When Your Dog Bites Himself, Here’s How to Stop It

by on 13/09/10 at 12:02 pm

If you have a dog that loves being outside, and playing hard all day, chances are he’s going to run into a bit of trouble on occasion. Whether he comes across a rival dog and engages in a tussle, or gets caught in a sticky bush, your dog is susceptible to bruises and sores much like anybody else. However, while humans may have the restraint and knowledge not to further irritate our skin by excessive rubbing, your dog won’t know that constant licking, biting, or chewing on his fur is detrimental. It’s a habit that must be stopped.

As you consider methods for preventing your dog from obsessively licking and biting, it’s important to understand first why he does it. The main reasons for this behavior may include:

  • Injury. You dog is itching from a healing wound, and seeks to find relief from gnawing at the spot. This could be harmful, especially if your dog has received stitches.
  • Fixation: It’s not uncommon for dogs to lick in places that feel good to them. Sometimes, though, they may go longer than you would prefer for them.
  • Fleas: If your dog has a flea or tick problem, they are likely to scratch at where the itch is worst. Digging into their skin and fur with their fangs could lead to punctures and bleeding.

Once you determine the cause, next you must encourage your dog to stop. If this behavior is spurred on by injury, the first step is to treat the hurt as soon as possible and remove the temptation. Your veterinarian will be able to assist in that case. You may be prescribed a salve or medication to apply to the area which will relieve the irritation and eliminate the need to lick and bite.

Pet stores, too, may also carry over the counter products designed to stop this habit. Anti-lick strips are affixed to the fur and coated with an unpleasant tasting solution that’s not harmful to dogs. This works to adapt your dog’s behavior and reinforce its end.

For extreme cases, a collar or cone may be needed so the dog cannot reach the spot. This is especially helpful if your dog has stitches that need to heal.

Excessive gnawing and pressure can lead to fur loss and infection. If you notice your dog engaged too long in this habit, don’t wait until another health problem occurs before you do something about it.

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