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Compulsive licking

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by Michele83, Dec 13, 2018.

  1. Michele83

    Michele83 Active Member Registered

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    Hi all

    Does anyone have experience with dogs licking a particular spot on their body a bit too much?

    My 8-month-old whippet has been licking the front of her front legs (the spot over the elbow) on both legs and has developed a small bald patch on each. It happened once before and I used Grannick's apply spray and the hair grew back. But a few weeks after that she's started licking again. I've done a lot of research and I know this can lead to acral lick dermatitis/granuloma in extreme cases, so I'm taking it very seriously. Things to note/things I've done so far:

    1) Still using Grannick's apple spray regularly to stop her licking it - this works but would be nice if I didn't have to do this forever, and also I'm concerned the spray is making the skin redden
    2) She has two walks per day of 30 mins each and she also has lots of puzzle toys which I give her regularly
    3) She is well-loved and has a lot of cuddles
    4) She's a confident and extremely friendly dog with no behavioural problems other than this, and is a very calm dog despite her young age.
    2) I am currently making sure she's always got a chew toy when she lies to to rest or clean herself so she has something to occupy her mouth if she wants it

    Has anyone experienced a phase of this, that went away? *hopeful!*
     
  2. Ari_RR

    Ari_RR Well-Known Member Registered

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    We experienced this exact problem, which did not go away on its own and led to lick granuloma.

    We tried all kinds of things, but the only way we managed to stop licking was by keeping the leg wrapped, nothing else worked. Eventually he stopped licking it, but the bold spot with hardened skin remained.

    He would keep taking the bandage off, so had to be re-wrapped many times per day.

    Sorry, I have nothing else to offer, this was a long battle for us to stop licking.

    This is how I did the wrapping ->
     
  3. Nanny71

    Nanny71 Well-Known Member Registered

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    Dudley went through this. He has a thick coat and ended up making the sore area bleed. I bought some expensive spray off the internet but it didn't work. So I bandaged it up overnight and everytime he went to lick it. Someone suggested a sock or pop sock but fortunately the vetwrap worked. He would stop licking immediately he saw me get the bandage.
    Whatever it was went away once he stopped licking,
     
  4. merlina

    merlina Well-Known Member Registered

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    Hot spots on dogs are localised dermatitis- can be caused by infection, insect bites, allergy or auto-immune problems. Often the skins own natural bacteria becomes over-active at the site. Stress and boredom can also provoke them. Has anything changed just before this happened, diet, exercise/life regime, etc? I would seek a vet's advice since intense itching itself can be a huge mental stress for the dog- think of how we feel with a mosquito bite but one that goes on and on. Any hair around the site should be clipped off- the vet may give a steroid cream. Rather than bandaging try a clean cotton sock secured by tape (duct tape can work). Try not to do things to make the area hotter though. It does mean playing detective, trying to work out what caused it and watching like a hawk to distract the dog when it starts to lick. Good luck.
     
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  5. Michele83

    Michele83 Active Member Registered

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    Thanks everyone who's answered so far, and the video, and vetwrap recommendation. I think I've caught this quite early and, as I spend a lot of time with her, I'm really trying to prevent it before it actually begins, and hope that the behaviour changes. The two sites are just red at the moment, and some loss of fur, but the skin isn't hardened or anything yet.

    I'm not sure it's an itching thing - the spots are symmetrical on both legs so they're not bites either. She doesn't seem to be that 'bothered' by them at all, as in, she doesn't massively seem to want to lick them or get at them when I prevent her, and a spray is enough to deter her. I think it's more of a behavioural thing, a sort of compulsion, as she only does it when she's resting i.e. not occupied, but not asleep, and just lying on her bed. In the sort of way people twiddle their hair or toddlers suck their thumb. I don't think it's boredom because when she's bored she follows me around and it's kind of obvious, plus she has lots of stimulation. I think it's a sort of compulsive, habitual, self-comfort thing.

    That said, I'll definitely take her to the vet if it doesn't stop.
     
  6. Violet Turner

    Violet Turner Well-Known Member Registered

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