Urban, lonely and boring, they are features of the profile of dogs that lick themselves uncontrollably until they injure themselves
Most dogs that lick or scratch a part of their body, such as a paw, do so due to behavioural problems associated with boredom, loneliness, and a lack of environmental stimuli. A dog with compulsive licking can cause wounds and sores but, even so, it will continue with the same behaviour because it cannot avoid it. Below are the causes of compulsive licking in dogs , as well as solutions and a robot portrait of dogs with this behaviour problem.
Causes of compulsive licking in dogs
Playing more, varying the routine and stimulating the five senses are ways to prevent and correct compulsive behaviors in the dog. The dog chooses an area of its body and spends long periods licking itself, to the point that it becomes wounded and bald. Is it normal behaviour? No. A dog exhibiting this behaviour may have a psychological problem, and the sooner this behaviour disorder is found out and treated, the more quickly he will regain his well-being.
The boredom of the dog and the Separation anxiety are two of the most common reasons why a dog can develop a problem that is reflected in its skin, caused by its licking.
However, the veterinarian should rule out that the skin lesions are caused by diseases such as eczema or allergies.
Bored and not stimulated dogs
Misinformation about the needs of the dog to achieve its psychological well-being causes the confusion of thinking that a dog needs the same lifestyle as that of a person. Our dogs are too humanized and are not offered the stimuli and environment they need to be happy and feel good, which creates situations of high frustration.
This canine lifestyle is the breeding ground for compulsive behaviours like uncontrolled licking.
Dog owners play a fundamental role in helping their animals regain their psychological balance. first finding out the deficiencies that the dog may have and enriching its life and environment.
But how to help the dog that licks compulsively at home? Here are some guidelines.
Increase playing time with the dog
Interaction with the dog is essential for him to feel integrated with his human family. Being absent from home to comply with the usual obligations is inevitable, but it is important that during free time the dog is played .
Activities as simple as throwing a ball or hiding it so that the dog can retrieve it help the animal to reconnect with its canine nature and to strengthen ties with its owners.
Accessories such as the kong (a food toy) help fill the dog’s lonely hours, but are not a substitute for play with their owners. Keep in mind that boredom is the breeding ground for the dog to develop behaviours such as uncontrolled licking.
Breaking the routine and looking for a diverse schedule of activities
Changing the usual itinerary of the walk or doing different activities with the dog, such as field trips or hiking , help to keep the dog’s mind active and to be balanced.
If you live in the city, it is advisable to take a walk with the dog through the urban area with more activity, noise and crowds of people. Although, it is true that it can be somewhat stressful for the dog, it will break with its routine and stop boredom.
Offer the dog a diet that satisfies its nature
A satisfied sense of taste keeps the dog happier and, to achieve this, certain variations can be introduced to its diet to suit its canine needs, such as nibbling and savoring a cow cane bone.
The rest of the dog’s senses can also be stimulated to achieve its well-being and guarantee the psychological balance that avoids the anxiety that results in compulsive licking. Those dogs like and relaxing music and a massage will activate your sense of touch and strengthen the relationship with their owners.
Treat licking wounds with a disinfectant
Wounds produced by the uncontrolled licking of a dog suffering from anxiety heal when the dog stops handling the area. In the meantime, the dog’s wounds can be disinfected with a diluted iodine solution and a collar can also be placed on the dog to prevent it from licking more.
Robot portrait of a dog that licks compulsively
Dogs that are too lonely and bored are candidates for compulsive licking
The profile of a dog that presents compulsive licking is characterized by being: urban, boring, living in a family with few members (one or two) and with owners who are absent many hours from home for work. This robot portrait is common in dogs and there are those who need treatment with psychotropic drugs to reduce their anxiety.
A dog can become so depressed that it refuses to eat and is invaded by sadness until it allows itself to die, if it does not receive care and treatment to alleviate its psychological problem, adds the animal psychiatrist.
For this reason, compulsive licking in the dog is an alert that owners should not ignore and go to the vet to assess the situation.