It can be frustrating as a pet parent to watch your pup obsessively lick, chew, and groom themselves. What defines excessive licking and grooming in dogs Why do our pets do it and what can we do to ease their discomfort
A dog's constant, repetitive licking of objects or surfaces is a problem whose frequency is difficult to determine. This licking may occur often, but because it seems harmless and may only be somewhat annoying, many owners accept this unusual behavior or simply ignore it. However, some owners will inquire about it during a routine checkup and ask for advice.
The first and most important step when presented with a dog that licks excessively is to define the behavior as accurately as possible. Excessive licking must be differentiated from pica. An observant owner can usually describe exactly what behavior the dog is performing. Some dogs may exhibit the behavior in the veterinary clinic, but their tendency to do so or not is unlikely to be diagnostic. If there is any doubt about what behavior the dog is performing, videotaping the dog in its home can be useful. Instruct clients to collect 10 to 15 minutes of their dogs performing the behavior, both with and without the owners interrupting the behavior.
Owners who feel uncomfortable tethering their dogs to themselves will need to try other methods of distracting their dogs when it appears they may start licking surfaces. Squeaky toys, whistles, shaker cans (a can filled with beans or coins), or other noise-making devices can be effective.2 Other alternatives are squirt water bottles, cans of compressed air, ultrasonic devices, or citronella sprays. It is important to make owners aware that the purpose of these devices is to interrupt a dog's behavior so an alternate behavior can be rewarded. Their purpose is not to decrease the likelihood of the recurrence of the behavior (as appropriately applied punishment would do), so it is critical that the distracting device does not cause any fear or anxiety. If the chosen device appears to increase a dog's anxiety or cause a fearful response, it should be stopped immediately, and a less-startling device should be tried. It should absolutely not be paired with the owner yelling or telling the dog, \"No.\" Once the dog is successfully distracted and looking to the owner for a command, the owner should calmly give the dog a command and reward it for responding appropriately.
Is your dog licking at his paws constantly Notice a red, swollen, inflamed appearance to the area between the paws If this is happening, read on! Not only does excessive licking cause discomfort for your dog, but it is often due to an underlying medical problem. Often times, excessive licking of the paws is due to one of three underlying causes:
Underlying itchiness is what results in that constant foot licking; the moisture caused by excessive foot licking between the paws can cause a secondary bacterial or yeast infection. This can actually worsen the itchiness and clinical signs.Excessive licking of the paws warrants a trip to your veterinarian, as certain tests need to be performed to rule out skin problems. How will my veterinarian figure out why my dog is licking his pawsDiagnosis of an underlying infection requires certain tests from your veterinarian including:
In the dog world, a moderate degree of licking is part of normal grooming behavior. For example, a male or female dog may lick the genital area after urinating as a means of cleaning the area. When this is the case, licking is only related to elimination and is not persistent. Just a quick swipe of the area takes care of business.
It's less common for serious health problems to be the culprit behind your dog's licking behavior, but it does happen. Chronic pancreatitis, esophagitis, partial seizures, and canine cognitive dysfunction (the dog equivalent of dementia or Alzheimer's) can all contribute to your dog licking air.
Once you know what your dog is attracted to, and you have ruled out medical problems, you can work on positive reinforcement training. This means that you ignore the behavior you want to see less of (in this case, constant licking) and give treats and praise for the positive behaviors you want them to repeat.
Licking is a normal and healthy dog behavior. While we often interpret licking as a sign of affection, there are a variety of things it can mean. In some cases, a dog may lick a human because they enjoy the taste of the sweat or lotion. Other times, a dog may spend a considerable amount of time licking their own body in order to stay clean or remove debris.
Finding the exact reason why your dog is obsessively licking can be difficult. Discovering the cause can sometimes take observing your pet for an extended period, watching for triggers, times, or reactions that may start a fervent licking session. It is also helpful to monitor areas where your dog prefers to lick, noting where and with what frequency. Usually, however, there are four core causes for problem licking:
Boredom, like anxiety, is a behavioral cause of excessive licking. If a dog does not have enrichment throughout the day in the form of exercise, playtime, socialization, etc., it can lead to destructive tendencies. In some cases, this manifests as tearing up shoes or a severe lack of energy, other times it can cause licking.
My dig is a 10 year old spaniel and has for the las3 weeks started biting the base of his tail all the time and start licking the sofa incessantly. He has no other symptoms and not got fleas. Not sure what todo. Thanks Zara
If your dog is frequently licking their butt, the first thing you should do is call your veterinarian to set up an appointment. In the meantime, it is a good idea to discourage your dog from licking their hind quarters as it may only exacerbate the problem. Much like scratching a bug bite or picking at a scab, excessive licking or scooting on the affected area, while it might provide temporary relief for your pup, can actually make things worse and prolong the recovery. In these situations, do your best to distract them with toys or loving attention.
As a loving pet parent, you naturally pay attention to what type of behavior and activity is typical for your furry friend. If you notice your dog licking their butt more than usual, take them to the vet to help them get relief.
When the Nobel Prize-winning ethologist Konrad Lorenz forced a dog to lie flat on the floor in a submissive position, the dog stopped struggling, went slack, and then flicked its tongue as if it was licking its lips or the air. While most dog owners tend to look at all forms of licking by their pets as being signs of affection, Lorenz recognized that in this situation the dog's behavior had a totally different meaning. Some new research now shows that when dogs are stressed, perhaps by recognizing negative emotional states in others, it may trigger this form of non-social contact licking.
Thus, non-dominant, frightened or weak adults will adopt puppy-like postures and perform juvenile actions to avoid aggression. These behaviors usually soften the mood of the threatening animal and will normally avert any sort of physical attack. Many aspects of pacifying behavior contain forms of licking and it makes sense to look at the actions of young puppies to interpret what these signals were meant to communicate in their earliest stages.
Because friends and familiars groom friends and familiars as a considerate gesture, the very act of licking another dog develops significance as a means of communication. Licking thus shifts from being a utilitarian and useful act to becoming a ritualized gesture. The meaning of this gesture at this time in a puppy's life involves goodwill and acceptance. In effect, each puppy is saying something like, \"Look how friendly I am.\" As the puppy matures, the message sent by licking continues to be friendly but is widened to also mean, \"I am no threat,\" and perhaps also the submissive plea, \"Please accept me and be kind.\"
Understanding the development of licking behavior helps to interpret another place where it occurs. Face-licking in adult canines can be a sign of respect or deference to a more dominant dog. The dog doing the licking usually lowers his body to make himself smaller and looks up, adding to the effect of juvenile behavior. The dog receiving the face-licks shows his dominance by standing tall to accept the gesture but does not lick the other dog in return.
Some new research indicates that simply recognizing negative emotions in other dogs or people can trigger this kind of licking behavior. The research team was headed by Natalia Albuquerque from the School of Life Sciences at the University of Lincoln in the UK. The dogs used in this study were pet dogs of various breeds. The investigators presented the dogs with photographs of unfamiliar human or dog faces displaying different types of emotions (in this case happy or playful faces versus angry or aggressive faces). The pictures were presented side-by-side and the scientists videotaped which pictures the dogs looked at and what reactions the dogs displayed.
Most pet owners have observed their pets licking, slurping at and chewing their feet at one point or another, but when a dog continuously licks its paws, some wonder if it is a cause for concern. They'll ask us, \"Why is my dog licking his paws\" and the truth is that it could be everything from mundane boredom to yeast infections to painful growths. So, we hope this list will help point out what other symptoms to look for as well as when paw licking is more of a problem. 59ce067264