Your dog has a sore spot on her paw. She is licking and licking and licking. It is driving you crazy. You tell her to stop and she does until you turn your back or show that you are no longer paying attention. She goes back to licking and you wonder why she is so obsessed.
The answer is that the dog is doing what she instinctively knows to do. She is cleaning her wound. The tongue’s soft and moist surface makes it an effective wound cleaner. Saliva loosens any debris or scabs that may be lingering on the surface of the wound. The tongue serves the same capacity as the cotton swabs a veterinarian would use to clean a wound.
Dogs Have Cleaner Mouths Than Humans
There is an old myth that implies that dogs have sterile mouths. One of the reasons for this line of thinking is that dog’s wounds tend to heal faster than those of humans. This may be due to the fact that a dog’s saliva does have some antibacterial and antibiotic properties that help promote healing. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should allow your puppy to lick his wounds. Consider where his tongue has been in the past hour.
If you dog suddenly begins licking excessively at a spot on his or her body, take time to find out why. Constant licking of a thorn or splinter could drive it deeper into the dog’s body parts, creating a need for medical attention.
Dogs do not limit their wound licking to themselves. Most canines are all too happy to lick your wounds too.
Lick Granuloma in Dogs
Any wound that is excessively licked by a dog can become infected. Excessive licking can cause what is known as a lick granuloma. This is an area that becomes raw and it is ripe for infection to set in.
A lick granuloma often means a visit to the veterinarian’s office. In some cases, the wound may have to be wrapped or sprayed with a commercial product in order to keep the dog from causing more damage. In cases where infection has set in, antibiotics may be needed to cure the wound.
Cone-shaped Collar to Prevent Dog Licking Wound
No matter what you do, some dogs cannot be convinced to stop licking wounds. You can say no and the well-behaved dog will listen. Turn your back and the licking resumes. If you have a dog that orally fixates on a sore, you may have to use a cone-shaped collar to prevent him or her from reaching the wound.
The collar is guaranteed to make dog look pitiful, but resist those sad eyes. Leave the collar on until the dog’s vet tells you it is safe to remove it.
For some dogs, licking is simply a bad habit. Try supplying an array of chew toys to distract the dog. You might give a rawhide treat that will keep the dog happy and busy. Break up the day’s monotony with a walk in the park or a swim in the lake. Do anything you can to stop the habit as it truly can be detrimental to the dogs health and well being.
Dog Excessive Licking
It’s no secret that dogs enjoy licking and will take just about any opportunity to lick themselves, toys, furniture, and people. A dog’s tongue isn’t just for eating, they use it for a variety of reasons. Your dog’s tongue is highly sensitive, much like the nose or ears and is often used to evaluate novel stimuli. This is why it is not realistic to expect to stop your dog from licking completely.
There’s a balance that need to be met in order to fulfill your dog’s licking needs and your sanity. In some cases, dog excessive licking is caused by a health condition or medications. In these cases, the problem needs to be addressed in order to restore your dog’s health and also to reduce excessive licking.
Nausea is one of the most common causes of dog excessive licking and can be effected by your dog’s diet, medications and even dietary supplements. Table scraps and treats can also lead to dog excessive licking, so it’s important to identify everything your dog is ingesting, even if you don’t believe it is at the root of the problem.
Some potential causes of dog licking can include:
- Liver disease, pancreatitis, IBS or some kinds of intestinal tumors that lead to stomach discomfort or nausea.
- Tooth or gum disease that causes pain or infection.
- Conditions of the adrenal glands such as hyper or hypoadrenocorticism.
- Polyphagia, an excessive appetite.
- Nervous system malfunction including seizure disorders or water on the brain.
- Lack of exercise and/or attention, boredom.
- Anxiety or neurosis.
- Communication/mixed messages between owners and dogs, leading to frustration.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Cognitive decline, as seen in dogs with dementia.
Some external factors that can lead to dog excessive licking include feelings of anxiety, mixed messages with their owners commands and lack of enough stimulation, particularly in breeds that are high energy. Owners who use punishment improperly or who leave their dog alone or with strangers frequently are more likely to have a dog who licks their paws out of frustration. Dogs who are already predisposed to anxiety are also more likely to turn to licking when anxious.
Dog Skin Problems and Solutions
Is your dog constantly licking, biting or scratching the same spot? Is your furniture wearing more of your dog’s fur than your dog itself? Does your dog appear to be in discomfort or pain? All of these may indicate dog skin problems that should be addressed as quickly as possible, not only for your dog’s current peace and comfort but for its future health and longevity as well.
Seemingly benign dog skin problems could develop into a severe and possibly life-threatening condition.
Dog Skin Problems Symptoms
As with a human, there are numerous different skin conditions that can affect a dog. They are:
- Allergies (such as to dust mites)
- Infections (typically appearing as inflammation and redness)
- Neurogenic problems (relating to the nervous symptoms)
- Nutritional problems
- Parasites (such as ringworm, heartworm, fleas and ticks)
While this variety of types of skin problems exists, however, the range of symptoms they cause is similar.
Typical Symptoms of a Dog Skin Problem Include:
• Fur loss
• Skin irritation or inflammation
• Dog dandruff, or dry and flaky skin
• Painful redness and swelling
• Chronic licking, chewing, biting or gnawing, especially in a single spot
• Incessant scratching
• Skin infection
No one wants to let their pets suffer any longer necessary. The sooner you discover that something is wrong, the sooner you can identify the problem and take care of it.