SlimDoggy Mythbuster | Do Dogs Lick to Heal Themselves?
Today we are looking at the common belief that a dog will lick a wound in order to heal it and that it actually helps heal a wound. Well, truth be told, that’s not a total myth. A dog will lick a cut and in doing so he may help to keep it clean and free from dirt. In that respect it may be helping the wound to heal. But licking can also be a sign of trouble, especially when it takes on an obsessive characteristic.
Let’s look at when licking behavior is a good thing, and when it is a bad thing:
- Our Becca had very bad arthritis in her paws and I knew when she started licking her paws they were bothering her and I could increase her arthritis pain medication to give her some relief.
- When Jack started licking his private parts (obsessively) I knew something was going on and sure enough, we determined he was developing Hormone-responsive incontinence – fairly common in seniors – but easily treated with a low levels of medication.
- Dogs with skin allergies or other irritations caused by an underlying illness may exhibit symptoms in the form of itching, but also of licking and they may lick their paws or limbs or wherever they can reach excessively.
- A dog left alone all day or not given enough mental stimulation may lick excessively from boredom or anxiety – think of it like people who bite their nails.
- Dogs will also chew, scratch and lick when suffering from parasites.
In order to determine the root cause of your dog’s licking, you have to do a little detective work, but once you know, it can be easily addressed.
Why Dogs Lick, Dogs that Lick, Ask Victoria Stilwell
Dogs and Compulsive Scratching, Licking, and Chewing