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Ask Nancy: Happy Tail – What to do about bleeding tail tips that won’t heal!

March 8, 2010

To resolve this problem you need to control the tail so it has time to heal and re-grow the hair. This can be done a number of ways.  You typically need to do more than one thing to help with this.  For healing the tail tip up there are a few solutions and one of them may work for your dog.

One key thing is that you do not cover the sore area up but leave it open to the air to be easily treated with antibiotic ointment and so it stays dry to heal.

With fix method number one you put a bandage with ‘tails’ on it around the tail above the injured area. (A good bandage material for this is vet wrap but it can be done with gauze or cloth adhesive tape too.) You put this on so as to not cut off circulation and tie it off so it cannot clamp down more and cut circulation off in the tail.

You leave two long tails of bandage dangling from the tail and with those you make a loop around the upper thigh of the dog and tie it off loosely with a bow.

Now your dog’s tail is loosely attached to the upper thigh and this will allow the dog to move the tail for pottying without being able to bang it on the wall.

You can treat the exposed tail tip sores easily and using Neosporin or Triple Antibiotic ointment will soften the scab, promote healing and aid in hair re-growth.

Method two is also done above the area that is injured. You put a wide ring of material that is thick and soft around the tail and bandage it on. I’ve seen this done with a section of the ‘funnoodle’ pool toys which is a hard foam product. You slice the section of funnoodle in half make sure the hole in the center is big enough to go around the tail and bandage it onto the tail.

When this is in place the dog will still wag like crazy but the tail doesn’t hit the wall just the funnoodle does. Again the sore is open to be treated easily.

If you don’t have a funnoodle, foam rubber may work. You want something thick so the tail never hits the hard area just the protection does.

Method three you find a plastic bottle with a mouth opening large enough to go over the tail and cut the bottom off of it. Where you cut the bottle protect the sharp edges with a layer of tape. Slide the bottle up the tail making sure it covers the area that is sore. Tape the mouth of the bottle to the tail. Again wagging will only hit the bottle not the tail but treatment might be a little bit harder and wagging a bit noisier.

I’ve used the tie the tail to the upper thigh method with good success on Great Danes as I’ve never been sure I wanted to add a ‘weapon’ on a ‘tail of death’ that might be hitting me!

Once the tail is healed and the hair grows in you should try for as much softening of sharp edges around the house as you reasonably can do.

You can add corner protectors like are used for homes with toddlers to reduce repeat injuries.

You can limit the dog to being in rooms where there is only soft furniture and no hard corners too. Baby gates are pretty useful for that!

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One Response to Ask Nancy: Happy Tail – What to do about bleeding tail tips that won’t heal!

  1. akm on April 14, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Do you have any diagrams with the above procedures? We rescued a German Shepherd and have been trying to come up with a way to prevent wagging. Your solutions are great, but I am having a difficult time picturing the actual procedure. Thanks in advance, Anna

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