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Why Do Dogs Lick And Should You Be Worried?


Dogs lick themselves all of the time. They sometimes even have a habit of licking other things excessively but is that a regular doggish habit, or is it something that you should be worried about.

So, why do dogs lick, and should you be worried about that?

Licking is a natural habit that dogs engage in either to communicate with someone or another dog or to clean themselves. However, if they are licking themselves chronically and other issues are accompanied to this act like they are vomiting or limping, then you should be worried about your pooch.

If you want to learn about some of the reasons why dogs lock themselves, and when to start getting worried about their mental and physical health because of that habit, then make sure that you continue reading this blog post.

Why do dogs lick and should you be worried about that?

Licking is a very natural habit for dogs. They could be licking themselves to clean their bodies, or they may lick others to show their affection. In both of these cases, there is no need to be worried.

However, dogs licking themselves could sometimes be a sign that something is wrong. So here are some reasons why dogs lick:

  1. The dogs are showing affection in their own unique way.
  2. The dogs are cleaning themselves.
  3. The dogs might have allergies.
  4. The dogs might have a yeast infection
  5. The dogs are experiencing pain in their legs.
  6. The dogs have gastrointestinal issues ( GI issues).

Reason no. one: The dogs are showing affection in their own unique way

As much as we want to speak or at least understand the language of our beloved dogs, communicating verbally with them and understanding everything they say is not possible and vice verse.

Dogs can indeed understand us, which you can read more about by checking out my Can Dogs Understand Us? post.

Can dogs understand us

However, they can not understand everything we say, and the opposite is also true. One way for dogs to show their affection to us is to lick us, so if your dog licks you, it is merely their way of telling you how much they love you and how much they actually care about you.

Reason no. two: The dogs are cleaning themselves

Like cats, dogs do lick their bodies to clean themselves too. The self-hygiene routine for dogs significantly differs from ours.

However, it is entirely normal for dogs to shake away any dirt or water that is on them, then proceed to lick their bodies clean.

Reason no. three: The dogs have allergies

Sometimes, something that is a regular habit for dogs could turn out to be a sign that is something is up with your dog. For example, if you begin noticing that your beloved dog is chronically licking themselves, then this could be an indication that they might have allergies.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that could potentially be the cause of your dog’s allergies. A few of these things include the following:

  1. Food
  2. Cleaning products
  3. Pollen
  4. Weed
  5. Dust Mites
  6. Perfume
  7. Prescription Drugs
  8. Mold

Your dog might be allergic to certain foods, as well as certain chemicals that can be found in your house cleaning products. The chemicals and pesticides that are in your yard could also be the reason why your dog has allergies.

In order to know what is triggering your dog’s allergies, you have to watch them vigilantly to notice their licking patterns.

A dog walking with a human

If you notice that your four-legged best friend mostly lick themselves after they play outdoors or after a hike, then the pesticides or pollen from the grass or dust mites are the causes of your dog’s allergies.

If you want to double-check and ensure that these are the reasons why your dog has allergies, then clean or wipe your dog’s body, especially their feet after you come back home from the walk or the hike.

Reason no. four: The dogs might have yeast infections

A yeast infection is yet another reason why your dog might be chronically licking themselves. A yeast infection can be caused due to many different reasons. These include the following:

  1. Your dog has fleas and has an allergic reaction to those fleas.
  2. Allergens are the cause of this yeast infection.
  3. They have a hormonal disorder like Cushing’s Disease.
  4. Externals parasites are the cause of this yeast infection.

Reason no. five: The dogs are experiencing pain in their legs

If you begin noticing that your pooch is excessively licking their paws, then this could be a sign that they are in pain. As I have previously mentioned, be vigilant and notice how your dog acts. A few questions that you should answer include the following:

  1. Is your dog only licking one paw?
  2. Is your dog licking their paw and limping as well?

Is your dog only licking one paw?

If you notice that your pooch has been focusing on and just licking one specific paw, then this could be a sign that this paw hurts them.

This pain could be caused by a piece of broken glass that is in their paw. It could also be due to a thorn, a wound, a broken nail, or an insect bite. The most important thing is to examine the paw that they are licking properly to know what is the cause of the pain that your dog is experiencing.

Is your dog licking their paw and limping as well?

Why dogs lick and should you be worried- A dog with a broken leg

If you notice that your beloved pooch is licking a particular pooch and limping as well, but you can not see any reason why they might be doing so, then do not ignore this issue!

It is important to remember that not all sources of pain can be seen with the naked eye. Your beloved pooch might be in pain because of inflammation, a fracture, or even a muscle sprain. These are things that could be making them limp when they walk.

Reason no. six: The dogs might have gastrointestinal issues ( GI issues)

Although this is not something that one thinks of when they notice that their dogs are licking themselves excessively, especially their paws, gastrointestinal issue (GI issue) could be what is making your dog lick themselves excessively.

Other questions related to why do dogs lick and should you be worried about that

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Feet And Paws?

Your dog might be licking their paws and feet for the following reasons:

  1. The dog has GI issues (Gastrointestinal issues).
  2. The dog has allergies or a yeast infection.
  3. The dog is experiencing pain.
  4. The dog might just be bored.
  5. The dog might have anxiety.

If you are interested in learning more about these five potential reasons why your dog might be licking their feet and paws, then make sure that you check out my Why Do Dogs Lick Their Feet And Paws blog post.

Can Dogs Understand Us?

Yes, dogs are actually capable of understanding a lot if the words that we teach them when we train them. Dogs mostly rely on emotional cues to understand and even learn the words that we are attempting to teach them. 

It is fascinating how dogs can actually understand us, although we do not speak the same language. If you are curious to know how dogs understand us, then feel free to take a look at my Can Dogs Understand Us blog post.

That’s it for today’s post. You should now know that licking is a natural thing for dogs to do; however, chronic licking is sometimes a sign that something terrible is happening to your beloved dog. Here are seven reasons why dogs lick:

  1. The dogs are showing affection in their own unique way.
  2. The dogs are cleaning themselves.
  3. The dogs might have allergies.
  4. The dogs might have a yeast infection
  5. The dogs are experiencing pain in their legs.
  6. The dogs have gastrointestinal issues ( GI issues).

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