Excessive licking in dogs is not normal and it can cause severe infections if it is not corrected. If your dog has an injury and is treated, this excessive licking can also slow down the healing process.
There is a lot of misconception that the mouth and tongues of your dog is sterile; but in reality it is full of bacteria.
This bacterium lives and thrives in your dog’s mouth and it is very easily transmitted to other parts of their body by this licking.
All dogs love to lick and it is a very common occurrence in any dog. However, what is not common is excessive licking in dogs.
Excessive licking in dogs has several potential causes including boredom and behavioral problems, which can result in injury as well as inflammation in your dog’s skin.
However, when licking does become excessive, it will often lead to your dog scratching the same areas, and if it is severe, they will also start to actually bite themselves.
Excessive licking dogs can be a behavioral problem or it can be boredom, but in most all cases it is the result of some underlying disease.
It is either a developing threat to your dog, or has already developed and the excessive licking is the first signs.
These are signs that you need to take very seriously, and if you catch them early enough, it can stop what may be a very damaging condition in your pet.
Lick granuloma, also known as Acral lick dermatitis, or ALD, is a common condition that occurs in large and very active dogs.
It will usually affect their front legs, and it causes your dog to lick with such excess that they will very rapidly develop firm ulcerated lesions.
It is believed to be the result of stress or boredom in your dog, and seems to occur most often when a new member enters your household.
However, there is also several underlying disease that may be the actual cause of this form of excessive licking in dogs.
It may be the result of an endocrine disease, or a parasite, bacterial, or fungal infection of some type.
Allergies may also be the cause, and as interesting as this may sound, most of these allergies may be the result of fleas and it is an allergic reaction by your dog to the flea bite.
If this is the cause, a very aggressive flea control program in your dog will correct this condition very rapidly.
Allergic and Irritant Contact Dermatitis
Excessive licking in dogs with this condition is caused when your pet has an allergic reaction to some type of an antibiotic that their skin has been exposed to, or by some type of material that they have come into contact with.
The most common causes include the mineral nickel, and materials such as rubber, wool, or plastic.
It may also be caused by chemicals or dyes that are commonly found in carpet deodorizers.
With this condition, your dog will lick gradually, and within a few short hours they be licking excessively.
Once this occurs, you will see red skin as well as bumps or blisters appear on areas of your dog’s body where there is very little hair.
To properly diagnose contact dermatitis, your veterinarian will run both patch tests as well as exclusion trials.
Once identified, you will need to keep the irritant out of your dog’s environment as it can reoccur very rapidly.
Atopy is an allergic reaction that your dog has by breathing some type of an airborne allergen. In almost every case, the first sign that you see is your dog very suddenly licking their feet.
It will not be a gradual lick, as it will become excessive almost overnight. Once this occurs, their ears will also become inflamed and the itching will start.
This itching can lead very easily to hot spots on your dog, but it all starts with the licking of their feet.
The most effective treatments for this condition are biotin or fatty acid supplements in your dog’s diet, as well as antihistamines.
This will help combat the histamine that is being released by your dog’s immune system.
Topical shampoos may also be utilized.
Excessive licking in dogs may also be caused by a food allergy, which is one of the most frustrating conditions to try to figure out for an owner.
Food allergies may explode as the result of an allergenic reaction that has built up over several weeks or months.
Or it may be the result of something your dog has eaten in the last 24 hours.
This allergy also starts with licking of the feet, and it will show the same itching and redness as atopy.
There is no easy way to cure this condition other than by trial and error.
It may take several weeks to actually find which food has affected your dog.
Once this does occur, you will want to totally eliminate treats as well as any table scraps as they are most often the cause.
Acute Moist Dermatitis
This form of excessive licking in dogs has another name that can stop the heart of dog owners; hot spots.
Hot spots are the result of general allergies, flea bites, ear infections, or something that surprises most owner, burrs or plant awns.
However, it can also be caused by anal gland disease if you do not have your dog’s glands cleaned in regular treatments or clean them your selves.
It results in hair loss that is caused by very moist and oozing skin, but it is always starts with a gradual licking that will then develop into a excessive licking that seems to be the only thing your dog does.
They will lick almost none stop in some cases. Topical treatments or oral antibiotics and steroids will generally be used to stop this excessive licking in your dog.
Preventing excessive licking in dogs can be both frustrating as well as very challenging. But it has to be stopped, the underlying cause diagnosed, and then treated.
But there are some other things you might want to try before all this can be done. You can place very small amounts of cayenne pepper or lemon juice to the area where your dog is licking, and this will usually stop it.
If it doe not, place a small amount of Tabasco sauce on the area, as this will work even in the most difficult of cases.
If you have a smaller dog, Elizabethan collars are also very effective. Licking in your dog is a very natural occurrence, but excessive licking is not.
Once you see the signs, take it very seriously, as scratching and biting is usually the next step that your dog takes.