So your furry friend has a swollen tail! Though not a medical emergency, a swollen tail can be very painful, therefore, should not be ignored. So what causes a dog's tail to swell in the first place? Well, my dog-loving friends, any number of things.the most common being a bite from another animal (in rare cases, a bee sting could also be the culprit). Other reasons for tail swelling include being stepped on, accidently shut in a door, a car accident or even being in the wrong place at the wrong time like under a rocking chair when someone is rocking! Most dog tails are covered with thick fur; therefore, it can often be difficult to tell when you are dealing with one that is damaged or injured. If your dog appears to be in pain or discomfort and is constantly trying to lick or bite at his tail, then by all meanscheck it out! Obviously, if your dog's tail is bent in an odd manner or he is holding it in an unusual waythen there is most likely a problem. The key to dealing with a swollen tail is to treat it as soon as possible in order to avoid infection.

So, you have recognized that there is a problem with your dog's tail. What do you do now? Well, first and foremost, grab a friend or family member to help as your dog will need to be restrained so that you can investigate the situation. When a dog is in pain, the last thing he wants is you poking around the tender area (in this case his swollen wag mechanism). Once your friend has control of the front end of the dog you can check out the back. VERY GENTLY take the tail in your hands and feel for swelling and abnormalities. If necessary, clip away some fur so that you can see exactly what is going on. If there is an obvious problem, such as a thorn or bee sting, then you can treat your pet at home. If the tail is severely bruised and possibly broken, you will need to make an appointment with the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Bee Sting

If your dog's tail has been stung by a bee simply apply a cold compress to the affected area for ten to twenty minutes several times per day. This should bring some much needed relief and reduce the swelling (frozen veggies work well too). Benadryl also works well when it comes to insect bites (it works on approximately 60% of dogs). In order to reduce swelling and relieve itching give your dog one milligram per pound of body weight every six to eight hours. Benadryl works wonders when it comes to itching and it also can make your dog sleepy (which is a good thingif he is sleeping, he can't scratch or mess with the affected area!).

Thorns and Cuts

If thorns are the reason for the tail swelling then you need to remove themGENTLY! Again, grab a friend or family member to help restrain your pooch. If the thorn is obvious, take a pair of tweezers and gently remove it. If the thorn is embedded and you can't grasp it, use a credit card to gently and slowly scrape the thorn free. Once removed, clean the area and apply some Neosporin. Your dog should be fine and on his way to a speedy recovery.

If your dog's tail is swollen due to a cut, it is very important that you clean the area in order to avoid infection. Obviously, if the cut is deep (in other words, NOT minor) take him to the veterinary hospital as soon as possible. Wash the area with warm water and an antiseptic such as Betadine Skin Cleanser. Once the abrasion is clean, apply a soothing ointment in order to reduce the pain and inflammation (again, Neosporin is a great choice).

Whether you have a Beagle, a Dachshund or a good ole mutt, all dogs need love, a forever home in which to live and of course medical care. It is important to pay attention to your pet so that you can recognize the signs when something is not right. Though a swollen tail may not sound like a medical emergency, it can quickly become one if not treated. Take good care of your dog and they, in return, will love you FOREVER! I promise.