Why Do Dogs Lick Themselves

Why Do Dogs Lick Themselves


Welcome, dear caregivers! You’re probably here because you’ve noticed a peculiar behavior in your furry friends – they lick themselves quite a lot. And you’re wondering, ‘why do dogs lick themselves?’ Don’t fret! In this article, we will dive into this canine behavior and demystify it for you.

Reasons Dogs Lick Themselves

  1. Cleaning: Dogs are clean animals, and licking is one way they groom themselves.
  2. Healing: Dogs instinctively lick wounds as it helps to clean the area and speed up the healing process.
  3. Comfort: Licking releases endorphins, which can help your pup feel calm and comfortable.

When Licking Becomes Excessive

While occasional licking is normal, excessive licking can be a sign of underlying health issues. Here are three main reasons for concern:

  • Allergies: Dogs can be allergic to a wide range of substances, from certain foods to environmental allergens like dust mites or pollen.
  • Pain: If your dog is licking a specific area excessively, they might be trying to soothe a painful spot.
  • Anxiety or Boredom: Dogs often lick themselves excessively when they’re anxious or bored.
Possible Cause Signs Action
Allergies Redness, swelling, frequent sneezing Consult a vet
Pain Limping, loss of appetite Seek immediate vet attention
Anxiety/Boredom Destructive behavior, changes in appetite Provide more physical/mental stimulation

How to Stop Excessive Licking

Here’s what you can do to help your furry friend:

  • Identify the Cause: The first step is to identify the root cause. This often involves a trip to the vet.
  • Provide Adequate Stimulation: Regular exercise and mental stimulation can relieve boredom and anxiety.
  • Use Dog-friendly Distractions: Dog toys or chews can distract your dog from licking.

When to Seek Veterinary Help

If your dog’s licking is causing sores, if they are licking a specific spot excessively, or if their licking behavior has suddenly increased, it’s time to seek veterinary help.


  1. Is it normal for dogs to lick themselves?
    Yes, occasional licking is a normal behavior for dogs.

  2. When should I be concerned about my dog licking themselves?
    You should be concerned if the licking is excessive, causing sores, or if the dog is licking a specific spot excessively.

  3. Can I stop my dog from licking themselves?
    You cannot stop a dog from licking themselves completely as it’s a natural behavior. However, excessive licking can be managed with the help of a vet.

  4. What can cause a dog to lick a specific spot excessively?
    Pain, irritation, or allergies could cause a dog to lick a specific spot excessively.

  5. Can anxiety cause a dog to lick themselves excessively?
    Yes, anxiety can lead to excessive licking in dogs. Regular exercise and mental stimulation can help alleviate this.