golden retriever pulling out tail hair

Why is my Golden Retriever Pulling Out Tail Hair? — Health Facts!

Is your Golden Retriever pulling out tail hair and you don’t know why? There are several skin-related conditions that make your dog want to pull out his hair. It could be a skin disease, anxiety, flea bites, or an allergic reaction. However, it’s nothing to be worried about. Most of these problems have solutions to them. Some may require a trip to the vet, but some won’t even need you to leave the house.

In this article, I’ll be sharing the possible reasons why your Golden Retriever is pulling out its tail hair. I’ll also include how you can help your dog during this time.

Why is my Golden Retriever pulling out tail hair?

The reason why your Golden Retriever could be pulling out their tail hair could be from flea bites, anxiety, skin disease, an allergic reaction, or that they could simply be bored. Together, we’ll be exploring these different reasons. Later on, I’ll also be sharing the possible things you could do to help your dog.

Upon discovering the reasons why your Golden Retriever is pulling out their tail hair, treatment or actions are needed. As soon as you take action, you will be able to lessen the damage that they are doing to their bodies. 

Some of these treatments don’t require you to leave your home. However, I suggest that you take them to the vet (if it’s a physical illness) or a professional dog behaviorist (when it’s a mental problem). Going to these professionals will ensure that your Golden Retriever gets the help it needs. It may cost you some cash to get them treated, but it will make sure that your dog gets better.

Here are the possible reasons why your Golden Retriever is pulling out their tail hair:

Allergic Reaction

An allergic reaction is the first culprit on why your Golden Retriever is pulling out their tail hair. Sometimes, you can’t always keep an eye on your dog — especially if you’re a busy person. In that case, your dog could ingest something that he or she is not supposed to. That will usually result in an allergic reaction.

Keep in mind that an allergic reaction shows itself in different forms. Your Golden Retriever could have watery eyes, rashes popping up all over his skin, and itchy skin, eyes, and nose. Take a good look at your Golden Retriever. Are they also scratching themselves in other places? Do your Golden Retrievers have hot spots and dry, flaky skin all over their bodies?

If so, your dog could be having an allergic reaction. There are many allergens that Golden Retrievers are allergic to. These allergens can be simple proteins like poultry and beef to natural environmental allergens like pollen, grass, dust and mold.

These allergies, when consumed, can cause either skin complications or gastrointestinal problems in a Golden Retriever. These skin complications can be hot spots, flaky skin, itchy ears and eyes, rashes, and watery eyes. Gastrointestinal problems, on the other hand could be diarrhea, vomiting, liver disease, and kidney disease.

However, if your Golden Retriever’s bowels are fine but he or she is pulling out hair, then it means that it has skin allergies.


Did you know that Golden Retrievers also experience mental health issues? Anxiety is a pretty common reason why your Golden Retriever can be pulling out their tail hair. To be exact, they might be pulling out their tail hair because they have separation anxiety. 

Separation anxiety is a condition where your Golden Retriever will feel anxious when you leave him or her alone for more than 6 hours. Golden Retrievers love to be around their pet parents and family members. They can’t stand being alone. Which is why it’s also good that you get Golden Retrievers in pairs.

A lonely Golden Retriever is a destructive one unless fully trained. Their destructive tendencies can range from chewing furniture, howling, barking, digging, or also pulling out their hair. They could also be scratching themselves raw or only pulling out the hair in a specific part of their body.

Anxiety in Golden Retrievers can be shown in many different ways. However, if left untreated, it could lead to very bad behavior like aggression. In some bad cases, it could also lead to depression. This is why you should bring your Golden Retriever to the vet if you think your dog has anxiety or depression. Your vet will properly diagnose your dog and give them the proper medication. 

That way, your Golden Retriever will be back in no time.

Flea bites

Flea bites are another reason why your Golden Retriever is pulling out his tail hair. You can characterize flea bites as tiny, reddish, and raised dots on their skin. They may appear smaller than other bites. These flea bites have a tendency to become more inflamed after your Golden Retriever scratches it. 

Your Golden Retriever could have picked up fleas by interacting with another dog. Another possible way that your dog could have gotten fleas is that he or she has recently slept or stayed in a place that is infested by fleas. 

This isn’t your Golden Retriever’s fault though! Fleas can jump from body to body at a distance of 13 inches. Even a short interaction with another dog who has fleas could mean that your Golden Retriever will also have fleas. 

A healthy flea with a healthy host can live up to three months only. Without a healthy host to leach onto, a flea can only live up to a week. 

Treatments for a flea infestation can range from home remedies to store-bought shampoos. These home remedies don’t even require you to leave the comfort of your home. These ingredients can usually be found in your kitchen cupboard like baking soda and vinegar. 

The fleas will not be able to live long once treatment has begun. However, you are still beared with the tedious task of taking out all the flea eggs on your dog. That way, they will not be able to hatch and infest your Golden Retriever again.

Skin Disease

There are a lot of skin diseases that a Golden Retriever can contract. Most of these skin diseases will be prevalent in your dog’s skin. That means that you will most likely see some sort of rash or redness around the affected area. 

Your dog could be trying to communicate that they’re uncomfortable by licking, scratching, and pulling out the fur of the affected area. There could be parasites, allergies, or a skin disease.

If you notice that your Golden Retriever’s coat does not look healthy, it may be because he or she has an underlying skin illness. One of these skin diseases is folliculitis. Folliculitis is an infection that makes bumps and scabs appear on your dog’s skin. 

Another skin infection that your Golden Retriever could have is Mange or mites. This is sometimes known as canine scabies. It is a kind of skin disease that can be transmitted from person to person. However, these mites are not capable of surviving on humans. Mange can be characterized as itching, sores, and hair loss. 

To help with the itching, your Golden Retriever could be pulling out their tail hair. Treatment will depend on the kind of skin disease that your dog has. Your best bet is to bring your Golden Retriever to the vet. 

Your vet will be able to diagnose the skin disease that your dog has. He or she will be able to start treatment for your Golden Retriever. Different kinds of treatments include oral medication, IV fluids, or skin ointment among others.

They’re Bored

The last reason why your Golden Retriever may be pulling out his tail hair is simply because he or she is bored. It could be as simple as that. Like humans, Golden Retrievers can also feel boredom. Which is what leads them to pull out their tail hair. You can correct this by training them to stop. Another way to get them to stop pulling their hair out is to find ways to keep them entertained. 

A bored dog will usually find ways to try and entertain themselves. If they find their dog toys boring, they will start to explore the possible things to do in the household. If they’re not pulling their tail hair out, they might do other destructive things like chewing, barking, licking, or digging.

These behaviors are not necessarily bad. However, it could lead to more destructive tendencies in the long run. That’s why it’s better for you to correct this as early as possible.

Training your Golden Retriever to stop is also another thing that you could do. Training them to understand and respond to the word “stop” will also come in handy for other scenarios which you don’t want your dog to do. 

What’s important, however, is to first determine if your Golden Retriever is pulling out tail hair because they are bored. You have to rule out other medical conditions first. Otherwise, it could just be very bad for your dog.

golden retriever pulling out tail hair

What can I do to help my Golden Retriever?

Now that you know the possible reasons why your dog is pulling out their tail hair, it’s now time to take action. When I say take action, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should immediately go to the vet. Only go to the vet when the problem has been persisting for a very long time. Later on, I’ll be discussing the only time that you should go to the vet. 

This is because there are a couple of home treatments that you can do for your dog. These treatments include household items or medication that you already have. If the pulling out of tail hair is caused by behavioral issues, training them is also possible. However, medical problems should first be ruled out before you determine if they’re pulling out their tail hair because of behavioral issues.

Here are the things you can do to help your Golden Retriever:

Ask for a Full Blood Work at the Vet

The first on the list is for you to take your Golden Retriever to the vet. Once you get there, request your vet for a full blood work. A blood work for your Golden Retriever will check if there are any skin diseases or blood diseases present in your dog.

After the results of the full blood work arrive, your vet will then have the information about the inner workings of your dog. The full blood work will include a complete blood count, which means that your vet will be able to check your dog’s hydration status, blood clotting possibility, and immune system response among other things.

The full blood test will show the vet your dog’s glucose levels, amount of proteins, amount of electrolytes, cholesterol levels, endocrine levels, and lastly, the amount of digestive enzymes.

The vet will determine if your Golden Retriever needs a full blood test. However, you can also request a full blood test upon your visit. 

A full blood work will include a urinalysis, fecal exam, complete blood count, blood clotting times, the dog’s blood chemistries, and a cytology. In a cytology, the vet collects sebum and cellular debris of your dog’s skin to see if there’s an infection. The cytology will check if your Golden Retriever also has cancer cells that are present.

Keep in mind that it may take you up to 72 hours until you get the results of the full blood work. If time is not on your side, you can consult your vet and ask them what the best way to help stop your Golden Retriever from pulling their tail out. In the meantime, they might have your dog wear a cone in order to prevent them from attempting to pull their hair out.

Benadryl Treatment

The second thing that you could possibly do to help your Golden Retriever pulling out tail hair is to give them a Benadryl treatment. This highly depends on the dog’s skin condition. You simply can’t just give them benadryl for no reason. Inspect your Golden Retriever’s skin first. 

Are there red bumps and rashes? Does your dog also have itchy spots all over his body besides their tail? If so, it could mean that your dog may be having an allergic reaction to something that they ate. 

The most common reason for your Golden Retriever to have itchy skin is called atopic dermatitis. It doesn’t have a cure, but there are many forms of treatments that control the amount of itching that happens in the body. 

Having your Golden Retriever drink Benadryl or diphenhydramine is one of those treatments. It is an antihistamine, which is used to control, relieve, and suppress allergy effects like itching, watery eyes, and rashes. 

The most common form of Benadryl will come in a 25 milligram tablet. The proper dose that is recommended is one milligram per pound of your Golden Retriever’s total body weight. Give this dose every 12 hours. There aren’t many side effects of Benadryl, but he may get a bit sleepy. 

Benadryl should already work wonders for your Golden Retriever pulling out tail hair — as long as the root cause of it is an allergic reaction. If Benadryl doesn’t help, I suggest that you go to the vet to have a stronger antihistamine prescribed for your dog.

A visit to the vet could be the perfect thing to determine why your Golden Retriever is pulling out his or her tail hair. At least by then your vet will know exactly what to do to help your dog.

Change of Diet

A change of diet can help stop your Golden Retriever from pulling out their tail hair. This is because their food will not include any food allergens that are causing an allergic reaction in your dog.

If there are no allergic reactions, your Golden Retriever won’t take out their fur anymore. However, you have to first see if the reason why they’re pulling out tail hair is indeed because of an allergic reaction and nothing else.

I suggest that you try a dog food that is allergy-friendly. You can usually find these in online stores or at your nearest pet store. Keep in mind that special food (like allergy-friendly ones) cost a bit more than the usual kibble that you buy. However, a change in diet is certainly better than spending more than a hundred dollars in medical bills.

Additionally, if you don’t know what food your Golden Retriever is allergic to, you can always do the trial-and-error method. This is when you buy small amounts of dog food and see if your Golden Retriever has an allergic reaction to it. You will be surprised by the results of a changed diet. 

Your dog’s skin will become healthier. Their coat will become shinier. Additionally, they will also have a lot more energy. Lastly, a good diet will also mean that they will have good bowel movements.

Keep them Entertained

A bored Golden Retriever will try his best to find things that are entertaining. They are certainly very curious creatures that need a lot of love and attention. When neither of those things are present, they will try to keep themselves busy. This can lead to several destructive tendencies like chewing, barking, howling, digging, and even pulling out their own hair. 

You’ll never know — tail hair could smell or taste interesting to a Golden Retriever. This phenomenon is not as uncommon as you think. In fact, a lot of pet parents who have Golden Retrievers have kept asking me if their dog also pulls out their tail hair. 

I always advise them to check their Golden Retriever’s skin condition. Once bad skin conditions are ruled out, I always tell them that their Golden Retrievers are probably just bored out of their minds. When that happens, I tell them to find more ways to keep their dogs more preoccupied so that they won’t keep pulling their hair!

A great way to keep them entertained is to buy them a great chew toy. These chew toys should be high-grade but also safe to chew on. There are a lot of unsafe chew toys that only become a choking hazard to your dog. Some unsafe chew toys even cause some digestive problems for your Golden Retrievers — which you want to avoid at all costs.

Train them to Stop

After ruling out medical problems, a good way for you to get your Golden Retriever to stop pulling out their tail hair is to train them to stop. Yes, it might sound cliché, but training a Golden Retriever simple commands will help them develop good house manners in the long run.

Your Golden Retriever is bound to do something that you or other people don’t want. It could be peeing in the wrong place, being aggressive towards other animals or people, or barking and being loud in general. Other tendencies include special ones like pulling out their tail hair.

A simple stop command will do the trick. If your dog understands the concept and responds to it, they will know that it’s bad to chew and pull out their tail hair. However, you should first rule out any preexisting medical conditions before doing this. 

That is because your Golden Retriever may be trying to communicate with you that he or she has problems around their tail area. Since they cannot speak to humans, scratching, whining, and pulling out their tail hair may be the only way for them to try and get your attention. 

When that happens, please do not reprimand your Golden Retriever when you find them pulling out their tail hair. It’s first good to determine the exact reason why your dog is acting the way they are.

That way, you can take the necessary steps to help your Golden Retriever stop this bad behavior.

Trip to the Vet

When boredom has been ruled out, it’s a good idea to bring your Golden Retriever on a trip to the veterinary clinic. Be prepared to spend around $200 for a consultation. A complete blood test for your Golden Retriever will also cost around $100 to $200. However, that also depends on what tests are available in the vet.

Additionally, your vet will also charge you for the treatment for your Golden Retriever’s skin condition. They may include treatments like IV (intravenous) fluids, antibiotics, ointments, and more. The cost of treatment will depend on what the treatment actually is.

Luckily, pet insurance exists in the United States of America. It’s good to invest in insurance for your Golden Retriever for in-case purposes like these. You should also check with your own health insurance if they include an insurance plan for your Golden Retriever. The insurance will cover consultation and some treatment options that your Golden Retriever will get. 

However, this all depends if your veterinary clinic is accredited to the health insurance that you’re getting for your Golden Retriever. 

If you don’t have pet insurance, it’s still not too late to get one for your pet. Just keep in mind that the money that you pay for the insurance will be worth it in case there are medical emergencies like these.

golden retriever pulling out tail hair

Final Words

So why is your Golden Retriever pulling out tail hair, exactly? It’s important for you to determine the reason why your Golden Retriever is pulling out his tail hair. Is it out of boredom or is there an existing medical condition that your dog has? Determining why your Golden Retriever is acting that way is the first step to helping your dog.

Did you find this article useful? Don’t forget to share your experience with your Golden Retriever pulling out tail hair too!

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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