Is your dog licking her paws or other parts of her body all the time? Why do some dogs lick themselves so much? This page looks at some common causes of excessive licking in dogs, and how natural remedies such as herbs, homeopathy, and supplements may help.
Why is my dog licking herself all the time? This is a question that many dog owners have. It is of course normal for dogs to lick themselves sometimes, but if the licking is becoming excessive, it may be an indication that the dog is suffering from some underlying physical or emotional problems.
For this reason, it is important for dog parents to understand some of the possible causes of excessive licking in dogs.
If you cannot identify the cause of your dog's excessive licking, it may be a good idea to take her to a vet for a check-up. Only by properly identifying and tackling the underlying cause can we stop our dog from licking, chewing, and scratching herself excessively.
If your dog is constantly licking herself, check to see if she has any skin problems caused by:
If your dog starts licking after being exposed to some sort of allergens, such as antibiotics for the skin, chemicals, cigarette smoke, pollen, food (yes - don't forget that dogs may also become allergic to their food), etc., then chances are she licks because the allergen is causing itch and discomfort to her skin.
One way for the dog to alleviate the itchy feeling is by licking, skin chewing, and scratching. If your dog is licking and scratching persistently, check to see if she has fleas.
If you cannot find any skin irritations or problems that may have caused your dog's constant licking, here are other possibilities to consider:
When they are injured, they lick the wounds to promote self-heal by boosting blood flow. Also, licking creates moisture, which produces a form of topical anesthesia when it evaporates.
They also lick their sore spots even if there is no open wound (e.g. sore joints, a pulled muscle). If your dog licks a particular area excessively and persistently, check to see if he has a cut, bruise, or swelling.
Also, according to Dr. Dobias, DVM, dog collars can cause damage to the nerves supplying the front legs if the dog pulls constantly on the leash. This can lead to an abnormal sensation in the feet and dogs may start licking their front paws. Removing the collar (and using a harness instead) and treating the neck injury may stop the licking.
Over time, this licking behavior can develop into an obsession. In extreme cases, this may cause baldness and skin lesions to form.
Sometimes persistent and focused dog licking can cause hair loss, serious lesions and sores, resulting in a condition called lick granulomas (a.k.a. acral lick dermatitis).
Lick granulomas can lead to hard-to-heal infections that can be extremely painful.
If your dog continues to lick one specific part of his body excessively, pay careful attention and stop the licking before it causes damage.
While you are working with a vet to figure out the underlying cause of your dog's excessive licking, you can consider using some of the following natural remedies to stop the licking.
Chamomile is a very effective and safe calming herb that can be given to dogs who are stressed out. One easy way is to make a cup of chamomile tea, let it cool down and then add some of the tea to your dog's food. (About one to four teaspoon depending on the size of the dog.)
Other relaxing herbs including St. John's wort, skullcap, and oat.
This remedy contains Oat, Skullcap, St. John's Wort, and more, and can effectively calm an anxious dog that exhibits unwanted behaviors such as licking.
Some dog parents have found this Obsession Solution effective in stopping their pets' obsessive behaviors such as paw licking.
Healthy wholesome food can also strengthen the dog's immune system, resulting in healthier skin and therefore less licking!