questionshow do you deal with a dog who constantly licks…


This feels like yet another troll post, so I am going to give a short answer and see if the OP comes back.

Dogs lick for a variety of reasons, but probably the most common and easily controllable is allergies. They will also lick for self-comfort (which can be anxiety or just relaxation), because the part of their body they are licking is in pain, or it seems to me it's sometimes just something to do when they are bored that won't get them in trouble, sort of a chewing substitute.

If you respond with some details I'll see if I can be of any help.


Nonstop licking is likely a behavioral problem, though it can also be indicative of health problems. My family has a vet clinic, and through helping out there over my lifetime, I've seen licking problems be anything from kidney-related to vitamin-related to licking because of some hidden pain to just being high strung and needing doggie-prozac. You really should speak to your vet about this and/or get a referral to an animal behavioral specialist. You could also really easily google search your issue, and you'd get plenty of good-reading search results starting with this, this, and this.

Good luck!


Consult your vet. Vet will determine if it is health related or some other cause as suggested previously--boredom, comfort, anxiety, etc-- and can recommend appropriate treatment. A trained professional actually seeing the dog 'in person' is obviously where to start.


Our little chihuahua kept shredding his nails to the point that they were sharp and would look all frayed. So I put that stuff for young kids, No Nail Bite, which is a bitter nail polish type product - non toxic. I painted the no bite on my chihuahua's nails and oh boy did he not like the taste.

It took several weeks but we were able to end up curbing the behavior about 3 quarters of the time. We now use the product only in rare occasions and for the most part he only nibbles now.

As for licking, it might work too unless your dog likes the taste.


Both my dogs have problems with allergies, which result in a lot of licking and chewing, especially on their feet. We spend a small fortune on medications, but there's very little change. They're both pretty miserable much of the year.

For many dogs, though, constant licking/grooming behaviors are what amount to neuroses.


Record the pet and post on youtube.

My mom has a dog that licks the galvanized fence, very funny. It did it since she got it, and the dog is healthy, getting a bit old (the dog not the licking) still hilarious.


Lick back. Don't just take a licking.


Just as long as it isn't a flag pole in the Winter, or you'll really have a problem!


It could be a sign of submission. I do not let my Rottweiler lick us incessantly because an overly submissive dog can become an overly protective dog which is not a good behavior to have in a large working dog. If your dog is a working dog (Rotty, GSD, St. Bernard, lab, malamute, husky, etc) you should be taking into account all of his behaviors as well as yours. Working dogs thrive under a rigid, rule-bound environment. They do not like ambiguity and will step up as leader if presented with it. Make sure you are not treating him like a human (lying on furniture, in your bed, eating from the table or yur plate) and that you are not acting like a dog (lying on the floor with him, wrestling, etc). Also ensure you are in control of all things and that he knows it (have regular feeding times, don't let him pull toys away and "win", always demand a task before a treat (could be as simple as a shake, lay, roll over). Finally, working dogs love and need jobs, as well as mental stimulation.


Keep your pants on. Unless you like that sort of thing.


@magic cave: Have you tried dietary changes? There are some kibbles which have only a handful of ingredients that are intended to use as a "cooling off" period for dogs with food allergies. Then you can introduce other foods in a controlled test and see if they react. "Just Four" comes to mind but I know there are others. Here are a couple of articles:

That second website may be of use to you if you are not familiar with it. I'm having a licking problem at home right now, Simba's obsessing over a little nodule on his ankle that he has badly irritated so he's in the cone today with silver nitrate (?) on it. I was hoping not to have to take him to the vet again, as I have dropped over $2,000 on two unrelated vet issues for him since late January and my bank account badly needs a break.


@moondrake: Your bank account issues sound like mine. We have two elderly (age 13) poodles; one has chronic ear infections, both have allergies, and both are on Rimadyl for arthritis. Our vet bills have sky-rocketed in the last six months.

The dog with the worse allergies also has myriad little wart-like growths that itch. We've had several removed surgically, but the biggest problem is that they're spread into the pads of all four feet. He chews and licks frantically, the moist skin leads to both bacterial and fungal infections, which lead to more licking and chewing.

We tried -- rather ineffectively -- to do diet-controlled allergy testing a couple of years ago. I'm not familiar with the sites you listed and will definitely check them out.

Side note: I see you evidently called it correctly -- the OP seems not to have bothered to return, but it turned out to be an interesting note-stream anyway!

Thanks again!


@magic cave: Advantage: No guilt hijacking an abandoned thread. Have you thought about keeping shoes on your guy? I don't know if that would help or exacerbate the problem. I live in a very dry climate so my world is different from most people's. Simba's only 6, but that's getting up there for a Dane, they are widely reputed to have only 7-8 years lifespans. I have been lucky so far and managed to get them to 12-13, so I am hoping Simba's really only middle-aged. But I do have to be watching for aging issues. Unfortunately the home cure didn't work, although I have been successful at keeping him off it by use of a cone when I am at work and a tube sock gartered with electric tape over the bandage when I am at home, it is still red and bloody. Posted photos to the GD forum and no one had a clue. Off to the vet in the morning. Hopefully it will not be too bad. Good luck with your babies. Elderly pets are a ticking time bomb of heartbreak. Also a profound gift.


@moondrake: Funny you should mention shoes. I thought about that a day or two ago, and as soon as we can get the worst of the probem under termporary control so I can put him on a piece of paper to measure for shoe size that will be my next effort.

This tip comes from a friend who's a former professional dog trainer. It was actually about mosquito bites on people, but perhaps it would be worth trying on Simba. Heat tends to deactivate itchiness, so wet a corner of a washcloth with water as hot as you can get it, then press it against the bite for as long as you/Simba can stand it it; even five seconds helps. This will make the itching much more intense for just a few momemts and then should stop the itching for several hours. I've tested it on The Spouse,and it seems to work.

Cheap and fits into my "can't hurt, might help" Rule of Life. Let me know if you try it and if it works.