Why Do Pit Bull Tails Hurt So Much? 3 Injuries and How to Spot Them

A dog’s tail is a complicated structure of different-sized bones (the vertebrae), discs that cushion the space between the bones, muscles, and nerves.

This complicated structure allows the dog to control the movement of its tail and use it to express many emotions but especially excitement and happiness.

Why do Pit Bull tails hurt so much? Pit Bull tails hurt so much because they have been injured or suffering from a health problem. It’s hard to spot tails injuries in Pit Bulls because they won’t stop playing with their tails even when they’re in pain from the injury, which can eventually make the injury worse.

Even though tail injuries are very common in dogs like Pit Bulls, they are both preventable and curable if they’re properly identified. Let’s dig more into why Pit Bulls hurt their tail, the most common tail injuries, and how you can take care of your Pit Bull’s tail.

Why Do Pit Bull Tails Hurt So Much?

a photo of a pit bull to show why do Pit Bull tails hurt so much

Pit Bull tails hurt so much mainly because they have been injured or suffering from a certain health problem that affects their tails.

Since Pit Bulls are very energetic, they love playing, running around, and using their tails to playfully wack everything and everyone in their reach. This is all fun and games until they hurt their tails.

Unfortunately, tail injuries are very common in Pit Bulls, and it’s hard to spot these injuries because Pit Bulls won’t stop playing with their tail, even when injured. You need to keep a very close eye on them to spot such injuries.

So, let’s take a close look at the common tail injuries in Pit Bulls and how to spot them.

Common Tail Injuries in Pit Bulls and How to Spot Them

  • Abrasions: These are superficial scrapes on the tail that are usually caused by the dog wagging its tail against a rough surface or getting it caught under something. 
    • If you spot hair loss on the tail, reddened skin, or mild bleeding, then this is abrasion, and you need to clean the wound with mild soap and warm water. You can then wrap the tails and maybe use a soft cone on your dog so they won’t lick or remove the wrapping.
  • Lacerations: Lacerations are more severe wounds than abrasions. They are deeper wounds that cut through the skin and may affect the nerves, muscles, and bones. 
    • Lacerations will cause your dog’s tail to bleed heavily. Pit Bulls might not stop wagging their tail even when injured deeply, which might cause a bloody mess. What you need to do is wrap your dog’s tail in a towel to control the bleeding and take them to the nearest vet.
  • Degloving: This is one of the most severe tail injuries your dog can go through. Degloving is when the skin is totally removed, exposing nerves and underlying tissues. 
    • Minor degloving can be treated by cleaning the wound, wrapping it, and using a soft collar on your dog to keep it from licking the bandage. However, major degloving might require tail amputation.

There are many more specific kinds of tail injuries that your dog might suffer from, but these three can be a good place to start in order to learn to differentiate between the severity of the tail injury and the best way you can spot and treat it.

You can learn more about the kind of tail that Pit Bulls have here.

What Is the Happy Tail Syndrome?

Let’s now dive into a more specific, very common tail problem among dogs such as the Pit Bull, which is the happy tail syndrome. Do not let the name deceive you because the happy tail syndrome is anything BUT happy.

Let’s take a look at its causes, symptoms, treatments, and how to prevent it from happening in order to protect our dear Pit Bulls as much as we can.


Dogs love wagging their tails around when they are happy, and that’s where the name comes from. Pit Bulls are very energetic and exuberant dogs, and their tails are always wagging into surfaces, objects, and even people.

The happy tail syndrome is caused when the dog moves their tail around too hard and too much until they injure the tip. Short-haired dogs such as the Pit Bull are more likely to get happy tail syndrome because they don’t have enough fur on their tails to offer them extra protection against injuries.


Symptoms of happy tail injuries usually include raw, reddened, and irritated skin on the tip of the Pit Bull’s tail. In more severe cases, it may also include broken tail bones or damaged tendons.


If the wound is not too deep to cause heavy bleeding, then all you need to do is to clean it thoroughly and wrap it in bandages. You will also need to use a soft neck collar on your dog to keep it from licking the wounds, removing or biting the bandage, and further hurting themselves.

If the injury has cut deep into the skin, causing broken bones, or damaged tendons, then you will need to take your dog to a veterinarian. Depending on the severity of the injury, treatment can range anywhere from simple stitches to laser treatment to surgical amputation in worst-case scenarios.


Unfortunately, the happy tail syndrome can be chronic. Dogs who are already very energetic and move their tails too much around without caring what they hit them against, will probably keep getting happy tail syndrome every once in a while. 

The only thing you can do to help prevent further injuries is to keep a close eye on them. You obviously can’t bubble-wrap your entire house to keep your dog from getting injured, but you can make sure dangerous objects and hard rough surfaces are not easy to reach.

Knowing to expect happy tail injuries will also help you spot them early on and prevent your dog from making it worse.

Can the Happy Tail Syndrome Heal On Its Own? 

The happy tail syndrome can heal on its own if it’s superficial and does not damage bones or tendons. It’s better to always take a vet’s advice on whether the injury is small enough to let it heal on its own or if it’s better for your dog’s health to have it treated.

What Is Tail Tip Necrosis?

If the happy tail syndrome is treated immediately or in the right way, it may cause a furthermore dangerous disease known as tail tip necrosis. 

Tail tip necrosis is a multifactorial disease. It is originally caused by the constant wagging of the tail against hard or tough objects until severe hair loss is caused on the tip of the tail. The skin might also become very bloody, turn black in further stages, and have a foul smell. It is a kind of severe infection that the dog might obtain from injuring its tail.

In extremely severe cases, and if the dog isn’t immediately treated for tail tip necrosis, their overall health might be negatively affected, causing further damage to the dog. If you believe your Pit Bull might have tail tip necrosis, you need to immediately take them to the nearest veterinarian for treatment. 


A dog’s tail is very important for them. It is part of their body, and it’s their tool to express themselves and discover the world around them. But unfortunately, it can also be a major pain point for them. As their owner, you need to keep a very close eye on your dog’s overall health and especially the way they use their tails.

Dogs who get tails injuries such as happy tail syndrome usually get it often because they will never stop wagging their tails around. Happy tail syndrome might be chronic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take care of your dog.

Keep your eyes open and keep educating yourself about your dog’s health, and you will be able to avoid many injuries and treat your dog even if they get one.

This article has been reviewed and edited by a vet, but it doesn’t replace your own vet. Please see your vet for specific and trusted advice. This site DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE and all the information provided here is meant for informational purposes only.

Related Questions 

What to Do When Your Dog’s Tail Hurts?

When your dog’s tail hurts, check for injuries, especially on the tip of the tail. You need to check for signs like hair loss, irritated skin, reddening, or even cuts. If you do find a sign that indicates injury, make sure to clean the dog’s tail thoroughly and wrap it in bandages to help it cure. 

What Does It Mean When A Dog’s Tail Hurts?

When a dog’s tail hurts, it might mean that it just hit its tail too hard on something, or it might mean that it’s seriously injured. Keep an eye out on your dog; if you notice that it’s scratching, biting, or licking its tails too often, then its usually a telltale sign that it has injured its tails in some way or another.

Helpful Resources 

Happy Tail Syndrome

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