Flank Sucking

Photo by Keith Cannataro | www.mrhoni-photography.com

Photo by Keith Cannataro | www.mrhoni-photography.com

'Flank sucking' is prevalent among larger breeds such as Dobermans and Weimeraners. When nursing puppies are weaned from their mothers, some will still seek out objects they can suck on as a way to self-soothe. This behavior normally disappears when the pup grows, but some dogs continue to suck on their own flanks or objects (such as blankets) into adulthood.


How Can I Stop My Dog from Sucking on His Flank or a Blanket?

  • Dogs will sometimes bite at, lick, or suck an area of the body that is causing them pain or discomfort. In some cases, the pain can be referred pain from elsewhere in the body, but is soothed with the dog licking a seemingly unrelated area. A full medical investigation is needed to determine if the behavior is exacerbated by a medical condition.
  • This behavior usually does not require intervention unless the sucking causes a wound on your dog’s body. If this is the case, then dress the wound appropriately and prevent the behavior from occurring with constant supervision and redirection onto something more positive if the behavior occurs.
  • If you are unable to supervise your dog all day, a surgical collar worn around the head is one of the best ways to deter him from indulging in the behavior while you are absent. Once the wound has healed, encourage your dog to indulge in other behaviors that will soothe him in a more positive and less destructive way.
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