Why dogs lick themselves and when to worry

Our team is formed for veterinarians, ethologists, and animal health content experts.

That your dog licks himself from time to time is no reason to worry. It is normal that they clean themselves daily. However, if it becomes excessive, it could mean there is a problem going on.

My dog keeps whining and licking himself

One of the most common problems associated with these types of behaviors are allergies. If your dog licks a lot between his fingers or his thighs, if he gives small bites at himself, he may be allergic.

The most common allergies are to dust, pollen, flea bites, or certain foods. In addition to the obvious itching, you may notice skin irritation, hair loss, wounds or scabs. In these cases, you should go to the veterinarian, because, without examining it, you cannot determine the cause.

My dog keeps licking herself down there

Once the diagnosis is obtained, you can begin to treat the symptoms and find a solution for what gives him allergy. For example, if it were a problem with a certain food, you should vary the diet and avoid those ingredients that produce that itch.

If your dog licks the walls or floor, he may have nausea or an upset stomach. In those cases, some dogs also drool excessively.

Before worrying, keep in mind that it must be something excessive and that it should be repeated for at least 24h. The normal thing is that it is also associated with diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite... It is normal that, on random moments, your dog licks the ground.

If your dog has the symptoms described above, you should go to the veterinarian as soon as possible, since diarrhea or repeated vomiting can cause dehydration. This is especially serious in the case of puppies, because they dehydrate much faster.

What do I do if my dog licks himself a lot?

The veterinarian is the one who must give you the pertinent indications after having examined your dog. If what he has is a skin problem, in addition to eliminating what is giving him allergy, the veterinarian will probably recommend a shampoo to help soothe the itch.

In some cases, the veterinarian may request some tests such as blood tests or skin scraps to determine the specific cause of the allergy. If what your dog presents is a stomach problem, other types of tests will be done, such as stool tests or even x-rays.

My dog keeps licking her private area and crying

Another thing that causes dogs to lick in excess is not so much associated with their health, but with their behavior. Separation anxiety, stress due to noise or changes in their environment, or simply an obsessive behavior can cause them to lick themselves, again and again, leading to injury or hair loss.

In these cases, where a health problem was dismissed, you should contact an ethologist, a veterinarian specializing in canine behavior. In addition to treating injuries,__ the cause must be treated so that this does not continue to occur__. It can be a problem of boredom that is solved with more exercise, new toys, etc. In very extreme cases, the veterinarian may consider it necessary to treat anxiety with medication or a natural product.