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All about Excessive Licking in Dogs

  Sep 28, 2022

All about Excessive Licking in Dogs

Dogs love to lick. They like licking objects, people, and sometimes themselves. But when licking becomes your dog's obsession, it might be a sign that something is bothering them. So, when your dog's slobbery kisses become a concern for you, it is time to address what's wrong instead of getting irritated.

Symptoms of Excessive Licking in Dogs

As obvious as it may seem to be, symptoms are compulsive licking of anything and everything and it may be either prolonged or intermittent. You may find your dog licking your furniture, tiles, carpet, etc. Or, you may also find them licking themselves way more than usual.

Causes of Excessive Licking in Dogs

So why do dogs lick too much? It could be due to medical or behavioral reasons:

Behavioral reasons why your dog is licking so much:

  • They're bored
  • They want to show affection
  • They're stressed or anxious
  • They want to calm or soothe themselves
  • They like the taste
  • They're obsessed with the habit
  • They want your attention

Medical reasons why your dog is licking so much:

  • Allergies
  • Hair loss
  • Irritations
  • Redness
  • Dry skin
  • Anxiety
  • Injury
  • Infection
  • Underlying pain
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Parasites - fleas, ticks, mosquitoes

You may also like : Common Skin Problems in Dogs

Diagnosis of Excessive Licking in Dogs

Your veterinarian will carry out a multi-step diagnosis as this behavior could be due to behavioral, medical, or neurological reasons. Your vet may perform blood tests, MRI, X-ray, CT scan, etc. Of course, your vet will put his best foot forward in diagnosing the cause of this condition, but your input will be crucial. You'll be asked about your pet's diet, vaccinations, grooming practices, health history, urinating and defecating habits, etc. You must let your veterinarian know if you have observed any changes in your pet's behavior.

Treatment of Excessive Licking in Dogs

After a complete diagnosis, your veterinarian will prepare an appropriate treatment plan. If any systemic issues are found, the treatment will aim to treat the underlying cause. Some of the measures may include:

  • Prescribing antibiotics if any kind of infections are found
  • Changes in grooming products like shampoos, if dermatitis is suspected
  • In case of hormonal imbalance, hormonal supplements may be recommended
  • Environment and routine changes in stress or anxiety are reported
  • Dietary changes in case of food allergies
  • If the licking is found to be a compulsive behavior, behavioral training may be recommended

How to stop your dog from excessive licking?

Keep in mind that you cannot stop your dog's excessive licking overnight. However, to stop this behavior it is essential to find out why they're licking. If you have a licker, here are some suggestions to help that you can try at home:

Exercise- Exercise is important because it stimulates both the physical and mental aspects of your dog. This will assist in helping them burn off extra energy and reduce stress and anxiety.

Environment- Determine whether any environmental factors are causing your dog's anxiety-related licking. If so, attempt to alter the atmosphere by playing relaxing music and providing them with their favorite toys to occupy them.

Move away- Move away if your dog is approaching you too closely. Don't pay them any attention, either positive or negative. Just move away with a neutral attitude, as this will teach them that you don't enjoy this behavior.

Stay clean- If your dog is licking you, particularly after your workout or when you come home, taking a shower may help. It will help you wash off sweat and dirt and hence, your dog may not get a reason to lick.

Training- Try to distract your dog when you notice compulsive licking by offering them treats and toys. And, when you get positive results give them a lot of attention and praise.

If you find that these ways might not work and your dog's licking is due to some other underlying problem, consult your veterinarian for advice.

All about Excessive Licking in Dogs

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