Nothing beats a wagging, happy tail! Unfortunately, this excitable, happy part of a dog's anatomy can sometimes get in the way. Many years ago I accidentally slammed my dog's tail in the front door. Boy did she yelp loudly and boy did I feel bad! Thankfully, her tail wasn't broken...just badly bruised. One way you will be able to tell if your dog's tail is indeed broken is by the way he or she wags it. Dogs that have broken tails are only able to wag them halfway (they won't be able to move their tails beyond the break). If the skin of the tail is broken be prepared for a lot of blood as tails tend to bleed heavily.
So what do you do if your pup has a broken tail? Well first of all you will need to stop the bleeding. GENTLY grasp the tail where the injury occurred (you might want to wear a pair of gloves) and press down firmly (but gently). Next, wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water. It is very important to clean the wound so that it doesn't get infected. Once the wound is clean, apply an antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin. Finally, place sterile gauze pads over the wound (use medical tape to keep them in place). It is important to remember that if your dog's tail is indeed broken he or she will be in some pain. Therefore, be extra careful when cleaning and bandaging the bleeding area.
Depending on where your dog's tail is broken you may be able to immobilize it without a trip to the vet's office. However if you are at all uncomfortable at the thought of doing so, then by all means, take your pup to the vet. If the tail IS NOT broken at the base, you can take care of the fracture at home. Simply use a chopstick or other very thin piece of wood as a splint. Place the piece of wood under the tail (where it is broken) and beginning at the tip of the tail wrap the tape snuggly, working toward the body with closely over-lapping layers. The splint will help to keep the tape in place. Your dog will need to keep the splint on for at least one or two weeks. Only remove the splint once your dog is able to wag his or her entire tail.
If your dog's tail is broken at the base you should take him to the vet as these breaks can be more complicated. Tails that are broken at the base can cause nerve damage. Therefore, it is important to take your pup to the vet as soon as possible so he or she can assess the seriousness of the situation. Though most tail breaks are not that serious, your dog will need some extra loving care while his tail heals. For example, if your dog breaks his tail at the base he will not be able to lift it in order to go to the bathroom. Therefore, he will need your assistance. If your dog appears to be in pain, ask the veterinarian for some pain medication. Good luck!
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Cygstarz (author) from Maryland on August 01, 2014:
It would probably be a good idea to have a vet take a look at your dog's tail. If he is licking the area, then something is wrong. There may be an infection or it might be broken and not healing correctly. If possible, get your pup to a vet. Good luck!
Tammu on August 01, 2014:
My poor dog had his tail slammed in a door jam about 2 inches from his butt. No broken skin but heavy swelling. This was two months ago. Now he seems so irritated by it that he's licking the area all the time and now has pink rawness and chaffing from licking. What to do??
Cygstarz (author) from Maryland on September 02, 2013:
Danielle...does your dog yelp or "shy away" when you touch her tail? If so, I'd keep a close eye on it for the next day or so. If your can't wag its tail and is clearly in pain...I would probably take her to the vet.
Danielle on September 01, 2013:
My Pitt is 1 years old and I think she broke her tail or sprained it she doesn't seem to be in pain but she is acting weird. I don't know what to do its not at the base
osama on July 27, 2013:
hey friend i need your help i have German Shepard and today she met with an accident her tail is fractured . she is not lifting her tail up may i know how to cure it. and will it be fine
Cygstarz (author) from Maryland on March 23, 2013:
Emilie: First of all, thank you for your comment. The good thing is that your dog can still wag her tail. However, I would keep an eye on it for several days. Does she yelp when you touch her tail at the base (where it is attached to her body)? If she stops wagging her tail or if it looks limp and lifeless, then I would have her checked by a vet. Hopefully, her tail is simply bruised and will heal over the next week or two. Good luck!
Emilie on March 23, 2013:
I accidentally shut my puppies tail in the door she yelped loudly, im worried but she can still wag her tail, so I think its badly bruised how long does it take to he away
Mr. Solymos on March 14, 2013:
I fell on my 3mo old German Shepherd pups tail, blood everywhere. The first vet said the tail needs to be amputated, no blood supply to end of tail. Called the breeder, said I should get second opinion. Contacted: 'OAKLAND VETERINARY EMERGENCY CRITICAL CARE' This business in located in Bloomfield Hills MI. They said there's a 50% chance the tail could be saved. It was a ray of hope and a bunch of bull. All in all they charged me just over $3,000.00. The dogs tail had to be amputated 5 days later. These vets ripped me off and I'm sure others too. A tail amputation at MSU Veterinary School costs less than $800.00. This is the school these vets graduated from. Stay away from this business if you don't want your emotions played with and in the process get ripped off. This business preys on a pet lovers emotions.
puppylove on December 23, 2011:
After you guys took your dog to the vet for a broken tail at the base? what happened? what did the vet suggest?
Janet on December 18, 2011:
My lab had a run in with a skunk two days ago and now he seems to have a problem with the base of his tail, it is swollen and he won't wag it. It just hangs down. He yelps if he moves it the wrong way. He goes to the bathroom ok and his actions seem fine, but his tail is not fine. I think I have no choice but to take him to the vet since the injuries at the base seem to be the worse.....I think I may have raised his tail too high when I scrubbed him in the shower from being skunked, only thing I can think of that would have hurt him but didn't mean to do it of course. I feel horrible. Poor Gator dog.
Lindsey on April 17, 2011:
My dog is a black lab! She did something to her tale, it hurts her but she was wagging the whole thing so I am assuming that it isn't broken. Now that she figured out that her tale is the source of her pain she stopped wagging it and is sleeping. This article is very useful thank you! You appear to know quite a bit about dogs and this is great:)
Marcia on September 15, 2010:
My Springer broke her tail and I don't how. I am heart sick. We went to the Vet and he gave us Perdinsone. I will be sick if we have to remove her tail...
sharron on September 13, 2010:
my usually laid back mastif caught her tail in a slamming door boy did she yelp.
Cygstarz (author) from Maryland on June 15, 2010:
WichitaMommy: So sorry to hear about your Golden's tail troubles! Obviously, you will need to do what is best for your pup. Even though removing her beautiful tail sounds awful...it may be the best way to go. My Aussie doesn't have a tail...and she doesn't seem to mind :-) Good luck...and I hope your beautiful Golden has a long and happy life (with or without a tail!).
WichitaMommy on June 15, 2010:
Not sure how my 13 week old Golden Retreiver broke her tail but it is broken at the base. The vet is telling us that we either leave it and allow her to defecate on herself for the rest of her life or remove it. She's just a baby, I can't imagine the thought of removing her beautiful golden tail. I'm heartbroken over this!
Audrey Kirchner from Washington on March 21, 2010:
Terrible when you end up doing it yourself, huh? I hate that! I slammed my dog's neck in the van once and although he was fine, I was a basket case! Good hub and useful information - thankfully my 2 malamutes keep theirs curled neatly over their back - maybe they know what they are doing if they know me!
Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin, USA on March 20, 2010:
I have heard of broken tails before. Nice hub.