In the world of dogs, a certain amount of licking is considered appropriate grooming behavior. Dogs frequently lick themselves to maintain hygiene or to treat wounds. For example, both male and female dogs might lick their genitalia to clean them after urinating. In this situation, licking is limited to removing waste and is not prolonged. All that’s needed is a quick sweep of the area. Dogs may lick wounds to remove debris, but many find that they do so excessively, which slows healing and contaminates open wounds. They might also lick if they have an itch, such as on their paws.
Excessive licking is frequently a sign of a hidden health issue that requires attention. Find out by reading on.
Which Dog Licking Is Considered Excessive?
Excessive licking is when a dog’s repeated licking causes negative effects. There could be limping, bald patches, red patches, pimple-like sores, dandruff, skin or coat discoloration, and hair loss among these symptoms.
Some dogs may also show overt signs of discomfort while licking or grooming. These symptoms include vocalizing, moaning, whimpering, or groaning. Another sign of excessive licking is when a dog is unable to unwind or fall asleep without being awakened by the impulse to lick a particular place.
Reasons Why Dogs Lick Too Much
There are numerous explanations for dogs’ excessive self-licking. Your veterinarian will make an effort to determine the underlying problem, which could be a skin condition, discomfort, or even a behavioral issue. By providing images or videos of your dog when they are licking continuously, you can help your vet identify the cause. For the reasons outlined below, our dogs tend to lick themselves excessively:
- Skin Disorders and Diseases
Dogs can develop viral, bacterial, fungal, and parasitic skin illnesses. Skin changes like redness, pimples, sores, crusts, flaking, and hair loss will occur along with the licking. Depending on where the sore skin is, dogs frequently lick it as well as scratch it. Veterinarians will first do a thorough examination, paying close attention to the irritated regions, before deciding on the best course of action in light of their findings.
Allergies are one of the most common factors in pruritus, or itching. The two primary categories of allergies are food and environmental. Pets with food allergies could lick, chew, or itch in addition to having stomach problems. Through a process of elimination and specific tests, veterinarians can identify skin allergies. Fortunately, there are numerous efficient remedies available to reduce itching.
If there are no symptoms of allergies or skin diseases, veterinarians will consider arthritis, pain, and wounds as possible explanations for frequent grooming and licking. Dogs frequently lick the sore regions on their bodies.
In the area where your dog is licking, carefully and safely check for any lacerations, puncture wounds, or even minute insect bites. Checking to see if there is no hair loss could be very difficult.
- Issues with anxiety and behavior
If all physiological factors, like as itching, infections, allergies, illness, or pain, have been ruled out, excessive licking and grooming may be a behavioral problem. When dogs are bored, they lick, groom, and itch. If you observe that your pet frequently grooms themselves while they are bored, try increasing their regular exercise.
Dogs need to be mentally challenged in addition to physically. To keep their minds engaged, consider employing puzzles with concealed goodies or time-released sweets.
Is it Time to Stop My Dog’s Licking?
Your dog may cause the skin to get infected and painful if they lick an area too much. It’s crucial to identify the underlying problem so that it may be dealt with in order to stop your dog from licking.
You must stop your dog from licking any wounds, especially surgical ones. Dog licking spreads new bacteria into wounds, irritates the surrounding tissue, and harms it, despite the fact that some bacteria are slightly killed by dog saliva. It can cause wounds to reopen and stop them from healing.
Even while dogs frequently lick their genitalia, it shouldn’t happen all the time. A health issue may be indicated by persistent and frequent urogenital (urinary and genital) licking.
Call your veterinarian straight away if you notice any of the following signs or symptoms:
- Penis, vulva, or anus that is red and swollen
- Black or rusty skin discolouration
- cutaneous lesions, such as pustules or red lumps, are present
- an increase in how often they urinate
- the presence of an unpleasant odor between bowel movements
- the area of the lower abdomen during scooting or rubbing
- leakage coming from the vulva or penis
Some dogs keep their surroundings tidy by constantly licking their paws after going outside. They groom their penises after voiding. However, if the licking continues, it’s crucial to take them to the vet for a checkup so they can rule out any underlying medical conditions. Additionally, it may be the result of obsessive behaviors such as self-licking by some dogs in times of boredom or worry.
Remember that every one of our pets is different and reacts to the world in a different way. If you’re concerned, observe their signals and nonverbal signs to figure out what they’re trying to tell you, then ask your vet for help.