- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Dog biting/chewing his tail

October 14th, 2010, 10:36 AM
I am new to this board and hope I am posting in the correct place.

I have a 2 year old Shepherd who just started to very aggressively bite his tail. When I even try to look at it, he will try to nip at me (keeping in mind, when this dog was run over by a car - my friend driving in the driveway - the vets didn't even have to sedate him for the x-rays. I know, for this reason alone, he is very frustrated and in pain with it.

I have raw fed since he was 5 weeks old, so it is not a change in food, no chemical or preservative reactions. It starts from the base of his tail and goes down about 6". He has removed all the hair and it is red and raw. Just the skin/slight bleeding. I put a collar/cone on him and he destroyed it trying to bite his tail and succeeded in making the wound longer. A friend told me about another type of collar that sits between his chin and his chest, but I have been unable to locate one at any of our vets... or pet stores.

I have given him 10 drops of Oregano oil this morning along with some Kefir but he is very aggitated and restless, breathing hard and in distress. I don't mind taking him to the vet if it is something they can help with, but more often than not (in our area) it is all a guessing game with them and after 5 visits they might come up with an answer. (perhaps I need to move??) Thought I would try here. What are people using for pain killers for their dogs. I have been told to give my dog Tylenal by a vet in the past, but read constantly it is not good for dogs. Now I'm frustrated.... any thoughts? :shrug:

thanks for reading. Lorrie

October 14th, 2010, 10:42 AM
Lorrie - when was the dog hit by the car? Was it recent? Indeed your dog is in distress. I would definately without a doubt bring him back to the vets regardless of your answer. This dog will be prescribed something specifically for animals and therefore you will not be taking any risks.

As this is an open wound, there is room for infection. I would not be messing with this at all.

Good luck.

October 14th, 2010, 10:58 AM
My first question: is he neutered? If he is still intact he may have "stud tail". We had the same problem with our Malamute/GSDx. An "altered" dog can still get it, but it is much less common. I would definitely make an appt. with the vet asap though, especially if he is breathing hard and seems to be in distress. Below is a photo and link for info on stud tail

Good luck,


October 14th, 2010, 11:31 AM
Thank you for the link. Cooper was neutered about 9 months ago, but apparently it could still be that. It sounds like it could be. My friend has been a Shepherd breeder for 25+ years. I will see if she has heard of it. In answer to the other post, he was only 6 months old when he was hit by the car - crushed hip, $1800 in surgery, but it worked incredibly! That vet only specializes in surgeries though... unfortunately. I guess I have just lost a lot of faith in our local vets since they have steered me in the wrong direction so many times. One dog took $2000 before they realized it was not allergies that was causing her ear problems. It was commercial dog food! By the time they figured it out, it was too late to do anything for her and she had to be put down.

As for the open wound, it is for sure that, but I have kept Silver Hydrosal on it (which is what they put on server burn victims when they are unable to put bandages on the body part to keep out infection). I am a bit of a naturalist if at all possible for the condition.

Thank you again for this information. I will let you know how I make out!

October 14th, 2010, 11:35 AM
Best of luck and please keep us updated.:thumbs up

October 14th, 2010, 03:42 PM
I started searching the web a little more based on the stud tail info and came up with "hot spots", which also describes my dogs behaviours and is very similar to the stud tail. So, Cooper and I just had a 60 minute argument about whether or not his tail area was going to be shaved. We finally agreed I could use the scissors (the vibration from the razor was probably irritating) and now I can at least see his sore better. I also decided since it was called a "hot spot", putting some ice on it to cool it down might be an idea for him. Sure enough, he was skeptical at first.... but once I put the icecube on the area, he relaxed his tail and put his head down. I stopped when he got fidgety again but that is how I was able to cut the hairs so close with the scissors without a wrestling match. Although I can't see any signs of fleas... we are in a very sandy area and it is time for the wretched little critters to seek a warmer climate - my dog and the house! And was listed as a Hot Spot cause. So he will get a nice bath when I have more hands tonight to help me keep him in there! LOL (By the way, the BEST flea bath you can ever put your dog in is simple and cheap. White vinegar (approx. 3 or 4 cups in the bath tub or 1 cup in the sink) and Dawn Dish soap. Fill the tub or sink FIRST before putting the dog in and have it go up their necks as high as you can without drowning your beloved animal. This ensures the fleas are taken by surprise and don't have a chance to run. Bigger dogs - like Cooper - have to be convinced to lay down quickly. Rough up the hair and watch them all float to the top!).

I have also called a few friends to see which vets they use since the one we had retired 15 months ago.... and they all laughed and said good luck. They feel the same as me. I am in a remote area without much choice. I think I will see how the bath, oregano oil (internal) and Walnut oil (for antifungal external) and C. Silver do for tomorrow. If there is no sign of improvement, I think it will be a 2 hour drive into Toronto to see if I have better luck there with a vet. Wish someone could refer me to a good one right off though.

Cooper is laying quietly now after another icing to his tail. Again, thank you for your quick replies. Maybe someone has had experience with Hot spots?

October 14th, 2010, 04:46 PM
Hi, sounds like Cooper is letting you try to look after him. I would be cautious about the vinegar/soap water mixture on his open sore it may sting and make him a tad angry with you :D

Welcome to the board by the way and we sure would like to see some pictures....patti

October 14th, 2010, 05:13 PM
Hi, sounds like Cooper is letting you try to look after him. I would be cautious about the vinegar/soap water mixture on his open sore it may sting and make him a tad angry with you :D

Welcome to the board by the way and we sure would like to see some pictures....patti
Yes, I was thinking the same thing. It could sting your boy.

October 14th, 2010, 08:28 PM
ahhh you are both right. For the fleas, he was getting a dose of Advantage. The bath is to get rid of the gross stuff around the wound. Certainly NOT vinegar. Another no no is oregano oil on an open cut! While it is amazing at killing bacteria, I put it on my blister after doing hay one day when I was in the truck waiting on something or other, and I made up a few new words! Do Not Do That!

I don't know how to post a picture. :( Lorrie

October 14th, 2010, 09:37 PM
Well, I added some pictures to .... somewhere! I'm afraid navigating around these boards is not one of my better qualities.

October 15th, 2010, 06:55 AM
Awwww Cooper is a beautiful boy as is your GP :cloud9::lovestruck:

October 15th, 2010, 10:12 AM
Thanks. I kinda like him to. LOL I wanted to share another little tidbit with everyone in case you find yourself (or your dog) in the same boat. First, I called the vet this morning. Told them I was sure it was a hot spot, I have bathed him, shaved the area, gave medicated him with Advantage, keeping it open to air dry with antifungal and antibacterial sprays/drops on it and he is still going crazy. He finished off his Ecollar last night and chewed more of his poor tail. She told me to come in on Tuesday afternoon... I reminded her that was 4 days away and not going to help Cooper out now. Was there anything more I could do for him in the meantime or could she suggest something in place of the E collar... hmmm.... No. I asked if I could give him Benydril and she said Oh Yes. .... This is why I hate our vets. I do all the work, and they want me to bring him in to get paid for it.

Now that part that might interest you. I got thinking about the collar I had to wear years ago after a neck injury. Those really uncomfortable things.... but I sure couldn't move my head. So I got out a huge bathsheet, cut up some stiff cardboard from my kirkland garbage bag box, and began to roll the towel up the width of Coopers neck (the width of the towel, not the length). I put the cardboard in after the 3rd roll and kept rolling... until I had a long thick piece of towel. I put that on his neck and taped it up! Now he isn't bruising my legs, bashing into the other dogs, he can get in and out of the dog door again, and he can eat, drink and sleep BUT he can't get to his tail! I'm going to get him some Benydril today (don't know why I didn't think of that before) and perhaps a spray with the same ingrediant in it to put on directly. I hope I never have to go through this again. it is painful watching him in such dispair!

October 15th, 2010, 11:16 AM
There are also inflatable collars that many dogs find more comfortable than the standard "cones". Most pet stores carry them these days. They're like water wings, but for the neck :D

October 16th, 2010, 08:13 AM
Cheapest, most reliable protection I have found is just cutting the bottom out of a plastic bucket, putting a series of holes around the bottom end so loops can be tied to it, then sliding a leather collar through the loops and putting bucket and collar on the dog. It is more rigid than an Elizabethan collar, yet smooth and seems comfortable for the dog. I have known of a cattle dog whose tail biting was so persistant that he would have lost his tail if they hadn't turned him into a 'bucket head'. My sister sometimes gets hot spots on her dogs and swears by a certain type of drops you get here for, believe it or not, ear problems. Applies it to the hot spot and it's healed in no time. I can phone her and see what it is if you are interested.

October 16th, 2010, 08:48 AM
I have used medicated gold bond powder on hot spots. Dries them out fast.

October 17th, 2010, 09:52 PM
Those are both really good ideas. Thanks! I wish I could see pictures of the pail though. Not quite sure I understand. I know the inflatable one would have a hole in no time the way cooper bashes his head around and tries to scrub it off.

I moved from the towel trick (which I am positive would work on a "normal" dog) to cutting the ends off a 4l vinegar jug, wrapping that ridged plastic up in a soft towel and duct taping around his neck. Even though it is really stiff, my little angel can STILL get to his tail. Perhaps the pail idea might work. I have enough of those around the farm. so the bottom I cut out goes in the garbage and it is the actual "pail" that goes over his head? That wont be too heavy for him to hold up? Is the ear stuff epiodic (sp?) or Odimax (sp?) those are the two things I bought by the case during my $2000 build up on the shepherd I ended up having to put down years ago. I would love to know what your sister uses.

I think I'm going to stop for some gold pond powder. What a great idea to!

October 18th, 2010, 04:22 AM
I tried to find a photo of one of my cattle dogs wearing a plastic bucket and it isn't on the computer. If I find it I'll scan it for you. But yes, you cut the bottom out and his head goes in from that end. I put about 8 loops around the bottom to run a leather collar through, then just buckle it on. The ear drops were Surolan but my sister now uses Ilium Neocort ointment for hot spots. Great stuff because it's antibiotic, anti inflammatory, and an anaesthetic skin emollient cream. Very soothing, however I don't know if it is available in Canada. I'm in Australia. We both feel you do need a vet's help, or the dog does. My sister suggested apple cider vinegar, as someone else did, but I think you really need to know what it is you are dealing with first.

October 18th, 2010, 08:02 AM Shay i've used Goldbond on my golden..he gets a hotspot on his butt,,,you're doing a great job,,keep the hair clipped short,,keep it dry and put on the goldbond..what you want is for the spot to dryout...Oh and both of your puppers are absolutely gorgeous...

October 18th, 2010, 08:07 PM
Yes, getting anything that is "good" is difficult to get in Canada! Frustrating is not even the word for it, not to mention how the government is limiting our access to certain meds here without a vet seeing the animal. I have 30 horses and have had horses for 35+ years. I do not need a vet to tell me when I need Penicillin. And yet, now I'm supposed to pay a $75 travel fee, $50 assessment fee and $50 injection fee! For each horse, each time! However, if I had a cattle farm... then I can have free access to it because that is a business and I'm just a "hobby".

So we made our trip to the vet and they washed Coopers tail, shaved where I have already shaved, told me it is a hot spot, gave me a cortison (sp?) cream with antibiotic and told me to put a Ecollar on him. This for the fair price of $179.00!!!! I nearly hit the roof and told them I had already done everything they did for them and the cream couldn't have cost them more than $2.00 for the amount they gave me. But I guess now I know what I knew before in that it is a Hot Spot....

I then stopped at Walmart and got the Gold Bond "Medicated" and came home and treated cooper with it. His nose keeps going white so I know he is still chewing some, but hopefully it will go away. The Oregano oil is working because his eyes are still filling with a guck but less now so I know we are getting to the end of it. I will keep up with the vitamin E to. (My dogs all get apple cidar vinegar which has not been pasturized and contains the mother every day in their food).

Keep your fingers crossed as the Saga continues! (I'm going to follow the Col. Williams Court case live which is taking place in Belleville - I live 40 minutes away - where he killed 2 woman here, 2 sexual assaults here and 84 break and enters where he stole thousands of pieces of ladies/childs underwear.... Cooper lays wherever I am so I can keep his teeth away from that poor little tail of his...)

October 18th, 2010, 11:12 PM
How far from the vet are you, Lorrie? We're in the same position here, 30 mile from 2 vets(in different towns) who would charge a fortune in travelling fees and for everything else they could get away with. Another vet, further afield, always tries to save people money, will send what I need, and he even breezes in on his way past if he knows I have a problem here, without charging me travelling. We've known him for 30 years though, so he has a good idea of the extent (or lack) of my knowledge. The good thing about that Ilium Neocort is that as well as cortisone I think it has lignocaine in it too, to deaden the pain. Tastes revolting too, which is a help in deterring them from chewing. I hope your lovely boy gets some relief now anyway.
I would have thought 30 horses might be just a bit more than a hobby, but there you are.

October 19th, 2010, 10:54 AM
I have a friend stopping by the vet today to see if they will give her that cream (or if they even have it). Of course, I could be planning on putting it in my children's dinner tonight OR I may need to be monitored to ensure I am putting it on his tail and not his eyes. I realize I am not a vet and I do not have the 7 years of schooling. But I do have 42 years of life skills, 13 years experience with children and 35+ years with horses and I think I can handle simple proceedures. I know it is just a money grab, but I hate the fact they think I'm stupid enough to believe it isn't. We are 45 minutes away from our dog vet and 60 minutes from our horse vet. (here they can only practice small animals or large OR they have to have a certificate for both which most don't bother with).

I'm only a hobby because the tax offices sees horses as a fun and entertaining past time that people enjoy. So, I could have 100 and still be a hobby regardless of how much money I make with them. Now, I can have 5 cows and call myself a beef farm or 20 dairy cattle and things are completely different. A stock trailer is about $7k new. The same trailer with the words "horse trailer" on the bill of sale will run more like $15k. Here is my website. I am not the best photographer I'm afraid... but at least they are pictures. LOL will let you know if I have any luck with the cream!

October 19th, 2010, 04:44 PM
Well thanks anyway for the cream idea. Unfortunately it is a medication and it is illegal for them to give it to me without seeing the dog... and i'm not paying another $179 to get a $10 cream. Robert argued with her for 5 minutes before giving up and leaving. I don't understand.... By the way, the Cdn Gov't is now trying to pass a law where we are unable to get regular vitamins such as vitamin C off the shelf without a prescription! Thanks anyway.... Perhaps I should move to the states. :(