Why Your Dog Licks Too Much: Causes and Solutions

  • July 31, 2023
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Dogs are known for their endearing habit of looking, but when it becomes excessive, it raises concerns for you as a pet owner. Excessive licking in dogs can be a sign of an underlying medical issue or even a behavioural problem. In this guide, you can learn the different causes of excessive licking in dogs and also get practical solutions to address this behaviour.

Overview About Excessive Licking In Dogs

Excessive looking in dogs is all about repetitive and compulsive behaviour where your dog licks itself, other objects, or even people excessively. While licking at the natural behaviour of a dog but excessive licking might be a sign of an underlying medical condition, a behavioural problem, or just a combination of both.

Causes Of Excessive Licking

Medical Conditions

  • Dogs can develop allergies to some foods, environmental factors, or substances in their surroundings. Excessive licking might be a way for your dog to soothe the itchy or irritated skin caused due to allergies.
  • Skin infections caused due to bacteria or fungi can lead to discomfort and itchiness that will prompt your dog to lick the affected areas excessively.
  • Dogs might lick some specific areas to self-soothe or get rid of pain caused due to arthritis injuries or any other underlying health issues.
  • When your dog experiences anxiety or stress, then it might resort to excessive licking as a coping mechanism.
  • When your dog is left alone for a long time without mental or physical stimulation, then it might engage in excessive licking as a form of entertainment or just to get rid of boredom.

Behavioural Problems

  • Your dog might lick excessively to get attention from you or to seek comfort and Affection.
  • When your dog is suffering from anxiety or situational stress, then it might exhibit excessive licking as a way to cope with all these emotions.
  • When the environment changes around your dog or the routine changes, or if there are any other interactions with other pets or family members, then it can lead to stress-related licking in your dog.
  • Your dog might develop compulsive disorder like obsessive-compulsive disorder, which can manifest in repetitive behaviours like excessive licking. This behaviour might be a response to stress or anxiety and requires careful management.
  • Dogs that are not socialized well during their early development stages might exhibit excessive looking as a way to cope with unfamiliar situations.

How Can You Stop Excessive Licking?

Consult A Veterinarian

If your dog is licking excessively, then you need to consult a veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions. Although examination and appropriate tests can help you understand and treat allergies, skin infections, pain, or other health issues that are contributing to this behaviour, regular visits to the veterinarian are essential for the early detection and treatment of any potential medical conditions that can contribute towards excessive licking.

Provide Enough Exercise And Mental Stimulation

Ensuring that your dog receives enough physical exercise and mental stimulation is vital in preventing boredom and stress-related licking. Regular walks, interactive toys, and engaging playtime can keep your dog mentally and physically stimulated. 

Teach The Leave It Command

When you train your dog to respond to leave, it comes on; then, it can help redirect their focus when they start to lick excessively. It would be best if you rewarded your dogs with treats or praise when they obey the command reinforcing positive behaviour.

Consider Distracting With Toys Or Food

Whenever you observe your dog engaging in excessive licking, we can provide them with some toys or treats to redirect their attention. Interactive toys or tasty treats can distract your dog and discourage licking behaviour to a great extent.

Consider Using Bitter Apple Spray

Applying A bitter apple spray to the targeted area can deter the dog from further licking if your dog is licking themselves excessively. The bitter taste will discourage licking and help in breaking the habit with time.

Create A Safe Environment

You must provide a safe and secure environment for your dog, as it can help in minimizing stress and anxiety-related licking. You need to create a designated space where your dog feels comfortable and offer comforting items like blankets or toys. This can promote relaxation.

Diet changes 

In cases where excessive licking is linked to food allergies or sensitivities, you can modify the diet of your furry friend under the guidance of the veterinarian. This can help in improving excessive licking situations.


If your dog is excessively licking, then your doctor might recommend you go for medications. You should choose medication only after a thorough evaluation of consultation with a professional.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement training can be completely effective in redirecting your dog’s behaviour. You should praise and reward your dog for appropriate behaviour as it can help reinforce positive actions and also discourage excessive licking habits.

Minimize The Stress Triggers

You need to identify and reduce the stress trigger in your dog’s environment as it can help in minimizing anxiety and subsequently minimize excessive licking issues. 

Excessive licking in your dog can be a cause of concern, but understanding the underlying causes and implementing appropriate solutions can help in addressing this behaviour effectively what’s whether it’s a medical condition like allergies or skin infections. A comprehensive approach is critical in providing the best care for your furry friend. Consulting with the veterinarian and providing ample exercise and mental stimulation can help your dog lead a happy and healthy life. Building a strong bond with your furry friend and ensuring their overall well-being is the key to a fulfilling and joyous relationship between you and your pet.