What does it mean when a dog’s tail is down?

Dogs communicate a variety of feelings and emotions through their tails. A wagging tail is often seen as a sign of happiness, while a tail between the legs is typically interpreted as a sign of fear or submission. However, there are many other reasons why a dog’s tail might be down, and it’s important to understand what each one means in order to effectively communicate with your dog.

Doggie blues

One possibility is that the dog is feeling sad or depressed. This might be due to being separated from its pack, being in a new environment, experiencing a traumatic event or maybe even just having a lousy day.


Another possibility is that the dog is feeling submissive or fearful. This might be because it knows it did something wrong, or because it’s around a dominant dog or person.

If your dog seems fearful or submissive, work on building up its confidence with positive reinforcement!


A third possibility is that the dog is experiencing pain. If the tail is held low and parallel to the ground, this might be an indication that the dog is hurting somewhere on its body.


There are many diseases that can cause a dog’s tail to hang down, including cancer, arthritis, and kidney disease. If your dog’s tail is down and mixed with other abnormal behaviours you should take them to your veterinarian as soon as possible. It could be the difference between a healthy pup and a sick one.

What you can do to help your dog feel better

One of the best things you can do for your dog is to provide it with plenty of love and attention. Spend time playing with your dog, petting it, and talking to it in a calm and reassuring voice. If your dog is reluctant to leave your side, that’s a good sign that it’s grateful for your company.

Final thoughts

If you notice your dog’s tail is down more often than usual, it’s important to take note of any other changes in behavior or appearance that might be accompanying this change. This will help you determine whether your dog is simply feeling under the weather, or if there might be a more serious problem.

If you’re not sure what to do when you see your dog’s tail down, the best thing to do is consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist. They will be able to help you understand what your dog is trying to communicate, and provide guidance on how to best respond.