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Terri Riba
Terri Riba, Healthcare Expert
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 32666
Experience:  Expert in canine health and behavior. 20 years of experience with dogs
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My dogs tail is hanging down, and will not go back up. However,

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My dog's tail is hanging down, and will not go back up. However, he's acting and behaving normally, but his tail just isn't going up. What should I do?

Hi there,


How long is his tail like this?


Has he been swimming?


Is he passing normal stools?





Customer: replied 7 years ago.
1) The tail's only been like this maybe a day or so, two at the most.
2) He has not been swimming.
3) Last I saw yes he has been.

Dear friend


I am sorry your boy has this trouble.


It may be his anal sacs or it could be a sprain called Cold Tail.



Please compare your babys tail to these photos: SOURCE

I printed this for you:

Cold water tail," "limber tail syndrome," "broken tail," "dead tail," "broken wag" are all euphemisms for a relatively common occurrence in sporting dogs. The tail of the dog hangs down from the tail base or is held horizontal for three or four inches and then drops down. A flaccid tail episode appears to be a painful, but relatively benign affliction that can occur after swimming, after a heavy hunting day or even after a bath with cold water or water that is too warm. It is not always associated with swimming or water, but can happen after a heavy day of work that involves a lot of tail action. The majority of limp tail cases have been reported in sporting dogs or hounds -- Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Setters, Pointers, Flatcoats, Foxhounds and Beagles are the breeds frequently named. Almost all dogs that suffer through an occurrence return to normal within a few days. Affected dogs may or may not have a repeat incidence during their lifetime. [It is this author's experience that symptoms will repeat in the same animal and can be trigged by something as simple as a cold water bath.] This affliction has been described by the layman as a "sprain," fibrosis or a "cold in the tail." The affected dog is miserable at the onset and the tail is painful. If neither the dog owner nor the veterinarian is familiar with this condition, it can be disturbing

Here is the rest of the link: SOURCE


If it is a sprain it will heal without treatment.


If its his anal sacs they may need to be emptied. Any vet or groomer can do it for him



If he develops any abdominal pain, bloating, constipation or cannot keep anything down he needs to be seen by a vet.


Please let me know how he is doing. I will always be here for you


I hope your baby feels better very soon..

Best wishes,


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thanks you diagnosing this, what's the best course of action to go about treating this? Should I just let him rest? Should I go to the vet? Should I just let him sleep?

As long as he is eating and does not seem in pain you can give it another day or so to heal up.


Apply warm compresses to the base of his tail on his back..


If he has any trouble with his movements, anal sacs or seems in pain it is best to have his vet check him out.


Please let me know how he is feeling.


Best wishes for him,



Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I just took him outside, he's able to squat but not totally sit down. It's been very rainy and cold up in the Northeast the past few days, so do you think that might be the reason? He just took a good drink of water, but turned down a piece of my mother's bagel and opted to lay down instead. Is this a good or bad sign?

It does sound like cold tail but if he was unable to sit I would have him seen today so you dont end up in the expensive ER with a sick dog.

It is always best to err on the side of caution with a beloved furkid because you can never turn back the clock.


I hope he will be just fine.




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