When That Tail Doesn't Wag: Has Your Dog Sprained Their Tail?

A dog with a limp tail may be trying to say something. It can be a sign of fear and stress, but before you wonder who has dared to frighten or stress out your beloved pooch, have you considered that your dog may have sprained their tail?

Discomfort for Your Dog

When it comes to ease of treatment, a sprained tail isn't especially complicated to correct. But don't assume that it's an insignificant injury, as it can be very painful for your dog. And when you think of how expressive a dog's tail is, and how often a dog moves their tail, you can imagine how uncomfortable it must be for your dog. 

What a Sprained Tail Looks Like

Your dog's discomfort may be quite obvious, but this isn't always the case. Logically, some sprains are more severe than others, but none of them is all that comfortable for your dog. The tail will appear to be limp, flaccid, and will hang towards the ground. Your dog will still attempt to move it — which is inevitable, and even instinctive for them, but will cause significant physical discomfort. 

Ways in Which a Tail Can Be Sprained

This discomfort has a cause, and there are many different ways a dog can sprain their tail. Just think of all the ways you could sprain your ankle or your wrist. Your dog may have knocked their rump against a hard surface while playing, triggering the sprain. If your dog's bed is in a caged enclosure (what the Americans call crating), this could have contributed to the problem — with your dog bumping their tail as they attempt to move in these confined quarters. It can even be overexertion, with your dog having wagged their tail too vigorously. 

Time to See the Veterinary Surgeon

Whatever the cause, don't delay seeing a vet if you suspect that your dog has sprained their tail. The physical injuries are likely to heal of their own accord, but this cannot be assumed, and your dog may need pain relief during the healing process. Your vet is likely to prescribe some anti-inflammatories to aid the healing process. Rest will be recommended so your dog doesn't aggravate their injury. An x-ray may also be required, in case the injury is in fact a fracture instead of a mere sprain. 

So when your dog's tail goes limp, it's easy to think that it's related to their mood. But if your dog's limp tail seems to be causing physical distress, they might be struggling with a sprained tail — meaning it's time to visit the vet.

If you think your dog needs the help of a veterinary surgeon, make an appointment today.