Skip to Content

Why Is My Dog’s Tail Swollen at the Base?

Whether you’re coming home from work or waking up in the morning, the sight of your dog’s tail wagging is always a welcome one. We may have difficulty understanding them from time to time, but we know they’re happy if their tail is moving like that.

Unfortunately, your dog’s tail is not immune from injury. You need to understand what those tail injuries mean so you can treat them properly. Learn more about a specific type of tail issue that is common among dogs by continuing with this article.

Why Is My Dog’s Tail Swollen at the Base?

While giving your dog their daily dose of pets, you may notice something strange about their tail. To be more specific, you may find that the base of their tail is swollen.

This unusual condition is one that will likely cause concern because you may have no idea where it came from. There are multiple possible explanations for it.

Fat Pads

It’s possible that the swelling you observed near the base of your dog’s tail isn’t actually swelling. Instead, they may be fat pads.

Your pet may specifically have perirenal fat pads. Perirenal fat pads are ones that grow close to the hips, but they may also form near your pet’s tail.

So, should you be worried if your pet now has perirenal fat pads? Well, yes and no.

You shouldn’t be worried because fat pads are not indicators that your dog is sick. On the other hand, those fat pads are indicators that your dog is getting out of shape. They may need to go on a diet if they have fat pads.


The swelling near the base of your dog’s tail could also be related to an issue more troubling than them putting on some weight. That’s because those lumps could also be tumors.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to spot the tumors very early. If your dog does have cancer, you can take action faster and treat it more effectively.

Limber Tail Syndrome

The swelling near the base of your dog’s tail could also be a symptom of a condition known as limber tail syndrome. It’s a condition that is also referred to at times as broken wag, cold water tail, or swimmer’s tail.

Aside from the swelling, there are other symptoms of limber tail that you can watch out for. For instance, the swelling is often accompanied by pain. Your pet may react defensively if you touch the swollen part of their body because of how painful it is.

Their tail will also be limp most of the time. The limpness may affect the entire tail or just most of it. They will also refrain from wagging their tail because doing so is painful.

A dog with a case of limber tail may also refrain from sitting down. That’s because sitting is likely uncomfortable for them.

Your dog may also pay more attention to their limber tail. They may lick or chew on their limber tail more frequently.

Other symptoms to monitor include lethargy, increased whimpering, and a loss of appetite. Simply put, your dog will be uncomfortable while they are dealing with limber tail.

What Are the Causes of Limber Tail Syndrome?

Limber tail syndrome is caused by an injury affecting a dog’s tail. The injury itself is often the byproduct of overexertion.

Your dog is more prone to injuring their tail when they are swimming in cold water. Because your dog is relying heavily on their tail to get balanced in the water, that part of their body is more likely to get injured.

Dogs that get too much exercise are also more susceptible to limber tail syndrome. The same holds true for dogs that are kept in crates for too long.

What to Do if My Dog’s Tail Is Swollen at the Base?

Let’s assume that the swelling near your pet’s tail is indeed a symptom of limber tail syndrome. How should you now go about treating that condition? Find out the answer by continuing below.

Allow Your Pet to Rest

The most important thing you can do if you’re trying to treat limber tail is to give your pet a chance to rest. Remember, dogs get limber tail because they are using that part of their body too much. Their tail will only get better if it can rest for a while.

Cut back on the amount of exercise your dog is getting so their tail can recover properly. You should also avoid keeping your dog in their crate while they are in the midst of recovering from their injury.

Create a Calm Environment for Your Dog

A wagging tail is often a sign that your dog is happy or excited. Ordinarily, the sight of that wagging tail is one that probably brings your great joy. However, a wagging tail can be problematic if your pet has limber tail syndrome.

To prevent your pet from getting injured further, you need to keep them nice and calm. Do what you can to create a relaxed environment around them so their tail doesn’t go into overdrive.

Apply Warm or Cold Packs to the Affected Area

Your pet is likely experiencing some level of discomfort due to the swelling near the base of their tail. Ease their discomfort by using a warm or cold pack.

Use the pack until the swelling subsides for a bit. Your dog will also be grateful for that bit of relief.

Give Your Dog Medication

If your dog is experiencing a significant amount of pain from their limber tail, the veterinarian may prescribe them some medication. Make sure you follow the vet’s instructions when giving your dog their meds.

When to See a Vet about a Dog’s Tail Being Swollen at the Base?

Taking action quickly is highly recommended if you notice swelling near the base of your dog’s tail. Bring them to the vet as soon as you can to confirm the specific issue they’re dealing with.

Since there’s still a possibility that the swelling is actually a tumor, you need to get that checked out immediately. Your pet can still benefit greatly from an early diagnosis even if they have limber tail syndrome.