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Dogs Who Chase Their Tails May Suffer From Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Dog chasing tail
Timekin, Flickr

When we see a pooch chase its tail, we tend to just dismiss it as a dog being a dog. But there appears to be more to this illogical canine behavior, as researchers from Finland have been able to link it to obsessive-compulsive disorder.

In humans, OCD manifests itself in ritualized behaviors such as checking locks or constantly washing one’s hands. Obsessive behaviors among dogs includes tail chasing, swatting at nonexistent flies and biting at their own flank.

What the Finnish scientists were able to determine, through analysis of 368 dogs, is that a puppy who displays one obsessive behavior tends to develop more as they get older. This is similar to the progression of OCD in people.

Furthermore, the researchers found that tail-chasing dogs are more likely to have been separated from their mom at a young age than dogs who leave their poor tail alone.

The good news is that OCD in dogs can be treated with vitamins and minerals — just like some scientists believe those supplements can help humans with the disorder.

So the next time you see a dog absurdly going after the tail it can’t catch, don’t laugh. The poor boy is mentally ill and in need of meds.

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