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Limber tail is a condition that can affect dogs, in which the tail becomes limp, weak, or immobile.
It is also known as “cold water tail,” “swimming tail,” or “broken tail.”
When your dog has limber tail, he will have difficulty wagging it and he will also have some soreness or tenderness all around the tail.
As a consequence, the tail will droop or drag.
Limber tail is usually caused by a strain or sprain of the dog’s tail either due to overuse or an injury from swimming, climate changes, excessive exercise with improper conditioning, overexposure to cold weather, or prolonged confinement in a crate.
How to Treat Limber Tail At Home
For the most part, limber tail can resolve itself if left alone.
However, it can be quite painful and uncomfortable for the dog, so it is better to try to treat it as soon as you notice it.
Also, depending on the type of injury, it may not resolve itself without some remedy.
Here are some simple steps you can take to treat limber tail at home.
I. Keep Your Dog Warm and Dry
Keeping your dog warm and dry is important for limber tail because cold temperatures and wet conditions can contribute to muscle and ligament damage in the tail.
When your dog is exposed to cold water or cold air for an extended period, their muscles can become stiff and prone to injury.
Similarly, if your dog’s tail becomes wet and stays wet for a prolonged period, it can lead to inflammation and discomfort.
By providing your dog with a warm, dry environment, you can help to reduce the risk of muscle and ligament damage in the tail and promote healing.
This can include providing a warm, dry place for your dog to rest, drying your dog thoroughly after swimming or exposure to cold water, and protecting your dog from cold temperatures and wet conditions as much as possible.
II. Provide Plenty of Rest
Providing your dog with plenty of rest can help to reduce stress on the affected muscles or ligaments in the tail and promote healing.
When your dog is resting, their body can focus on repairing any damaged tissue and getting back to normal functioning.
Limiting your dog’s physical activity while they are recovering from limber tail can also help to reduce the risk of further injury or inflammation.
This can include keeping your dog from running, jumping, or playing as much as they normally would, and avoiding activities that involve a lot of movement or strain on the tail.
III. Heat Therapy
Applying heat to the affected area can be helpful for limber tail because it can help to increase blood flow to the affected muscles or ligaments in the tail.
This increased blood flow can provide essential nutrients and oxygen to the damaged tissue, which can promote healing and reduce inflammation.
Heat therapy can also help to relax tight or sore muscles, which can alleviate discomfort and improve flexibility in the tail.
To apply heat therapy to your dog’s limber tail, you can use a warm compress, a heating pad set to a low setting, or a warm water bottle wrapped in a towel.
Place the heat source on the affected area for 15-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
IV. Massage the Tail
Massaging the tail can be helpful for limber tail because it can help to loosen up any tight or sore muscles or ligaments and alleviate discomfort.
Massaging the tail can also help to increase blood flow to the affected area, which can provide essential nutrients and oxygen to the damaged tissue and promote healing.
To massage your dog’s tail, gently rub your hands over the affected area in a circular motion, applying gentle pressure as you go.
You can also try gently stretching the tail in different directions to help loosen up any tight muscles or ligaments.
V. Use a Protective Wrap
A protective wrap can provide support to the tail and reduce stress on the affected muscles or ligaments.
This can help to alleviate discomfort and improve flexibility in the tail.
A protective wrap can also help to keep the tail warm and dry, which can promote healing and reduce inflammation.
To wrap your dog’s tail, you will need a bandage or wrap that is long enough to go around the tail and secure it in place.
However, make sure the wrap is not too tight and that your dog can move comfortably.
Does Limber Tail Heal On Its Own?
Although limber tail is a painful and comfortable condition, vets consider it a benign condition that doesn’t need their attention.
This is because a little R & R is typically all that is needed for your dog to make a quick recovery.
Granted, there are some situations where the tail injury may be severe, so be sure to consult your vet if it doesn’t heal within a couple of days.
How Long Does It Take For Limber Tail To Heal?
As long as the dog has plenty of rest, limber tail should heal within a couple of days (not exceeding a week).
If it persists beyond one week, then there is a need to worry and you should probably get your dog examined by a veterinarian.
Also, if your dog is in severe pain, the vet can prescribe some painkillers to help with the pain as your dog recuperates.
Do I Need To Go To The Vet For Limber Tail?
For the most part, you can treat limber tail at home without the intervention of a veterinarian.
However, there are two situations when you should take the dog to the vet.
The first is if the limber tail causes your doggy to be in excruciating pain.
The extreme pain may make him unable to sleep and also affect his appetite, so it is best to get something for the pain – which the vet can prescribe after an examination.
Secondly, you should take your dog to the vet if the limber tail refuses to heal on its own after a week.
This could indicate a more serious injury that needs treatment.
Otherwise, just stick to the home remedies suggested above and your dog should be fine.
How to Prevent Swimmers Tail in Dogs
Even though swimmers tail is mostly caused by accidents, it is still possible to take some precautionary steps that will help prevent it.
For starters, you may want to avoid exposing your dog to cold water or cold temperatures for an extended period.
If your dog gets wet, e.g. after a good swim, ensure that you dry him thoroughly because you do not want the tail to stay wet for extended periods.
It is also a good idea to provide your dog with a dry place for your dog to rest, especially after extended exposure to cold water.
Because swimmers tail can happen due to excessive exercise, it is a good idea to limit your dog’s physical activity.
However, this doesn’t mean that you turn your furry baby into a couch potato—they still need plenty of exercise and play for a healthy life. Just don’t overdo it.
Finally, consider using a protective wrap or bandage on your dog’s tail after swimming or exposure to cold water to provide support and reduce stress on the affected muscles or ligaments.
By following these steps, you can help to reduce the risk of limber tail in your dog and promote healing if your dog does develop limber tail.
In summary, it is possible to treat limber tail at home with a couple of home remedies that will alleviate the pain as well as help your dog heal faster.
These include heat therapy, massage, providing plenty of rest, and keeping your dog warm and dry.
Limber tail is a benign condition, so you can expect to heal in under a week.
However, some cases may need the intervention of a vet, so if the condition doesn’t resolve after seven days, get in touch with your vet for help.
Sable M. is a canine chef, professional pet blogger, and proud owner of two male dogs. I have been an animal lover all my life, with dogs holding a special place in my heart. Initially, I created this blog to share recipes, tips, and any relevant information on healthy homemade dog treats. But because of my unrelenting passion to make a difference in the world of dogs, I have expanded the blog’s scope to include the best information and recommendations about everything dog lovers need to know about their canine friends’ health and wellbeing. My mission now is to find the most helpful content on anything related to dogs and share it with fellow hardworking hound lovers. While everything I share is in line with the latest evidence-based veterinarian health guidelines, nothing should be construed as veterinary advice. Please contact your vet in all matters regarding your Fido’s health.