Help! My Dog Licks Too Much!!
Do you have a dog that won’t stop licking people or other things?
A large number of people don’t like being licked by their own dog.
A larger number of people have no desire to be licked by their own or anyone else’s dog.
Let’s face it, dog oral health isn’t exactly what it should be to maintain cleanliness and good breath.
And, that old wives tale about your dog’s mouth being cleaner than your own mouth… well it is just an old wives tail.
People not only don’t lick themselves or eat poop, most people brush their teeth at least once a day. This means that your mouth, is indeed cleaner.
Dogs can also pass parasites to their humans through their saliva.
I for one don’t want to get Giardia or Roundworms.
Roundworms can actually migrate to the liver, lungs, brain and eyes of humans.
Which means it is essential that dogs be taught to keep their tongues to themselves (especially around children) they should also be treated monthly and dewormed (often included with heartworm prevention) to avoid any chance of Roundworms.
But many people have questions about dogs that seem to be orally fixated, and I want to address some of those in this article.
Your Dog Lick EVERYTHING!
There are dogs that literally seem to lick everyone and everything in their environment, including themselves, other cats or dogs in the home, inanimate objects and their humans (more on that in a minute).
Your Dog Licks Himself.
Many times this starts with an itch or a slight injury and progresses from there.
Licking can relieve itching or pain for a short time.
However continued licking can cause severe injury and infection.
Many times, this once innocent act becomes an obsessive habit.
And, obsessive habits are never good.
If you want to watch videos on just how you can control your dog’s obsessive habits like licking, click here.
I have seen, in veterinary medicine, dogs lick through their skin and muscle and down to the bone.
I have also seen dogs that were so obsessive that they chewed their own toes off.
The truth is, continual licking of himself is not good.
I don’t mind my dog licking his feet, or wherever else for a brief period of time, I do not however allow him to lick for long periods of time.
If your dog has just started this habit, take him to the vet and have him examined. He might have an injury or an allergy or dermatitis. They can also give you a collar, or suggest that your dog wear a T-shirt or socks until his skin heals.
Either way constant licking of himself (or another pet in the house) will eventually cause infection because the skin becomes irritated and then cannot have the chance to dry out, this often causes sores and possible pustules that will need treatment.
If this is just beginning and your dog hasn’t had an allergy or an injury that he is licking, he might just be licking out of boredom.
Boredom licking can quickly lead to severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder if it is not treated.
Thankfully, boredom is easy to treat!
Take your dog on a long run, a long hike, or some other extensive exercise.
I am not talking about a quick walk around the block or a measly mile.
I am talking about an activity, physical and mental that will exhaust your dog.
If your dog is exhausted, he will be too tired to lick himself or anyone or anything else.
***If you absolutely cannot get this behavior under control, consider speaking to your vet or a boarded veterinary behaviorist about an anti-anxiety drug therapy with a behavior modification program.
Your Dog Licks YOU
I, personally, don’t like a dog that licks me either.
I have taught my dogs that they can lick toward my face first thing in the morning as I lean in and say kiss (because they both wanted that).
You see, licking is often a submissive and happy behavior for dogs.
Dogs lick in greeting and as a way to show respect.
So yelling at your dog for licking, is pointless and will probably cause more licking and possibly other bad behaviors like submissive peeing.
This is why I allow my dogs to greet me in the morning.
I recognize, that as a different species, it can be important for them to show some of the instinctual behaviors that they were given at birth.
But I certainly don’t want to be licked all of the time!
So, I do a few simple things.
I don’t yell a lot.
Yelling brings on submissive licking as an act of appeasement.
I really don’t believe in yelling, as it is!
And, if I am around a dog that wants to lick, I give it something else to do as soon as it starts wanting to lick me.
If every time a dog gets up on me and starts to lick I work on “place” or “spot” or down stay at my feet, it is likely that very quickly the dog will give up this behavior fairly quickly.
The problem is that most people are not consistent when it comes to training their puppy.
They allow licking sporadically until it begins to irritate them and then they yell (making the licking worse).
By allowing the dog to lick or orally stimulate himself you are creating a bad habit from the start.
I simply don’t allow my dog to start licking.
A quick trick for puppies is to use a little bitter apple spray if you have an overly “licky” puppy.
This trick makes your puppy think that you taste terrible and he is less and less likely to lick you as long as you are consistent with using the product for several weeks.