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My Dog Yelps When I Lift His Tail: Should I Visit a Vet?

Dogs yelp when they feel a sudden jolt of pain. If your dog is yelping when you lift his tail, it can be that his tail is injured or broken. It can also mean that your dog is feeling intimidated and does not want you to lift his tail.

Dogs can communicate with their tails. Their tail is a good indicator of how dogs are feeling. 

If your dog is not moving its tail and yelps when you lift it, there can be a major issue that requires your immediate attention.

There are many reasons why your dog is unable to move its tail. You should be aware of the most common problems to know what signs to look for.

This article explores the reasons why dogs yelp when someone lifts their tails and how to stop that from happening.

My Dog Yelps When I Lift His Tail

Dogs yelp for many reasons. The biggest reason your dog is yelping when you lift its tail is that the appendage is injured or broken. It can also be that they have a problem with their anal glands.

Dogs are playful animals. They like running, jumping, and even chasing their tails. Sometimes the play can be a bit rough, which can result in injuries.

A dog’s tail is a sensitive part of its body. It has about 4-7 nerve pairs for the tail muscles. An injury to their tails can make a dog yelp out of pain.

Dogs also yelp when they are trying to communicate something to their owners. It can be that they are suffering from constipation, and it hurts when you lift their tail.

lifting dog's tail

5 Reasons Dogs Yelp When You Lift Their Tails

Dogs yelp when you lift their tail because their tail is injured or they have the limber tail syndrome. It can also be that they are yelping due to a past uncomfortable experience involving their tail.

A dog’s tail is a great indicator of its mood. A wagging tail indicates a happy and confident dog, while a tail between the legs indicates a scared and intimidated dog. 

If you find your dog yelping when you lift its tail, there is something wrong. Here are some of the most common reasons why dogs yelp when you touch or lift their tails.


The biggest and the most obvious reason your dog is yelping when you lift its tail are injuries. Your dog is yelping because it hurts when they move their tails. Having someone else move their tail is even worse for them, especially when they have injuries.

A dog’s tail can get injured due to many reasons:

  • Rough play
  • Fights with other dogs
  • Biting their tails due to fleas
  • Fractures
  • Skin Infections

Other than these circumstances, your dog can also injure its tail if it falls from a great height. Having their tail smacked with a powerful force, such as shutting car doors with their tail in between, can also cause a tear in their tail muscles.

One big cause of tail injuries is happy dog syndrome. This condition occurs when dogs wag their tails too hard due to happiness and excitement. 

This rapid wagging of the tail results in tears and cuts on a dog’s tail. The “happy tail syndrome” is challenging to treat as dogs love waggling their tails, even if they are injured.

Lacerations and cuts are also common causes of injuries in tails.

Related: Dog Keeps Yelping Randomly

Common Symptoms of Flea Bites on Dogs

Anal Gland Problems

Dogs have two small glands right below the anus. The purpose of these anal glands is to secrete a chemical that serves as a mode of communication[1]. This chemical helps other dogs identify your dog from the other canines.

These glands usually secrete the liquid on their own. Sometimes, these organs do not empty out and make your dog uncomfortable. Your dog may bite the anal area and try to force the liquid to come out.

If the condition persists, these glands can become infected, which results in a lot of pain. A dog’s tail is connected to its anus. An infected anal area makes it painful for dogs to move their tail.

Here are some common signs of anal gland issues in dogs:

  • Foul smell from their anus
  • White liquid present around the anus
  • Dark patches of skin around the anus
  • Inflammation

Your dog may yelp if you forcefully try to move its tail as it gives them a jolt of pain. You should avoid touching their tail in this situation and visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.

dog Anal Gland Problems
Image Source

Limber Tail Syndrome

Another big reason why your dog yelps when you lift its tail is limber tail syndrome[2]. This condition affects the tail muscles of dogs and makes them limp. It is a temporary condition that usually affects working dogs.

The limber tail syndrome is caused by strenuous physical activities, cold weather, or when dogs are kept in confined spaces for long.

Acute caudal myopathy or limber tail generally resolves on its own. It affects a dog’s tail and makes it painful for them to move their appendage.

Limber Tail Syndrome


Dogs can also be yelping due to constipation[3]. Constipation does not directly impact a dog’s tail, but it can lead to some conditions that affect their tails.

If your dog is suffering from constipation, it will use a lot of energy to defecate. This can cause anal stress, which can impact the area where the tail attaches to the body. The resulting stress makes it painful for dogs to move their appendage.

Previous Bad Experiences

A dog’s mental state can influence its reaction to your advances. If your dog is scared, it can bury its head in you or yelp to let you know its fear.

If your dog has had past bad experiences with you lifting its tail, it may be reluctant to experience it again. Touching their tails forcefully or shouting at them can make dogs feel intimidated by their owners.

If you or someone else has hurt your dog’s tail before, your dog can be mistrusting towards people. Try building trust by gently approaching them to touch their tails.

Dog Previous Bad Experiences

How to Stop Dogs from Yelping When You Lift Their Tail

To stop your dog from yelping when you lift its tail, you need to identify what is causing your dog to yelp when you lift its tail. Get them checked by a veterinarian if it is caused by an injury. If they are doing so because of a previous bad experience, try regaining their trust before you lift its tail.

The first step when treating a dog’s behavior is to identify the root cause:

  • Is it an injury? 
  • Anal sac problem? 
  • Limber tail syndrome? 
  • Or something else?

Once you figure out the reason, the next step is to cure it.

In case of an injury, such as a fracture, you should visit a veterinarian. Small cuts and minor abrasions can be treated at home, but bigger problems such as tail bone fractures require medical and sometimes surgical care.

A limber tail syndrome can wear off on its own in a few days. If the condition persists for more than a week, a visit to the vet’s office is recommended.

If your dog has trust issues, you should try bonding with them to build that trust. A scared dog can feel intimidated even in the presence of its owners. Making your dog feel safe can help clear any distrust.

Ensure that your dog is fed a proper diet and is well cared for so you can lift their tail without hearing any yelping.


Yelping is a sign of pain and stress. If your dog is yelping when you are lifting its tail, the chances are that your dog has an injury in its tail. It can also be that your dog is afraid of your touch.

Identify what is causing your dog to yelp and solve the problem as soon as possible. If the issue is beyond your expertise, consult a veterinarian to get your dog the required treatment.


Why is My Dog Yelping for No Reason?

If your dog is yelping continuously, there is a possibility that they are in pain. This can be due to joint pain or injury. Yelping is your dog’s way of communicating with you. Find out what is bothering your dog and take steps to eliminate the stressor.

Related: Do Yelps When Picked Up: What To Do

Do Dogs Have Nerves in Their Tails?

Yes, dogs have nerves in their tails. These nerves allow them to feel their tails. Dogs will cry out in pain if you injure their tails.

Why Does My Dog Yelp When I Touch Him?

Your dog can be yelping due to several factors. It can be that they have an injury, or you are touching them in a place where their lymph nodes are swollen. Touch your dog gently and get them checked for any infections and injuries. 

About Dennis Stapleton

Dennis Stapleton has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and their relatives. He’s intrigued by their social structure and loves to write and teach about the world's most popular pet animal.

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