Dog is Licking Everything in Sight

by Karen
(Waleska, Georgia)

Dulce is 5 years old dog and loves to lick.She will just walk around and lick the carpet, jump on the couch and lick it.When I snap my fingers at her and tell her 'no', she reaches over and gives my hand a big lick.It is virtually nonstop.I gave her raw hides and chew toys, but I have about decided I could be seeing some sort of OCD behavior.

Any ideas?

Vet Suggestion Excessive Dog Licking

Hello Karen,

It’s interesting that you bring up the topic of excessive licking in dogs at this time. A study was recently published that showed most dogs who demonstrate behavior like you describe are actually suffering from different types of gastrointestinal disorders, not obsessive-compulsive disorders like we used to think. Therefore, the first thing that needs to be done in cases like this is to rule out GI disease. At the very least, a veterinarian should perform a thorough history, physical examination, and a fecal examination.

If after these basic tests, he or she is still concerned about the possibility of a gastrointestinal problem, other diagnostics including abdominal X-rays, ultrasound, and even biopsies, can be run. How far the GI work-up goes is really up to you and your veterinarian.

If you get to the point where you are convinced that gastrointestinal disease is unlikely, you can begin to focus on the management of your dog’s licking as a behavioral problem.

Treatment centers on providing adequate outlets for your dog’s energy and attention, ignoring and/or redirecting the behavior when it does occur (any sort of attention, even reprimands, can inadvertently reinforce it), praising “good” behavior, and sometimes medications that make dogs more receptive to training.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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