It is important to repeatedly share articles and information on signs that a docked tail dog is suffering due to the docking. A dog's tail is so important, and aids in every aspect of their life, from communication to balance to healthy & successful bowel function, so there are all kinds of symptoms and behaviors that are associated with a dog who is suffering from docked tail pain and discomfort. One of my most recent posts again highlights 10 signs of docked tail pain in a dog. It is so important to keep sharing this information. Right now I want to focus on how to help your pet deal with and get through the pain, discomfort and challenges that docked tail dogs can experience.
7 Ways to Help a Dog with Docked Tail Pain
Here are just a few things you can do to help ease the stress from the stabbing and stinging nerve pain of a docked tail dog:
2. Put a sweater or t-shirt on the dog. Amazingly, clothing deters Pixel from biting at her tail most of the time. If this does not prevent chewing or biting, a blow up neck collar works great at protecting your dog's tail from your dog's mouth. It allows the dog much more freedom to move, eat and play (if they feel like it during a flair up) than a conventional "E-collar" which gets caught on walls, corners, and limits your dog's field of view.
3. Help your dog snuggle into a comfy bed and gently wrap them in a blanket if possible. Have blankets or throws in various places that they can burrow under if that is something they like. Pixel has always felt that a "cave-like area" under a blanket was a safe place during tail pain. I am always making blanket caves for her or covering her up. If she wants out, she can get out. She usually just gets lulled to sleep in a cocoon of warmth.
4. Sit and comfort them by petting them, stroking a cupped hand over the butt and tail nub area. This helps Pixel feel as though I am "protecting" the tail nub I think. Sometimes I will literally sit while watching TV with her or when we go to sleep and night, with my hand covering her tail nub gently. I find I do that out in public too when she's in her special carrier, to protect it from being bumped.
5. Talk to your vet about your concerns. There are medications and supplements that can help. For example, Pixel is on Neurontin for the nerve pain and a drug free supplement called 'Composure' that has Colostrum, the natural occurring hormone that puppies get from their mother when nursing. I feel this has helped her just in general with the anxiety of her tail issues and I remember seeing a marked difference in her on the very first day. Pixel also takes Valerian Root in a supplement called "Calming" which has Triptophan and Chamomile in it as well. Valerian is highly regarded as a nerve pain reducer. It seems to benefit Pixel daily.
6. Be understanding, slow to anger and quick to forgive when your docked tail dog has bathroom accidents, even when they go in a seemingly odd and highly inappropriate place. Whether they are paper trained inside or are yard trained, there will be times when they cannot hold it, or might run from their bowel movements due to pain, distress or discomfort. So, for example, if they are paper trained, and you find a rogue log on the rug or hassock, they might have just been running away from a BM and it fell at the wrong spot. A rug, or furniture is not nearly as important as understanding the suffering that some docked tail dogs must endure. We can always wash something, but having a dog that always feels punished will only make their situation worse. They cannot help what they are dealing with.
7. Corrective surgery is an option, and one that we chose for Pixel when all else seemed to fail. We had tried every other avenue, but she only got worse and worse. As my precious Pixel's personality and quality of life was disappearing, surgery gave her a much better quality of life. She still has pain, still has some of the issues mentioned in the list of symptoms, but she is infinitely better now than she was before the surgery in 2012.
*When you talk with your vet about your concerns regarding your docked tail dog's issues, make sure they take you seriously. If you feel dismissed in any way, find another vet. Your dog's needs, feeling and suffering is real, it is valid and they deserve to be addressed.
Do you have particular things you do to help your dog get through painful times, whether from tail docking or something else? We'd love to have you share your experience in a comment!