Both obsessive and compulsive licking is actually quite common in domestic dogs. It is estimated that up to five percent (seven in some breeds) of dogs have it. There are also additional reasons dogs may lick their owners, themselves or random objects. These can include showing affection, triggering an endorphin hit and out of habit. In this article, we take a look at how to make your dog quit licking.
There are a number of ways to get your dog to stop licking things. These range from a number of discouraging spray products, anti-licking muzzles, and training methods. These methods can be used by almost anyone to quickly get their dog to stop licking so much.
Why Does My Dog Keep Licking Everything
Prevention is almost always better than cure so understanding why your dog wants to lick can make this process easier. These main reasons can be broken down into the two main groups of behavioral issues and medical issues.
- Enjoyable Taste
- Soothing Sensation
- Calming Sensation
- Gastrointestinal Issues
How To Make Your Dog Quit Licking Things
Prevention is often better than cure and understanding why your dog licks may help you stop it. For example, some dog owners will run with their dogs as a form of exercise. After the run, the dog craves salt and takes to licking the owner’s arms for their sweat. This can develop into a habit with the dog licking their owner’s arm even when they aren’t sweating.
An easy fix for this is to give your dog an energy supplement after your run. This can help refill your dog’s electrolytes quickly and prevent the need to lick your arms for salt. During the transition period, it can help if you wear a long sleeved shirt to help prevent temptation.
Pet Deterrent Sprays
One of the best treatments for obsessive dog licking is a pet deterrent spray. They are excellent if your dog keeps licking its fur or random objects such as furniture. They are non-toxic and safe for your pets while proving highly effective.
Simply spray the area your dog keeps licking, chewing, or gnawing and let the spray do its thing. The bitter taste of the spray helps to discourage your dog from lickings and over time it helps break the dog’s habit. Multiple dog owners have reported that once their dog’s habit of licking has been broken, they don’t go back to licking once you stop using the spray.
Anti-Licking Dog Muzzle
Anti-licking dog muzzles seem to split the opinions of dog owners. On one hand, they have proven to be very effective at stopping your dog from licking or biting. On the other, some owners feel they are cruel and require you to remove then for feeding. Whereas deterrent sprays are set and forget, spray it on your dog each day and it is free to get on with its daily routine.
Take Advantage Of Citrus
The bitter taste of citrus peels can be used to your advantage to help you get your dog to stop licking. Simply sprinkle some on the item of furniture that your dog keeps licking. Over time your dog will usually decide to give up on licking that location. The main bad point of this is that your dog may just go to a new location to lick.
There are a number of different citrus peels that you can use for this, you may already have some in your home.
How To Stop A Dog From Licking Himself
Although having your dog lick itself can be undesirable, it is simply in its nature as a method of cleaning itself. Both male and female dogs have this instinct with some breeds displaying it more than others. As this instinct has developed over thousands of years, it is very hard to shake.
It is NOT advised that you apply any anti-licking sprays or citrus peels to your dog’s privates. There is not enough fur to protect your dog’s sensitive skin and this can actually cause harm to your dog.
Some dog owners have reported some success using cones or e-collars. They are not necessarily used to prevent the dog from licking themselves though. They are used as a way of correctional training. When you catch your dog licking itself, put a cone on it for ten minutes. Your dog will begin to associate licking itself to having the cone put on and most dogs hate wearing a cone.
My Dog Obsessively Licks Its Paws
Although dogs licking or chewing their paws is pretty common, it can actually cause some long-term problems. The pads on your dog’s feet are not designed to be wet or damp so much and constant licking can make the condition worse.
Common reasons your dog may lick its paws include:-
- Hormonal imbalance
- Dry skin
- Deicing Salts
- Cold weather
Some people have had some success using different physical restains such as e-collars as a way to stop their dog from licking or chewing their paws. That said if you have a dog breed that has legs in proportion to their body they can probably still get to their paws.
There are also a number of different anti-yeast powders designed specifically for dogs. These can be effective in treating some of the underlying conditions that cause your dog to lick its paws but not all of them.
Our recommendation is to seek professional veterinary assistance. Your local vet will be able to diagnose the exact reason your dog keeps licking or chewing its paws and provide a specific treatment for the condition. This is definitely the best way to go as it will stop the condition getting worse. Over time, if left un-treat extensive paw licking and chewing can even have an effect on your dog’s ability to walk. In our opinion, it’s simply not worth the risk so we advise you get your dog to the vets as soon as possible.