How to Stop Dog Licking Habits
Dogs are basically complex creatures. While many are convinced that they are easier to handle than cats, dogs can exhibit certain traits and behaviors that can frustrate a dog owner.
In any case, dogs need to be trained to control themselves and, ultimately, prevent themselves from keeping dirty habits.
For many dog owners, incessant licking can be just one of many habits that are too hard to handle. This is because every since they were pups, dogs have developed the habit of using their tongue for a wide range of reasons.
Whatever these reasons are, you cannot simply let your dog off, especially if the habit becomes all too annoying.
But why do dogs even lick themselves? That is one question you need to answer before you can even address the problem. So, here are some of the reasons.
Cleanliness. From birds to cats to dogs, animals keep themselves clean using their mouths. In the case of dogs, licking themselves is their way of taking a bath. Your dog probably spends a lot of time frolicking around the house and going to places where dirt and dust settle.
Of course, being a dog, his instinct drives him to these places. His instincts also tell him to tidy himself up, which leads us to the licking. Your dog surprisingly wants to rid himself of grime, but the only way he can do that is to stick his tongue out and sweep all the dirt away from his fur.
But being his owner, you know cleanliness more than him, and you know as well that licking can only make your dog dirtier than he currently is.
Parasites. Ticks and motes can also be the reason why your dog keeps on licking himself. Aside from biting critical areas around his body, your dog will also use his tongue as a makeshift comb that can keep hi fur free from invaders however small. But no matter how hard they try, parasites will keep coming back .
For this, you need to make use of safe dermatological products that will throw the parasites away for good.
Skin diseases and infections. Does your dog keep licking himself in places he’s not supposed to, like the crotch area? Apparently, this also means that your dog has a skin disease of some sort and that he is licking himself as a form of relief. Dermatitis, mange and skin rashes can lead your dog to incessant licking if they are not treated early on.
Powders and other skin products may do the trick, but it will be safer to consult with your vet on what treatment can work for your dog.
Anxiety. Habits often function as coping mechanisms, especially if a dog has undergone great stress and anxiety at one point. For instance, a dog that has just experienced being away from his owner the first time will find that licking himself takes his mind from the separation.
One explanation for this is that a dog associated happiness and fun with the presence of his owner. They become desperate when the owner leaves the house, hence giving him ample reasons to be bored.
In this case, you should leave your dog with his favorite toys to distract him from the loneliness and keep him from his bad habit.
Whatever the reason is, it is very important for a dog owner to understand the habit rather than resort to drastic means like kicking and scolding. The reasons can either be biological or psychological, and responsible owners should consider both when incessant licking becomes an annoying problem.