OCD licking

Photo by Keith Cannataro |

Some dogs are prone to compulsive self-grooming on a particular area of the body, causing wounds to form and making them hard to heal. This is called acral lick dermatitis or lick granuloma, but licking can also occur on objects or other materials and is usually a displacement behavior that helps relieve a dog’s boredom or anxiety.

How Do I Stop My Dog from Compulsive Licking?

  • Dogs will sometimes lick 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.
  • Dogs that suffer with food or environmental allergies will often lick themselves, especially in areas of the body that come in contact with the ground, such as the paws.
  • These areas will often become red and inflamed, requiring immediate medical intervention to reduce the build-up of moisture-loving yeast or infection.
  • Give your dog more exercise and other outlets to relieve boredom or anxiety.
  • Sports, games, activity toys and dog to human play helps redirect licking behavior onto something more positive.

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