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So i was grooming the old girl and discovered she had hunks of undercoat clumping out on her tail which brushed out in one swipe. Her tail wound up looking really ratty and thin after I brushed it. She usually has a lovely wolf tail.

I admittedly dont groom her that much anymore because she does not like it, and she no longer has to look sharp for anything. But even when i groomed her more I never brushed her tail much because she really doesnt like that.

So...ratty, thinning tail...bring anything to mind? The skin looked normal as much as I could tell, I did part the hair a few places.

I have not noticed her chewing at it but I will pay closer attention now.

Probably just because i dont groom her like I used to? It's not that bad...just not like it used to look.

Do old dogs get thinner coats?
 

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It doesn’t look bad. Probably lost a lot of her fur in the declumping process. If there is no scaly, dry,red or irritated skin my guess is all good. I would imagine it takes a little more work to get an seniors dogs hair to look like they were in their prime just like people and thinning would be normal. If you were to see bare patches in the tail I would be concerned.
 

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Her tail looks fine to me. Possibly having all that loose undercoat was preventing new hair growth. I'd give a few weeks and see if it starts to fill out again. It has been my experience that many senior dogs of all breeds tend to get thinner coats as they get older much like humans get general thinning hair in old age. I wouldn't worry unless you see something going on with the skin or severe thinning on the tail or body wide. Then I would think thyroid or nutritional deficiency.
 

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I know my girl is blowing coat and is looking like a nappy coyote. Her undercoat is coming off in clumps on her tail too so I brush it (against her will). I think it may be possible the undercoat will grow back in a bit.
 

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I think her tail looks fine also. My boy loves all but his tail being groomed. I got a soft rubber brush one day and started brushing in a more circular motion at his sweet spot at the base of his tail then continued down with the circular motion. For the first time he stood still for that tail grooming. I mention it as it may work for your girl. I think my guy doesn't like the tail groomed since it involves lifting and I think the longer guard hairs are more abundant and more sensitive to pulling because they are relatively permanent. Also I think he interprets the gentle circular motion as a massage instead of a grooming. I don't do the circular motion under the tail though as it could end up tangled and pulling.

Just my long winded 2cents of a suggestion. :)
 

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My previous GSD started losing hair bilaterally on her tail as she got older, showed the vet and we tested for thyroid. Turned out she was low and had to take supplemental thyroid from then on.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
She just had a senior bloodwork panel and I don't remember if thyroid was included. I will ask.

I know it doesn't look that bad, it's just kind of ratty by her standards. For now I'll just keep an eye on it.

I did just find a little bump on her toi during grooming so I will take her in to get that checked too.
 

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Years ago we had a Samoyed mix his tail would get like that big clump when he blew his winter coat and really look like a rat tail!!! Kind of like you said come off in like a big clump!! He didn't have a real heavy coat but it did seem like he was shedding his coat and a buddies at the same time!! None of our dogs liked their tail brushed either! Kind of odd, Clipper, gsd, as a senior, didn't have very much grey hair on his muzzle, but his tail turned gray! When younger it was like yours, black on top with the tan on the underside. I noticed that more in pictures after he had passed.
 
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