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Why Your Dog Is Licking Its Tail Base!

If your dog is licking its tail base a lot, you are probably feeling concerned and wondering whether there is something wrong and whether you need to take action.

This behavior can be unwanted, particularly if you have guests visiting, but it is not something that you should scold your dog for, as licking is often a sign of discomfort or injury, and is just an attempt to clean the area and relieve the pain or pressure.

Make sure you pay attention to persistent licking and check whether there’s an issue.

Excessive licking can be the result of several different issues and while it might not be the pleasantest part of your dog’s body to need to inspect, you should check what’s going on and whether your dog is suffering from some problem.

There may be irritation, inflammation, a flea infestation, or a problem with the dog’s anal glands, and all of these will need you to resolve the issue.

Don’t ignore washing if it becomes persistent or urgent; you need to either handle the problem yourself or get your dog to a vet so that they can find out what the matter is.

Most problems will be very easily resolved by a good vet, so book an appointment and get your dog attended to swiftly.

Why Is My Dog Licking Its Tail Base?

Your dog may be licking its tail base for several different reasons, such as a flea infestation, inflammation or irritation from soap that has not been washed away properly after the last bath, worms, or an issue with the anal glands not secreting properly.

All of these may prompt your dog to wash that area heavily, because it will be itchy or uncomfortable, and the dog is trying to relieve the discomfort in the only way that it can.

If you think your dog may have fleas, it’s a good idea to treat it promptly, as these will often cluster around the anus and can cause this kind of washing.

Speak to your vet if you need to get a flea treatment, or purchase one locally and treat your dog on a regular basis, especially if you walk in natural areas with more risk of fleas. You should also regularly treat your dog for worms, as these could be very harmful to its health, and may cause intense washing around the rectum.

A very common problem that causes this kind of washing in male dogs is the anal glands not properly secreting the liquid that they hold, and thus becoming full and uncomfortable. If this happens, you may need to get a vet to express the glands, or learn how to do it yourself.

How Can I Stop My Dog Licking Its Tail Base?

The best way to stop your dog from licking its tail base is to identify the cause of the issue and then resolve it as quickly as possible.

You should inspect the area and see if you can work out what the problem is yourself, as there may be an easy at-home solution to certain issues.

Bathing your dog and treating it for fleas and worms is a good starting point that may help to reduce the licking and make the dog more comfortable.

If the issue is not immediately obvious, you might wish to book an appointment with a vet so that you can get some advice on what’s wrong.

The vet should be able to check the dog’s anal glands and if there is an issue with them, show you how to resolve this yourself in the future (if you would like to) to prevent further discomfort.

The vet can also check for other problems at the same time, ruling out any major issues that may be causing pain in that area.

You should not try to stop your dog from licking the base of its tail without addressing the underlying cause, as this is not fair to the dog if it is uncomfortable.

Scolding your dog and trying to stop it from washing is both unkind and unlikely to work, as the dog will still be feeling discomfort, and its instincts will tell it to wash that area to try to relieve the sensation.

Should I Be Worried If My Dog Is Licking Its Tail Base?

Usually, washing will be a sign of a reasonably easy to treat issue, and there is no need to be seriously concerned if your dog is licking its tail base, unless there is blood or other issues are also appearing.

In general, you should be able to resolve this kind of licking simply by giving your dog a bath to remove any irritants from the skin, treating it for fleas and worms, and checking that its anal glands are okay.

However, if the washing persists and you aren’t sure what’s causing it, you should make sure that you take the dog to see a vet.

Although the issue may be minor, it’s better to get it checked and ensure that there’s nothing more serious going on.

Licking is rarely a sign of more than discomfort, but in some cases, it could be a behavioral problem or indicative of a bigger issue, so make sure you get this checked if you are unsure.

A good vet should be able to check for any issues with the dog’s anus, and may be able to identify less common issues that could be having an impact on the dog’s behavior too.

If the problem persists, keep following it up with the vet until you get a resolution, as ongoing licking does indicate that something is wrong.


A dog licking its tail base is usually trying to resolve some issue that is making it uncomfortable, whether this is worms, fleas, skin irritants, or overly full anal glands. If you are worried about your dog’s behavior, check how its skin looks, treat it for both worms and fleas, and organize for it to see a vet as soon as possible. This should resolve the behavior before it becomes habit forming, and will make your dog more comfortable.