Does your dog seem to spend an infinite amount of time licking himself? Why is he doing it? And how do you, as a dog owner, correct that annoying licking habit? Here are five of the most common reasons why your dog might be incessantly licking himself and the solutions to correcting the habit. Before we jump into how to solve this problem, we first need to find out what is causing the licking issue.
Why is your dog licking himself all the time?
If your dog spends a lot of time outside, romping through the woods, tramping in the mud, rolling in the grass or wading in the nearest stream or pond, he is probably dirty. So, your dog may be constantly licking himself because dirt has collected on his pits and places and is irritating their skin. Your dog’s incessant licking may be an attempt to rid himself of ticks, fleas, mites or lice.
- Your dog might have developed an unrelenting licking habit because he needs a bath. Give him a bath with a veterinarian-approved flea and tick shampoo. Before bathing him, make sure you brush out all the mats and tangles from his coat or the bathing will make them worse. At Dog Day Getaway we have a wonderful bath area to help bathe your dog.
- Your dog might have developed a chronic licking habit because he has a skin disorder. Some common skin disorders that a dog may develop are mange or dermatitis. Mange is a skin disease in dogs that is caused by various types of mites. The dermatitis could be caused by an allergic reaction to fleas, dust mites, mold or a certain brand of dog food. If you suspect that your dog has a case of mange or dermatitis, your veterinarian will be able to diagnose what the disorder is and prescribe a course of treatment.
- Your dog might have developed a persistent licking habit because he is under stress. The stress may be a result of a new adoption, physical abuse, separation anxiety, or even a reaction to a new food. If you think separation anxiety might be the cause of his stress, there are several methods for solving the problem. Try exposing your dog to being alone for very short periods of time. When your dog has adjusted to being alone for that duration of time, gradually increase your departure period. If you must be away from your dog for a long period of time, while you are away at work, try to find a friend or neighbor who could come over and take him for a walk a couple of times during the day.
- Perhaps a new dog in the family is causing the stress?
- Changing your dog’s diet can also cause stress.
- If you cannot determine the cause of your dog’s stress, talk to your veterinarian.
- Your dog might have developed an incessant licking habit because he has an injury that has resulted in an open wound. A dog that has developed an injury that has resulted in an open wound will lick himself incessantly in an attempt to clean the wound and keep it free from bacteria. Dog saliva has been proven to kill some germs and when your dog licks an open wound, it will aid in keeping the wound infection free. Veterinarian treatment may be required if your dog appears to be in pain, the wound contains a foreign material and is deep enough to require stitches, is bleeding excessively or becomes infected.
- Your dog might have developed a relentless licking habit because he has developed the bad habit of doing so. Some dogs develop the habit of licking their paws incessantly despite them being clean, uninjured and parasite-free! Your dog may develop the habit of constantly licking himself because he has a lot of nervous energy and no way to alleviate the stress. He also may have learned this behavior because he is bored and this is a way to entertain himself!
One of the best ways to solve the licking is to find out what is causing it. We’ve given descriptions and examples above, now it’s up to you. Try bathing your dog, playing with your dog and keeping the stress to a minimum. Always be alert and watch for tell-tale signs that they are licking themselves to long and give them an activity to do. A dog that is well-exercised and happy won’t feel the need to relentlessly lick himself to relieve stress or boredom.
We hope this information about dog licking helps; if so leave a comment below and please share!