Thursday, December 9, 2010


While licking is part of a pet’s normal grooming behavior, too much can lead to hair loss, infection or skin damage. Pets get into licking cycles for a variety of reasons. Some have allergies, others are merely upset -- because of a recent move or because there’s another pet in the household, for example. Here are some tips to help your pet dry out:

-Keep a ‘Lick Diary’: To help your vet get to the root of the problem, start keeping track of your pet’s licking -- when it began, what’s happening at the time, how long it lasts and whether other pets in the family are affected. The more you can tell your vet, the more likely it is that he’ll find a solution.

-Light, camera, -- lick: Since your pet probably won’t lick on command at the vet’s office, it’s a good idea to make a videotape showing her in the act. This will help the vet figure out what’s wrong.

-Look for culinary culprits: Pets that are allergic to certain foods may get skin irritation and turn to licking. Try putting your pet on a different food -- then notice if the licking stops.

-Keep her honest: You’ll never find out if your pet has food allergies if she’s wandering the neighborhood and mooching from neighbors. You need strict control to determine food allergies.

-Try an OTC: Pet stores sell topical anti-licking ointments. Bitter apple is recommended, but other flavors may be equally effective.

-Get her paws moving: Some pets go into licking because they don’t have anything else to do. Taking your pet out for regular workouts will channel her energy in a healthier direction.

Although some licking is normal, occasionally pets will lick themselves so vigorously and for such a long time that they damage the underlying tissue. The resulting sores can lead to serious infections. If your pet is licking a lot and her skin seems red and sore, call the vet right away.

*These tips are home remedies only and should not ever be used as a substitute for any treatment that may have been prescribed by your veterinarian. If your pet has a medical problem, we urge you to seek competent medical care.

Alice England


Cody's Closet said...

Cody is almost cat like in the way he licks or cleans himself. Fortunately it is just Cody and nothing more serious.

AngelPups said...

Great info as always, Alice! Molly had a licking phase and it turned out she had a wound that was hidden under her hair...if she hadn't licked at it excessively I might not have noticed it!

Art and Sew Forth said...

Good post. Toby was licking his paws terribly this summer to the point of being raw. Turned out he did have a seasonal allergy. He's fine now!

Giupetto and Gianna Tails said...

Great post Alice,
Giupetto does lick his paws, and I know it is allergy time. It is also about the same time I start sneezing too, and seems to come with the change of the seasons.
Vet also mentioned wiping his paws clean when he comes in from outside. He also had a food allergy and the licking then was terrible, but we changed his food, so just deal with the seasonal ones now.
Thanks for the post.

Three Wishes Collective said...

great post! i didn't know it could be related to food allergies until I looked it up for Velvet. I think she must be allergic to banannas.