Dogs That Lick
There are certain actions and habits which your canine chum carries out that you would much rather they did not and excessive licking is high on most dog owner’s lists!
Now I know dogs will lick and it is only natural but they do not wash and clean themselves the same way that a cat does, they might lick their paws when they are wet from the rain for instance but generally they do not really do that much washing. So what causes a dog to lick and what can be done to stop the behaviour?
There are many reasons why your dog might begin licking excessively from health issues to emotional problems; we will look at the emotional side of things as this is the most common reason why a lot of dogs develop a problem. Dogs can commence a licking habit very easily and very quickly in relation to an episode in their life, perhaps their family are moving and the dog feels the tension and stress, a new baby joins the household or the dog is simply bored.
Now what starts as a casual lick of say the paw turns into an obsessive habit and the more the pooch licks the thinner the fur becomes in that area and eventually this will lead to sores forming, the sores will irritate and the dog will lick the sores because they are bothering them! You can see how quickly the small lick turns into a bigger issue, until eventually the dog simply cannot just stop licking. If your dog has reached this stage already then obviously you will need to visit your vet and have the sore looked at and your dog will probably have to wear a special collar to stop him/her licking the area whilst it heals.
As with most problems it is better to find a prevention rather than a cure so the key is to attempt to find the initial source of the problem. Look at your canine chum’s lifestyle and ask yourself if they are receiving all that they require in terms of exercise, diet and also attention. The last category is often overlooked by many owners as they feel when they have exercised their dog that is it and their duties are over for the time being, whilst this is true to an extent your dog will still appreciate the odd cuddle during the day or perhaps some indoor play and quality time with you. Dogs, like most animals, can sense a change in their owner’s mood and they do not like being ignored so take the time to say a passing ‘hello’ instead of zooming by in a cloud of dust!
If the problem is caused by stress perhaps due to an event happening in either your or your dog’s life then try to continue on with a normal, regular routine as much as you possibly can with your dog. So if you have moved house go out and about and explore new walking routes as your dog will be a very keen companion and the pair of you will be only too pleased to escape the mayhem for awhile!
Change cannot be avoided throughout your dog’s life and new situations will occur the secret is trying to balance the new events with your dog’s normal routine and lifestyle.
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