Why Dogs Lick
Causes of Excessive Licking in Dogs: Understand the reasons why some dogs habitually lick themselves including boredom and psychological issues. Knowing the underlying causes of licking can help you break your dog of this habit.
Causes of Excessive Licking
Constant, excessive licking is annoying to pet owners and can be potentially harmful to the dog. Some licking habits are just that - habits. Other times, excessive licking is an indication that the dog has psychological issues that need to be addressed.
Dogs have a sense of taste that is hundreds of times greater than the sense of taste in human beings, and every dog uses their tongue from time to time to taste a questionable or interesting object. In most cases the question that needs to be answered is whether or not the object is edible. Licking is also a submissive gesture, and your dog may lick you from time to time as an expression of affection and submissiveness. For some dogs, constant licking develops out of this natural habit of occasional licking to test objects and communicate with their owner.
Continual licking in dogs may also develop as a result of extreme boredom. Not unlike chewing one’s nails or biting one’s lips, constant licking may occur if a dog has nothing better to do. If the dog is not provided with a more interesting environment, the constant licking can lead to sores on the dog’s skin or health problems if the dog is constantly licking inedible materials.
For some dogs, continual licking is a result of mental problems that were either inherited or which developed at some point in the dog’s life. Dogs that are especially nervous, or fearful due to bad experiences in the past, may constantly lick as a way of soothing themselves. Inherited mental disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, can also cause a dog to constantly lick.
If your dog likes to lick, there are things that you can do to help your dog break the habit; if a mental problem has caused the licking, there are prescription medications that may help your dog with this condition.