Surely you have noticed their movements, their color, their size… But, do you know what the function of a dog’s tail is? For them it is a very significant part of their body, so take note of the utilities it has for dogs.
How is the tail of dogs?
The dog’s tail is the most posterior appendage of the vertebral column, extending beyond its body.
It is true that not all dogs have a long tail, there are those that have a shorter tail due to breed and others are cut at birth for pure aesthetics (something that luckily is already prohibited in many places).
Your best friend’s tail can be made up of between 6 and 23 mobile vertebrae. These vertebrae are covered by a versatile musculature, which, in turn, contains several segments (especially at the tip) that are capable of movement. These are the ones that allow the furry to move its tail from one side to the other, raise it or hide it between its hind legs.
This flow of muscles is located between the lumbar vertebrae, the sacrum and the tail vertebrae, exerting pressure only in this area of the animal’s body. These muscles are attached, in turn, to the vertebrae by tendons and these to the last of the vertebrae.
Part of the musculature mentioned is formed by muscles that are associated with the anus, the rectum and the pelvic diaphragm. Between 3 and 7 nerves are related to these tail muscles.
Given the physiological characteristics of the dog’s tail, let’s see, now, what its functions are.
Functions of the dog's tail
The end of the tails of dogs is very varied. Let’s see some of its functions.
Without a doubt, this is one of the most well-known functions of the dog’s tail.
These animals know how to use the movements of their tail to express how they feel. For example, if they move energetically to the sides, it is clear that they are very happy.
If they hide it between their legs, it means they are scared and feel insecure, but if the animal also has its back slightly curved upwards, it could be a sign of an imminent attack.
For its part, if the tail is positioned parallel to the ground, it means that something has totally captured its attention.
In addition, the movement of the tail is usually related to the degree of nervousness of the dogs. When they move more slowly it is a sign that they are relaxed. If they are quick and short movements it means that the dog is tense.
Keep the balance
In case you didn’t know, cat whiskers help cats maintain their balance. Well, the tail of dogs also provides dogs with this ability.
Being a continuation of their spine, it is very necessary when they perform some movements, such as turning or jumping.
Your faithful friend’s tail muscles are also important for stabilizing his spine and supporting muscle action, as well as his rump and rear.
We must also mention the case of dogs that like water and swimming, since they usually have strong, thick and very flexible tails that serve as a rudder.
Communication with other dogs
Another of the functions of the dog’s tail is to communicate with its peers. How do they do that? Very easy: through the spread of its scent.
The dog’s anus has two small glands on each side. These glands are filled with a liquid whose scent is unique to each dog.
When it secretes the liquid in the defecation, it is as if it were to recognize itself through the poop. But, in addition, the movements of the dogs’ tails can help to spread that smell, since they work like the blades of a fan.
Thanks to the tail, dogs are able to better understand the width of spaces, which helps them to move better.
Common problems in the tails of dogs
Now that you know better what the functions of the dog’s tail are, here are some of the problems that tend to be more common in this part of your pet’s body:
Alopecia or hair loss.
Absence of tail.
Traumas such as fractures or dislocations of the vertebrae.
Cold tail syndrome.
Tumors, which can be both benign and cancerous.
Cauda equine disorder. It consists of an instability of the vertebrae on the pelvis, in an area where the tail joins it.
Dermatitis around the tail.
Surely with all this information, now you begin to see the tail of dogs in a different way!