Why Your Dog Licking the Base of the Tail?


Even though dogs are intelligent creatures, they often chase their tails and keep rotating like toys. Sometimes you'll even find them licking the base of the tail. But what's the exact reason behind it?

Interestingly, if you find your dog licking the base of the tail occasionally, that's a good sign, as your dog is conscious about his hygiene. He does it to clean up his body and keep himself groomed!

But if your dog does it frequently, which seems beyond normal, there might be one or multiple reasons that compel your dog to feel something wrong!

Today in this discussion, we will reveal 15 common reasons behind such activities that your dog can't communicate.

13 Common Reasons Why Your Dog is Licking the Base of the Tail

Before rushing to the veterinarian, you should know the common reasons to figure out exactly why your dog is licking the base of the tail.

In the discussion below, we have represented 13 common reasons you should read before getting professional help for your dog.

Abnormal Grooming

Dogs are more friendly than cats, so they can easily sync with humans without needing long grooming. But here is the catch!

Even though it's normal for a dog to lick the base of the tail to keep themselves clean, for some significant circumstances, your dog might face overgrooming problems. And as part of this side effect, you might see your dog licking the base of the tail too frequently.


Your dog might face this struggle for several reasons, such as -

  • Frequent long-drive tour
  • House shifting
  • Family member death
  • Loneliness


Allergic Dermatitis Due to Flea

Sometimes for the lack of consciousness, your dog might suffer from allergic flea dermatitis that makes your dog lick his tail base.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD) is an allergic skin disease. In most cases, dogs and cats suffer from such diseases. The condition is caused by parasites, such as fleas and mites, which live in their fur or skin.

Symptoms include intense itching, scratching, hair loss, scabs, redness, and crusting. Treatment for FAD includes bathing your dog with a shampoo containing permethrin insecticide.

But in severe cases, you might have to take your dog to a vet.

Anal Glands Impaction

Both male and female dogs have anal glands which are sensitive. They secrete an oily substance with a strong odor, which you usually smell when your dog's rear area smells terrible.

The glands have two openings on either side of their rectum, and they can become infected or impacted if your dog doesn't get enough fiber to help stimulate regular emptying.

This condition is called Anal Gland Impaction, and it will cause your dog to lick the base of his tail excessively because he is trying to relieve the pressure from his anal gland by licking it.

Infection Due to Tapeworm

Because of the tapeworms or other parasites, Dogs often lick their tails. When these worms travel through the dog's body, they sometimes emerge at the tail's base.

The dog tries to remove them by licking and biting himself in that area. But licking can't entirely wipe out the tapeworms. Eventually, for the irritation, your dog tends to lick that area constantly.

If your dog is chasing his tail for more than 20 minutes without stopping, it's time to take them to the vet.

Extreme Boredom

Sometimes you will find your dog licking his tail base only because they are bored and have nothing to do. Other signs of boredom include:

  • Chewing on furniture or toys.
  • Pacing around in circles.
  • Yawning excessively.
  • Scratching at things.

If your dog is exhibiting any of these behaviors and licking its tail excessively, it might be time to find something new to do while you're gone.

In such cases, the perfect way to solve the issue is to let them engage in fun activities that help eliminate boredom. Especially the activities that need your dog's brain activity, such as hide and seek, food puzzles, etc., can work effectively.

Food Allergies and Environmental Issues

Most adult dogs are physically fine to consume foods they used to eat. If your dog has any medical history indicating a health hazard like food allergies, it might lick its tail because it has an allergy to something in its diet.

In that case, you have to be extra conscious about the diet plan for your dog. You must know what he is eating beyond the diet in your absence.

In such cases, switching to another food type may help with the licking behavior. If your dog keeps licking its tail after changing its diet, it might be an environmental issue, such as being too hot or cold which can be fixed by providing better shelter for your pet.

Hormonal Imbalance Issue

If your dog faces hormonal imbalance, it will show you other visible symptoms as a confirmation message!

If the situation is severe, your dog might start losing its hair, changing its skin color, gaining/losing weight, getting increased thrust/urination, etc.

Eventually, those side effects influence your dog's usual behavior as well. And as one of the consequences, he sometimes starts to lick or bite his tail base for its abnormality.

So, before blaming your dog's behavior when you find it licking the base of the tail, be sure if it faces hormonal imbalances. If the signs are positive, there is no other alternative to take your dog to the vet.


Contact Dermatitis Symptoms

Dogs may lick at the base of their tail due to contact dermatitis from an irritant such as urine, feces, or other substances. This skin problem is usually caused by a bacterial infection and may be brought on by allergies.

Dogs with allergies often lick excessively at their paws or behind their ears. Contact dermatitis can also indicate an autoimmune disorder like pemphigus foliaceus or systemic lupus erythematosus.

If your dog has been licking excessively and it's accompanied by hair loss, redness, or ulcers, contact your vet for treatment advice.

Anal Sac Disease

Your dog licks his tail base not only due to irritating itching problems. He also keeps licking it because he got anal sac impaction!

It commonly happens in dogs due to the inflammation in ducts. This trouble makes the anal sac thicken and distended and eventually causes excessively painful for your dog to release poop.

As your dog can't communicate through his voice like us, he constantly licks his tail base to give you a signal like "I'm in trouble. Please help me!".


Severe Vaginitis Infection

If your dog is a female, vaginitis could be another reason behind making her lick the base of the tail.

Vaginitis is an infection of the vagina, which bacterial imbalance, yeast, or parasites can cause. This disease in dogs is usually caused by either one or more organisms that live in the dog's vagina and multiply when it has contact with excessive moisture, such as from licking, urination, sexual activity, or vaginal discharge.

When your dog starts to experience this trouble, she starts licking her tail base to get relief. In such cases, only a vet can help you.

Parasite Bites and Fleas

If your dog often stays at unhygienic places or eats from the trashbin outside your house, there is a high chance of getting infected with some unwinged parasites.

Allergic parasites on your dog create itching irritation. Especially the gut area is a suitable place for the flea-allergic parasite to expand its existence.

It might create serious itching problems at the tail base of your dog. And eventually, your dog starts licking the base of the tail. But, as only licking can't eliminate these tiny existences in your dog's tail, the itching problem stays.

As a result, your dog can't stop licking, and sometimes it gets habituated in your dog, which is another serious concern.

Gradually Decreasing Stimulation

Dogs also need physical and mental stimulation to retain their usual pace like humans. But sometimes, your dog might face a lack of mental or physical stimulation that eventually affects their behavior.

This could be because your dog lives in an apartment and doesn't get to interact with people or other animals. Eventually, boredom gets him. As part of getting rid of this, they subconsciously might start licking the base of the tail.

They also might have social anxiety. If your dog is locked up most of the day, it needs an outlet for its energy and curiosity.

In these cases, giving them a treat can help soothe them. You can try to engage with your dog by playing tug-of-war or fetch before bedtime to tire them out.


Injury Pain / Orthopedic Sufferings

When your dog faces severe injury pain in the tail, it sometimes compels him to lick his injured part to get instant relief.

The licking usually causes some relief from the pain, so he continues doing it until they feel better. But in reality, this process can't give him permanent relief.

Beyond tail injury, your dog might face orthopedic issues such as-

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Arthritis
  • Disc Disease

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Even though we have tried to cover all the common reasons behind your dog’s licking tendency at the base of his tail, some questions might still poke into your brain! Let us answer some of these!

How do I get my dog to stop licking his tail wound?

  • You can fit an Elizabethan Collar to your dog's neck to stop licking his tail wound. The fun reality is that your dog will always try to lick his tail wound until it gets healed.

How Do You Get Your Dog to Stop Licking?

  • The best way to get your dog to stop licking is distracting! In this regard, you can offer fun games like hide and seek, food puzzles, etc.

Is It Normal for Dogs to Lick the Base of Their Tail?

  • Yes, it is! In most cases, it's normal for dogs to lick the base of their tail as dogs do it for cleaning up and keeping themselves groomed.

Ending Note

Some other reasons might invite a dog to lick the base of the tail. But to keep the discussion concise, we have only mentioned the 13 common reasons.

Besides licking the base of the tail, your dog might show other abnormal activities depending on his upbringing, surrounding environment, interaction with new family members, etc. In that case, spending quality time can bring it back to its regular track.

But if you find any situation that can only be handled by a professional, get a vet and let him handle your dog.


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