Pet Wellness Guides > Treating a Broken Dog Tail - Pet Insurance Review

Treating a Broken Dog Tail

Posted: 04/16/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Dog , Health problems , Pet care

Did you know that your dog’s wagging tail can convey a whole lot of emotions? Yes, when that tail gets a-wagging, we know they are happy and excited. But dog’s tails convey so much more information. Plus they are crucial for assisting with balance. So when their sweet tail gets broken, it can really impair their physicality and communication. Let’s dive into the topic of treating a broken dog tail so we can identify signs a tail is broken, common causes, and how these breaks can be fixed.

treating a broken dog tail

Anatomy of a Dog Tail

Your dog’s tail may seem very soft and bendable, but their tail is really an extension of their spine. Dogs typically have between six and 23 vertebrae (super flexible vertebrae) in their tail, depending on the size and breed of the dog. All of these vertebrae are surrounded by muscles that allow the tail to move up and down and all around at varying speeds. 

Common Causes of a Broken Dog Tail

Dogs break their tails in much the same way people break arms and legs: it’s usually the result of an accident. Some of the most common causes of broken tails in dogs are:

  • Tail getting caught in a door
  • Tail accidentally being stepped on or rolled over by a chair
  • Tail being pulled (avulsion)
  • Pet being struck by a moving object (like a car)
  • Striking tail against hard object
  • Pet suffering a bad fall

Signs of a Broken Dog Tail

There are several signs to watch for that indicate your pup might be dealing with a broken tail. Some signs are fairly obvious while others may be more subtle. Some of the most common signs of a broken tail include:

  • Holding the tail in an unusual position
  • Wagging the tail only to one side
  • Changes in your dog’s gait
  • Repeated licking or biting at the tail
  • Guarding the tail
  • A limp tail that hangs or droops
  • Inability to move the tail
  • Unusual whimpering or other vocalizations
  • Bleeding
  • Fur loss

The severity of broken tails really depends on where the break has occurred. What should also be mentioned is that broken tails are extremely painful, so if you suspect your dog may have broken its tail, do not hesitate in making an appointment with your vet to get your pup checked out.

Diagnosing & Treating a Broken Dog Tail

Your vet will perform a careful physical exam and most likely include a set of x-rays to determine the type of break and where exactly it is located. Depending on the severity of the break, your vet may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

Crate Rest

Often with simple less severe fractures, where the bones are still aligned all that’s needed is a bit of rest and quiet time. 

Splints | Casts

In other breaks it may be necessary to stabilize the fracture. A splint or cast will require weekly bandage changes by your vet.


In more serious cases, surgery will be required to realign the bones. In these cases, rods, plates, screws and wires are used to stabilize the fracture and hold the vertebrae in place. 


In the most severe cases, amputation is recommended to get your dog feeling healthy and pain-free again. The good news is, dogs can live a happy life and return back to normal quickly after amputation. 

Preventing Tail Injuries

Life happens and so do accidents. But there are things you can do to try to prevent your pup’s tail from being injured:

Check and Double Check

Door slams are one of the most common causes of a broken dog tail or dislocation. Before slamming that car door shut, always check to make sure your dog’s tail is nowhere near it. 

Be Gentle When Moving Your Dog’s Tail

If there is ever a reason for you to need to examine your dog’s tail (bug bite, it’s dirty, etc.) always move the tail from side to side. Do not aggressively lift it up.

Teach Your Children Well

Kids must be taught to be gentle with animals. Very little ones don’t understand the harm they can cause. Always supervise interaction and as your children or grandchildren grow, help them learn to be gentle.

Watch That Office Chair

These days, many of us are working from home. And our dog’s love being right there with us during the work day. Before rolling that office chair back, make certain your pup is nowhere near it.

Enroll Your Pup into a Pet Insurance Plan

No matter how prepared you think you are, life has a way of throwing you a curveball. One minute your pup is well and the next, you’re in the ER looking at a vet bill for surgery to fix that broken tail. 

Pet insurance plans are often far more affordable than many people think, customizable, and better yet, give you peace of mind when you and your fur baby need it most.

Interested in who the top providers are? Here is a current ranking based on over 150,000 authentic reviews from real pet parents just like you.

Top Pet Insurance Providers of 2024

RatingProviderTotal Review
4.9Healthy Paws7,477
4.8Prudent Pet125
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4.3Pet Assure12






The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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