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Obsessive Licking: Why Is My Pet Licking Obsessively?

obsessive licking

We’re used to our pets licking themselves. It’s how they stay clean and soothe themselves. But sometimes this behavior starts to spiral out of control. How can you tell the difference between normal licking and obsessive licking? And how can you get obsessive licking to stop? Read on to learn more!

How to Tell If Your Pet Is Licking Obsessively

So how can you tell the difference between normal licking and obsessive licking? Take a look at your pet’s body. If you start to see bare patches or lesions where your animal is licking, then there’s a problem as these can lead to infections. Obsessive licking will also cause excessive hairballs in cats. Trust your instincts. Is your pet is suddenly licking themselves way more than usual, then that might also indicate there’s an issue.

Why Your Pet May Be Obsessively Licking

Allergies are the most common cause of obsessive licking in dogs and are a common cause in cats as well. Indications that allergies are the root of your pet’s problem include lots of licking in between your pet’s toe’s and chewing and licking at the rear end and inner thighs. You might also notice that your animal’s fur is stained due to enzymes in their saliva. Your pet may have an allergy to dust, danger, pollen, fleas or even something in their food.

If you suspect your pet has environmental allergies, wiping off their paws after they go outside might help the problem. However, you should probably still seek veterinary assistance. You should also call your vet if your pet’s skin changes color or has wounds, crusts or pimples. Also be on the lookout for excessive scratching.

Nausea is another potential cause for obsessive licking in dogs. Look for your pet repeatedly licking their lips or licking weird places like your home’s walls or floors. Some pooches might also drool or smack their lips a lot. If your dog is showing these signs for more than 24 hours, it’s time to contact the vet. You should also call the vet if your pet displays other signs of illness, such as diarrhea, vomiting and lack of appetite.

Pain is another reason for obsessive licking. If your pet is in pain, usually their licking will be focused in one area. For insance, if their anal sacs are impacted, they’ll only lick that region. If you think your pet is in pain, we also recommend contacting a vet.

Stress is the last common cause of obsessive licking in pets. Anxiety in pets is common when there’s a death or addition in the family. Mental health is super important for our pets, so if you suspect stress is causing obsessive licking, then you should call your vet. They might recommend using CBD or other holistic remedies. You can read more about dog anxiety here.

How your vet treats your pet’s excessive licking depends on the root of the issue. They’ll likely perform some tests to discover the cause and go from there. Your pet might need medication or they might just need a good shampoo. Good luck!