high surfaces.

Q: What may cause a dog to break its tail?

A: A dog may break its tail due to trauma, such as being hit by a car, having the tail slammed in a door or from excessive wagging and hitting objects.

Q: What should I do if I suspect my dog has a broken tail?

A: If you suspect your dog has a broken tail, you should take them to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment. They may recommend X-rays or other diagnostic tests to assess the extent of the injury.

Q: What are the signs of a broken tail in a dog?

A: The signs of a broken tail in a dog can vary, but common symptoms include pain and swelling around the base of the tail, lameness, difficulty wagging the tail, and the tail hanging limply or at an unusual angle.

Q: Can a dog’s tail show obvious signs of being broken?

A: Yes, a dog’s tail can show obvious signs of being broken, such as deformity, open wounds, bleeding, or bone fragments protruding from the skin. However, in some cases, the signs may be more subtle.

Q: What should I do if my dog’s tail is broken?

A: If your dog’s tail is broken, you should seek veterinary attention immediately. A veterinarian will be able to assess the extent of the injury and recommend appropriate treatment, which may include splinting, pain medication, or in severe cases, surgical intervention.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, it’s crucial to remember that a dog’s tail can indeed break and such an injury should never be ignored.

Signs such as swelling, difficulty in wagging, and unusual tail position could indicate a potential problem.

Immediate veterinary attention is essential for pain management and appropriate treatment, which could range from rest and anti-inflammatory medications to resetting the tail or even surgery in severe cases.

As a pet owner, being knowledgeable about these signs and treatments can help ensure your dog’s well-being and happiness.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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