Why Does My Dog Chew and Lick So Much?
Dogs are a great addition to any home, but sometimes a dog's bad habits can cause problems. One of the most common problems owners face is constant or excessive licking and chewing by their dog.
The good news is that there are many reasons why your dog may be licking and chewing excessively, and several of them are pretty simple to resolve. Not all of these reasons are health concerns, so it is essential to identify the reason for your dog's behavior before attempting to correct it.
Some of the most common reasons your dog may be excessively licking and chewing include allergies, illness, stress, or boredom. Below we will review each of the reasons in detail.
It's not uncommon for a dog to develop allergies to flea bites, food ingredients or pollen, and other outdoor allergens. If a dog is allergic to something they are ingesting, such as the ingredients in their food, they will often lick and chew at their paws more so than other areas of their body. Many dogs may also lick and chew their feet because of allergies or irritation from something stuck between the paws' toes or pads. It's always best to check these areas thoroughly after your dog has been outside in order to remove any grass seeds before they become embedded deeper into the skin.
Parasites, such as fleas, ticks, and mites, can infest your dog's skin, which leads to itching and pain. Your dog will try to soothe the itch by licking and chewing at himself. This can also lead to hair loss and skin infections.
Boredom or Stress
Sometimes dogs lick and chew when they're bored or stressed. Try entertaining your dog with interactive toys, like food-dispensing toys, which can keep him mentally stimulated for hours. And if he is often left alone for extended periods, consider a dog walker or doggy daycare to give him some company during the day.
Underlying Medical Issues
Dogs with liver disease may develop a condition called hepatocutaneous syndrome, where they will excessively lick their skin on the abdomen and limbs. Infections (fungal or bacterial), parasites, hormonal imbalances, and some cancers can also cause dogs to excessively lick or chew at their skin. Suppose your dog has other symptoms such as lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or weight loss, and excessive licking or chewing of his skin. In that case, it is time for a trip to the veterinarian for an examination.
Not all excessive licking and chewing are related to medical problems, but it is good to take your dog to the vet to rule out any medical conditions where possible.
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