A wagging tail is synonymous with a happy dog. But, for some dogs, too much happiness can result in an injured tail. Some canines wag their tails so vigorously that they manage to bash it into the sides of their kennel, the walls of their home, furniture, or whatever else is in reach. This is often not-so-technically referred to as “Happy Tail Syndrome” in the veterinary community.
Larger breeds with thin tails (like Labrador Retrievers, Greyhounds, and Pit Bull Terriers) are most likely to experience Happy Tail Syndrome. When the thin skin at the end of the tail is repeatedly slammed into a hard surface, cuts and lacerations can result. Bandaging the tail can help prevent future injuries while a wound is healing. If serious bleeding or infection occurs, owners should seek veterinary care because suturing and/or antibiotics may be necessary. An Elizabethan collar can help prevent dogs from licking or chewing at bandages.
Repeated injury can even trigger a bleeding ulcer at the tip of the tail. If “Happy Tail Syndrome” becomes a serious and repeated source of injury for your dog, speak with a veterinarian. In especially severe cases, tail amputation might be recommended.