Does My Shih Tzu Have a Tail Injury?

by Merilyn
(Union City, CA)

My dog won't or can't raise his tail. There is no pain when I move it but he is not carrying it up. He was fine before the last grooming but he seems to be sluggish and won't raise his tail. going to the vet next week to check. Any one heard of this, let me know.


    Karen Says:

    Did the groomer trim his tail down. If so, they dont like the air on their butt too much.
    If the tail wasnt groomed are his anal glands full?

    it could be either one of those.
    Shihtzus are very sensitive to their tails being trimmed



      Our Answer

      Our reader Karen is right, some Shih Tzus have a real “thing” about the air blowing on their fuzzy little behinds. My guy Poe can hardly stand to take a walk if it’s windy outside; he’s constantly turning around to see what’s touching him and sometimes even growls at his own tail. We can laugh because we know it’s normal behavior for him and that there’s nothing wrong. But it sounds like this is a new situation for you and your furbaby so it’s understandable that you’re worried.

      A too-close shave on the bottom or around the private area may also cause a dog to hold his tail down as a way to keep cold air from assaulting his unmentionables. But what concerns me, Merilyn, is that you report your dog is also acting sluggish. That is a red flag for a tail injury.

      Blood flows all the way to the tip of a dog’s tail and an injury to the tail can be quite painful. It can be difficult to discern exactly where the tip is on a fluffy tailed dog like a Shih Tzu. To find the end gently grasp the tail close to the dog’s body and follow the firm rope-like ridge until you reach the end. Depending on how your Shih Tzu is groomed there may still be several inches of hair extending past the tip of the tail.


      Tail injuries are more common than you might think. Being bitten by another dog is the biggest cause of tail injuries but being stepped on or getting that long, flowing Shih Tzu tail caught in a door are also concerns. If your dog’s tail was injured you might notice swelling, drooping or that your dog won’t wag it as usual. Untreated injuries can become infected, and in the case of severe injuries, such as a break, complications can lead to full or partial amputation. If your dog appears to be in pain, won’t lift his tail while defecating or appears out of sorts a vet appointment is definitely the right action.

      In addition to seeing the vet, I would suggest speaking with your dog’s groomer. Is it possible your dog was accidentally injured or mistreated while with the groomer? I realize that’s an extremely serious matter and I wouldn’t suggest you accuse the groomer in any way, but telling the groomer about the dog’s problem and asking if he or she noticed anything unusual may lead to some helpful information. After speaking with the groomer, if you have even the smallest concern that your pet isn’t being taken care of properly find another groomer immediately. You don’t have to explain or defend your decision, just don’t go back.

      Merilyn we hope that everything is alright with your sweet Shih Tzu and that you’ll drop us a note when you find out what the problem is. Hopefully he is just another one of those quirky little guys who doesn’t like the wind blowing where the sun is not supposed to shine.

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