Why does my dog lick itself repeatedly?

Repeated licking in pets may be due to many existing conditions in the animal. Itchiness is one of them and the presence of a wound can be another major cause. Boredom and skin allergies as well are certainly among the many other reasons that may lead to the repeated licking by your dog.

When your pet begins to lick a certain part of his skin especially where there is a wound, the act may actually be a cause for further deterioration. This excessive leaking may lead to other dangerous conditions such as: pyoderma (deep infection of the skin), hyper pigmentation (the dog’s skin becomes dark or somewhat black) and licking granuloma (chronic condition that involves the thickening of the skin accompanied by hair loss). In rare occasions, dogs may get accustomed to the licking habit and may continue to do such even when the problem causing him to lick is long gone.

Normally, excessive licking intensifies when the pet owner does not attend to the dog’s wounds in a timely manner. The dog will begin to feel some degree of itchiness on his wounded area due to a probable infection arising on the spot. If left untreated, the infection may worsen as the dog still continues to excessively lick the wounded area. Your dog is just like any other pet; hence it is prone to hurting or injuring himself. When an injury does occur, make sure you have an emergency medical kit to treat his wounds. Disinfecting the wound will be the first step in wound management. Next, you should cover the wound with a sterile bandage to ensure that he will not be able to lick the area.

Repeated licking is a serious problem in dogs and it should be reported to the vet the moment it is noticed. The treatment for this problem is usually straightforward and resolves the problem in no time. Moreover, the licking may put the dog’s health at high risk and at times may lead to other diseases that are associated with viral and bacterial infections. Your vet is well equipped with the know how to determine what is causing the repeated licking. Even after eliminating this problem, he will also assess whether the dog has been used to the idea of licking himself or not. When the dog has got accustomed to the licking habit, the vet will take other necessary measures to ensure that he stops licking himself.

Licking is quite normal when it comes to dogs but at times when the condition gets out of hand you must take the dog to the vet. Sometimes, the cause may just be nits on the dog’s skin and surely they cause itchiness to your dog. Thus, you really can’t blame them for doing the act. He will continue to lick himself as a way of relieving the itchiness. In this case, the licking may not be that harmful to the dog but he will certainly be facing a problem in the future if this turns into a habit. In simple terms, excessive licking should indicate that the dog has got a health problem one way or another.


This pet health article is for reference only.

If your pet is showing any symptoms or distress, and you suspect your pet is ill CONTACT YOUR VET IMMEDIATELY.