Taking a couple of minutes to try and figure out what your dog wants can not only get him to stop licking, it can also help to strength your bond. We have to stop him, but it is only a temporary fix. I have a Bichon that licks excessively. Together you can determine if the signs are something to be concerned about, or if your pet is simply taking his/her daily bath. For dogs that are intent on licking, chewing or scratching themselves only, the cause may be easier to find. If your veterinarian determines after examination (and possible diagnostic testing) that your dog is licking due to compulsive behavior or anxiety, there are some natural calming products that can be instituted. They might even compulsively lick their paws over and over again (which is actually a separate condition called acral lick dermatitis). If you think your dog is excessively licking, it is pertinent to discuss these signs with your veterinarian. My Dog is Drooling and Licking Excessively. If your dog is licking you excessively you might want to take a minute to look around. Items commonly caught in the mouth are bones, rawhides, toys, and sticks. Very dilute apple cider vinegar can also be sprayed on the skin to deter licking but should be discussed with a veterinarian first to be sure it will not irritate the skin further. However, from the experiences I have gained when analyzing why does my dog lick me so much, it’s a way of passing the message telling you that something is missing. In relation to the previous point, if we observe a female dog licking her genital area extensively and does it compulsively, it may be an indicator of stress. A dog may lick furniture because he’s bored. And When Should You Worry About Licking? This is most likely a sign that your dog is in pain in some way. However, dogs licking their paws excessively can also be a sign of a health or behavioral problem. Abnormal Licking . You should expect him to order blood testing, urine and fecal samples, perhaps tissue scrapings from abraded areas and even some imaging studies like x-ray, CT scanning or MRI studies. An underlying health condition is generally causing this pain and discomfort. Loud noises, separation anxiety and/or change in environment can lead to this behavior. She has never done this before, and I can't seem to stop her. Compulsive behavior would be more likely if it has been doing it excessively for more than a week. It Is An Expression Of Love. Since there are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been licking your blanket, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Many canines who lick compulsively do so from anxiety reasons, there are also some underlying systemic causes which must be addressed to protect your pet. Marti C. ( 2015-09-02 17:08:49 -0600) edit. These steps might include: Excessive licking in dogs is definitely a health concern as well as an annoying behavior for pet parents. Answered in 1 minute by: 5/17/2009. Since this behavior could be behavioral or neurological as well as systemic, a multi-step diagnostic approach may be required by your veterinary professional. But when a dog obsessively and abnormally licks the floor, or brick walls, or other objects…that is another story. If you have a canine family member who is afflicting with this behavior, it is important to understand that it may not completely go away forever. If your dog licks excessively, you should visit your veterinarian to see if there is a health condition or skin issue at the root of the problem. Underlying pain from an injury or arthritis can cause dogs to lick, similar to when a person rubs a sore muscle or joi… Is your dog suddenly starting to lick his paw more often than usual? These natural products tend to have little to no side effects and are safest when starting a treatment plan. So you suspect your dog has an upset stomach and now you have noticed your dog licking the carpet or licking the floor. This type of odd behavior might be caused of either a neurological or physical illness. Your Dog Has a Paw Injury. Lucas says that if your dog is licking something other than what’s listed here, it’s likely a sensory response or indicative of a problem. Your vet may also recommend some diagnostic tests, such as a fecal panel, blood testing, and/or x-rays, to rule out causes of belly upset. If it does seem to be doing it compulsively it would help to take it to a vet. I have a 5 month old Shih Tzu cross who has been doing really well. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!. Your veterinarian can often prescribe or administer medications to help control and sometimes eliminate the nausea for your pet. It has increased in frequency over the past several months. My dog is constantly licking. Owners should seek veterinary attention for their dogs if the skin is changing color, if there are wounds, pimples, or crusts noted on the skin, if there is excessive scratching associated with the licking, and/or if fleas are seen. If this resolves in a few days, it is probably a heat cycle, and if that annoys you, it may be best to have her spayed. Over time, this licking behavior can develop into an obsession. Perhaps you’ve seen your dog licking their behind repeatedly over several days, weeks, or months. This is when a thorough discussion should be had with your veterinarian about behavior modification drugs such as Fluoxetine and Clomipramine. Infections from bacteria, fungus or parasitescan also cause itchiness and therefore lead to excessive licking. However, these medications can have side effects and are usually only given for chronic conditions. Potential medical causes for licking include allergies that cause the skin or paws to itch. If there is an underlying health condition which needs to be addressed, and that condition is addressed, then the prognosis is better for improvement in the behavior. Licking can also be a sign of nausea in some dogs. It is important to intervene to lessen or stop this behavior before the dog licks off all of its fur (usually confined to one site on the body, such as a leg or the abdomen), which can lead to skin infection (hot spots) and acral lick granulomas (which are masses that occur secondary to chronic abrasion with the tongue and inflammation to the area). Excessive licking can cause that quality to decrease over time. “That’s probably because something was spilled there or because it’s cool or they like the texture.” Still, sometimes natural products are not enough to calm your dog and stop excessive licking. Dogs can also have behavioral causes of excessive licking, such as anxiety or a type of obsessive disorder where they over-groom themselves. Here are the most common reasons for dogs that lick their paws excessively. For example, your dog may have an allergic reaction to their food or something they ate. If it is determined to be a result of ongoing home care or changes in home routines, changes could be temporary if those ongoing recommendations aren’t continued. All of a sudden, my dog has been licking excessively. If there is trauma to the skin, your veterinarian will treat the skin infections and/or granulomas caused by the excessive licking and then determine if the licking is a medical disorder or something that can be alleviated with behavior training. There are shampoos that can help calm the itching as well as veterinary prescribed anti-histamines to keep your dog comfortable. The very first thing to do is to decide if the behavior is out of the ordinary. My … These include calming drops for the water, calming treats, pheromone collars, and thunder shirts. When a dog is stressed, they try to release tension through behaviors that, in many cases, can be misdiagnosed. What Else Do Dogs Lick? Dogs may have something called excessive licking of surfaces, or ELS, where they lick not only the carpet, but also any other type of flooring as well. What is causing her to lick her privates constantly. These include injuries; skin problems; environmental, parasite, or … If your dog is licking themselves, you, or objects excessively, to the point that it seems like a self-stimulatory behavior, this might be a sign of anxiety, boredom, or pain. She has thrown up once - all dust. When trying to determine why your dog is licking or chewing excessively, be sure to consider the possibility that something is making them physically uncomfortable. The symptoms of excessive licking are precisely what the name suggests -- compulsive and extreme amounts of time spent licking and it can be virtually anything in sight or within reach. Most dog owners would agree that this behavior is unusual. If you notice your pet suddenly licking excessively, make sure you call your vet and schedule an appointment for the check-up. We made sure that it was not her food. © 2020 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved. If this is something that’s been going on for some time with no detectable health issues involved, there’s probably nothing to worry about. Pain. Your vet will perform a physical and neurological examination and will need to order some testing based on his findings in that examination. Excessive licking of air, your face, the furniture, his paws, other animals, his genitals, the tile, the carpet -- virtually everything within reach, The licking may begin intermittently and increase in frequency and intensity as time goes on, Scratching and biting often accompany the excessive licking, Hot spots, red and abraded areas that are painful, Infiltration of lymphocytes and plasma cells and other inflammatory cells into gastrointestinal tissues, Administration of antibiotics for any bacterial infections found or antifungal medications for any fungal infections found, Dietary changes if a food allergy is suspected. As I mentioned above, the main reasons for a dog licking excessively and suddenly can’t be explained in a couple of words rather the answer varies! Thank you for your question. In extreme cases, this may cause baldness and skin lesions to form. But we, the poor humans do not understand the message it passes on through Licking. Licking the furniture can signal a dog’s anxiety or stress or even a medical condition. Here are some things you might notice in this area: The licking is prolonged - It lasts longer than is required to explore or investigate the object. But often, these glands get clogged leading to a bacterial infection or abscesses that can become quite uncomfortable for your pet. Cushing's disease, a condition marked by an overactive adrenal gland, and liver disease are other potential causes of obsessive floor licking. If your dog has recently given birth to puppies, she may be licking her bed because of a biological urge to keep her pups' environment clean. Some studies have shown that the act of licking increases endorphins in the brain which calms the dog while it is licking. Environmental allergies are caused by dusts, danders, pollens, and other airborne particles which lead to build-up on the skin and fur of the dog and in turn cause itching. Excessive licking is the compulsive licking of any surface for a period of time which is longer than is needed for exploratory or investigative purposes. The paw licking may start innocently as a way of coping with an allergy, arthritis or a mental state of boredom, anxiety or frustration, and soon the dog becomes addicted to it. She is licking the floor, the carpet, the furniture. With the newer research into the gastrointestinal component, your vet may wish to do a gastric work up on your pet to look for those causes. Healthy anal glands, or sacs, continually fill up with fluid that gets expelled every time your dog poops. Depending on his assessment, he may also need to order an emotional evaluation of your pet to assess the anxiety issue. What Are Some Causes of Excessive Licking? The important point here is to get your family pet evaluated so that the important conditions are found and treated. Keeping a low stress environment for anxious dogs can be very helpful also; quiet, low lighting, and slow movements. But, so far observed, licking isn’t an unfamiliar incident in case of dogs. Share this conversation . Your veterinarian can help figure out what is going on and recommend treatment. Some studies have shown that the act of licking increases endorphins in the brain which calms the dog while it is licking. All dogs lick. Dogs exhibit scooting, licking, and dragging rear end behavior because they are in pain or discomfort. Credit: yellowsarah/Getty Images. If your dog is licking abnormal places, such as the floors or the walls, or if your dog is licking his/her lips frequently, these can be a signs of gastrointestinal upset. These include: allergies, boredom, dry skin, hormonal imbalance, pain, and … Constant licking can lead to bald patches and painful trauma to the skin, so it’s good to take care of it sooner rather than later. It's one of the many ways they investigate their environment. While it is a behavior which can drive a pet parent crazy, it is not without its serious side. Just as among the other dogs, it licks humans too. They could also experience an allergic reaction to environmental triggers, such as pollen or mold in the air. There are quite a few causes of excessive licking, so finding the underlying problem may be difficult at first. That will take away this possibility in the future. We woke up this morning to find that his bed was soakings, as was his tail and paws. This might include a commercial elimination diet to isolate the food component which is causing the problem, Treatment of any parasitic infestation, infection or other parasitic involvement, If a gastric foreign body is found, surgical removal may be necessary, If a gastric blockage is found, surgical removal of the blockage will be required, Exercise routine changes may be suggested for those canines found to be responding to built up anxiety and stress, Changes in grooming products or shampoos may be suggested if contact dermatitis is found, Changes in household cleaning products may be required if contact dermatitis is suspected, Hormonal supplementation may be required if a systemic hormonal imbalance is found, Retraining of both the family pet as well as the family may also be required if the excessive licking is determined to be just a compulsive or attention-getting behavior. Dogs can also have behavioral causes of excessive licking, such as anxiety or a type of obsessive disorder where they over-groom themselves. Your dog might want food and water if the bowls are empty, or he might want you to open the door so he can go outside. Licking can be one way to alleviate pain. A dog licking various objects is considered pretty much normal among pet owners and experts. Plants, such as foxtails, can also become lodged in the mouth and cause lip licking. Some dogs with ELS will even lick your furniture, walls, or any other surface in your home they can get to. If underlying systemic causes are found, expect that your vet’s primary concern will be to treat those underlying systemic diseases and conditions for the safety and health of your pet. There are six major causes of why your dog may obsessively lick . “You’ll occasionally see a dog licking a window or a tile floor,” she says. Of course, your input will be very important as he assesses your family pet’s condition. This is an innate behavior in the animal kingdom. There are two types of excessive licking categories: - This type is called Excessive Licking of Surfaces and can include anything and everything within reach in your canine family member’s world, - This type generally results in Acral Lick Dermatitis; it can begin as an allergic reaction or simply as a particular area that your canine family member just keeps licking, biting and chewing at until an abrasion or lesion is created which causes him to keep up the behavior. But an eagle eye is of unparalleled necessity. Allergies to flea bites and certain proteins in pet food can cause similar signs. I hope that all goes well for her. If your dog is licking just one foot or leg, that would indicate some sort of injury or ache. One such study was done in Montreal using 19 canines who were suffering from excessive licking of surfaces. What Is Freeze-Dried Dog Food? This entails close monitoring and side-tracking your dog when he starts to obsessively groom. Sometimes excessive paw licking in dogs can get quite out of hand and may lead to a compulsive disorder. You may catch your pooch bathing daily to keep clean. Dogs lick themselves, that’s a fact of life, but when does it get to be an issue? Before, and your vet will have to stop her cause that quality to environmental. Pet evaluated so that the act of licking increases endorphins in the brain which calms the dog while it not. … either scenario can have numerous underlying causes, and your vet will perform a physical neurological... Be coming into heat, or brick walls, or other compensation from the on... Or parasitescan also cause itchiness and therefore lead to excessive licking, so observed... Repeatedly over several days, weeks, or if your pet skin or paws to itch soakings! 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