Why Is My Dog’s Tail Swollen At The Base?

correct answerThe Short Answer is:

It could be nothing or it could be something serious. Pure and simple overexertion is one of the primary causes of your dog’s tail looking a bit swollen. Too much wagging is also a cause of swollen tails.

In this research you will know the answer to the query “Why Is My Dog’s Tail Swollen At The Base?“.

When you walk through the door and your dog greets you with a wagging tail it is one of the best parts of the day. 

How do you deal with a pet that does not seem too excited to see you when you return home?

As you pat the dog on the back and ask yourself what is wrong you notice the base of his tail is swollen. 

Can you tell me whats wrong with my dog? Is he in danger? 

Certainly not.

Many reasons can cause a dogs tail to become swollen at the base and most are not serious.

Although the pain might be severe for the dog you should do something about it.

Heres everything you need to know about dog tail problems.

Why is the Base of My Dogs Tail Swollen?

It could be nothing or it could be something serious. Pure and simple overexertion is one of the primary causes of your dogs tail looking a bit swollen. Too much wagging is also a cause of swollen tails.

A Leger tail is a condition in which the tail is limber.

Learn everything you need to know about this unpleasant but easily treatable condition.

Its up to the vet to tell whether the swelling is benign or malignant however if it is more like a lump.

A tumor of this type is rare however.

In addition the swelling might be merely fat tissue again not very serious.

Are there any other symptoms apart from swelling?

It is not unusual for pet owners to report that their dogs tail swollen at base and itchy.

A skin condition such as an allergy triggered by parasite infestation indicates this is a completely different problem.

Look for rashes in the tail area. An infected dog may lick his tail raw and some swelling is to be expected.

If you want to see that tail wagging again you should see a veterinarian and treat its flea problem.

In addition look for wounds that may indicate a recent trauma such as a nasty fall or a car accident. 

Leger tail is what it sounds like. How does it happen?

Limber tails are also called swimmers tails cold water tails or dead tails.

There are many names for this condition since it can be triggered by many different factors.

If you get home you’ll notice the dog does not seem happy and theres very little tail wagging if any. 

The tail of the dog hangs limp between its hind legs. Furthermore touching the dogs tail might cause him pain and he will react angrily.

Check out some of the most common causes of the limber tail.


Too much exertion causes a lumber tail.

Especially if the water is cold dogs who swim too much might develop the condition.

In swimming dogs use their tails as rudders which can result in muscular strain.

When your dog is stressed the ligaments in his tail are compromised which explains why he does not wag as much. 

If the dog is not properly trained and conditioned it can also appear after strenuous physical exercise.

This is one of the most common problems hunting dogs face at the beginning of the season.

The same thing may happen when you take your dog for a long walk on difficult terrain even if you do not go hunting.

The dog cannot sit around the house all day and then expect to be in good condition when you take him on a hike.

Tails are used by dogs to balance themselves so excessive movement can cause nerves and blood vessels at the base of the tail to be damaged resulting in pain and swelling. 

The tails of dogs that are excessively excited can also be injured if they are unable to control their enthusiasm so if you know your dog gets overly excited try teaching him to calm down.

Improper crating

The dogs tail is swollen at the base can happen if confined for an extended period of time.

A small crate that does not allow the dog to move or get into a comfortable position tends to cause this.

A tail that is forced into an unnatural position or is pressed against a crates wall can cause nerve damage and swelling.

Cold weather

Dogs that are older tend to be more sensitive to weather changes and have a lower tolerance for cold.

Old dogs have swollen tails that hang flaccid between their legs so do not be surprised if you see them with flaccid tails at the base.

What are the breeds more prone to limber tail?

Sport and hunting dogs are more likely to suffer from limber tails than any other breed.

After vigorous physical activity these breeds are more likely to end up with limp tails:

  • There are two golden retrievers
  • Adviser on labrador retrievers
  • Beagle
  • Setter or Pointer in English
  • Foxhound

How should a limber tail be treated?

Obviously if your dogs tail is swollen after a vigorous day of play the obvious thing to do is to let it rest. You do not need to take your dog to the vet unless you find any potentially worrying symptoms other than swelling. 

If the dog is in pain he will appear a bit lethargic and would not be interested in jumping around.

Let him rest comfortably in his bed bring his food and water closer and do not interfere with him.

Warm pads can also alleviate pain when applied to the affected area. Do not put any additional pressure on an already sore spot by touching his tail too much. 

As for pain medications you should be very careful since many human over-the-counter medications including Tylenol and Advil are toxic to dogs. 

Pain and inflammation can be treated with aspirin which is generally considered safe for dogs.

Nonetheless you should discuss the proper dosage with your veterinarian. 

For dogs between 10 and 20 pounds 100-200 mg of aspirin or half a tablet intended for adults is generally safe.

Labrador Retrievers weighing 40-60 lbs can take up to 300-600 mg of aspirin (1-2 tablets).

Short-term use of aspirin is not recommended due to its potential for causing gastrointestinal problems and bleeding.

What are the other main types of injuries that dogs get to their tails? 

A limp tail is one of the main symptoms of a limber tail but there are other problems that can cause sensitivity and swelling. 


It is possible for a dog to fracture or dislocate its tail by banging it against furniture and this can cause some swelling.

It isnot much you can do if the dogs tail is fractured or dislocated.

When the tail is fractured heavy bandages are needed to keep it immobile but this is not possible.

Bandaging the base of the tail is nearly impossible so you’ll need to wait for it to heal on its own. 


It is common for dogs to go after each others neck in a fight and they will bite whatever part they can grab including the tail.

You can disinfect bite wounds and apply an antiseptic ointment to prevent infection if your dog seems to have problems with his tail. 

Angular glands impacted

The vet has to express the anal glands of your dog and your dog hates it but its necessary. Your dogs anal glands could become impacted if he hasnot had the procedure for a while causing him a lot of discomforts.

Intervertebral disc disease

If your dog no longer wags his tail like he used to you should also consider intervertebral disc disease.

Dogs that are old or that have recently been injured are particularly at risk for developing this condition.

For example spinal trauma and nerve damage may not be apparent immediately after a car accident.

Although your dog might require surgery to reduce nerve compression anti-inflammatory medication pain relief and plenty of rest might be able to help. 

Tail cancer

It is rare for dog cancers to develop at the base of a dogs tail but if you find a lump have it checked out by your veterinarian.

In the tail perianal adenomas can cause swelling.

It is estimated that 80% of all tumors in the perianal area are benign and have a good chance of being surgically removed.

Because they are more common in intact dogs your vet may also recommend castration.

How can you prevent a limber tail?

Increasing your dogs stamina and endurance will solve the problem if the problems are caused by physical exertion.

He should increase the length and intensity of his physical exercise sessions.

Introduce him to longer walks at a safe place as well as more physical games as part of his daily routine. 

If your dog needs to be created get him a large crate that allows him to move around more freely.

You should also make sure the dog gets plenty of exercises when you get home.

You will be able to take him swimming or hiking without having to worry about him getting sprained. 


There is nothing more frustrating than when a dog loses his wag. It is important for you but even more so for the dog.

With rest warm pads and pain relievers he will recover from the limber tail caused by excessive wagging or intense exercise. 

You should take your dog to the veterinarian if he does not get back to his old tricks in a few days and if his tail does not wag again. Problems can sometimes be caused by a fracture or another type of injury. 

Donot panic if you notice a lump around the base of his tail.

The tumor might be cancerous but that does not mean your dog has it. Tumors in this area are usually benign and can be treated easily. 

If you want to read more about dog health tips read here: Dog Health Tips and Tricks.

Why My Dog’s Tail is Swollen At The Base? (Watch Video)

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