Guest Blogger: Tail Muscles

So I write this on the other side of Happy Tail Syndrome (HTS) and I am so glad to be there. If you are fortunate enough to have never suffered HTS, you won’t know my pain, or the pain of other overly happy and friendly dogs. This syndrome is also known as Kennel Tail, and it is an injury dogs with longer, thinner tails fall victim to regularly. Essentially, our tails get away from us. Our excitement is so overwhelming that we can’t make our tails stop that incessant flinging about that they do, and next thing we know, we’ve sprained a muscle, or even worse yet, cut the end of our tail. Frequently, my Labrador sisters and brothers fall victim to this malady, and rarely do my shorter brethren, the Corgis or other similarly docked canines. While I do not under any circumstances think that tail docking is an acceptable practice, I can absolutely say that there were times over the past few days when I would have gladly undergone the surgery just to be shut of the pain from my stupidly happy tail. But I have to say that the medicine Laura gave me (Vet’s Best Aspirin Free Aches and Pains Dog Supplements, Natural Formula) was most helpful, and muted the pain so that I could rest and thus recover my previously overly-ebullient tail behavior very quickly.

When dogs develop HTS, it comes about through overly-vigorous and frequent tail-wagging. I will be honest and tell you that we don’t always realize just how out of control those things get. They get started and they can be like a perpetual motion machine: always running. So our tails get away from us and we bang them on something: furniture, the inside walls of a kennel, or just the walls of the house. Truly, it doesn’t matter what it is that we whack with our tails, just that we whack something without thinking about the repercussions from repeated whacking. Some unfortunate owners are even met at the door by dogs who developed HTS in their absence at work, and of course, as a result, it looks like Dexter lives there (what, you thought a dog couldn’t watch TV? I am partial to Downton Abbey, and am a huge fan of Pharoah and Isis).

It’s just me face…

So I developed HTS, and spent a few days exercising my Pathetic Muscle. I find that when I look particularly sad and pitiful (easy for me, as I have that Boxer/Ringo Starr look pretty much perfected…I’m the one on the right), I am able to wheedle quite a few treats out of Laura.

She’s a soft touch. She can’t help it. But my tail drooped in a magnificently depressing manner, even for me, and so we didn’t go for a run during my days of suffering.

I did, however, get to enjoy lounging on Laura’s very comfy purple blanket (ooooh, soft. Cozy. Warm.) on the days when I was out of sorts.

Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done to treat Happy Tail Syndrome, because it’s just a muscle condition or a skin condition, versus something more serious. So give your pup some pain meds (prescribed or OTC, but NEVER give your dog human medication) and just let her sleep off her injury. It’s unpleasant, but as far as long lasting, it’s not. I was over it within 3 days, tops, and really, I think I rode that Treat Wave a little longer than I should have.

I think Laura will be back soon to write more about her plans for our training. I know that she is planning something formal, more formal than what we’ve been doing, which has been “Hey, let’s go for a run,” and then we run. But I’m not sure what she has in mind. But I can tell, she has a plan. I hope it’s a good one. With lots of running in it.