Why Dogs Lick Their Parts

Dogs are typically funny, but occasionally they can make people feel embarrassed. While dog owners might find it entertaining to see a dog dance in a circle or bark when instructed to, they might not find other behaviors amusing. Licking their “private parts” in public is one of the more embarrassing behaviors that dogs engage in. There is no sex bias related to licking, and there is also no appropriate manner to talk about it. The penis of a male dog is licked. The vulva will be licked by a female dog. They’ll both lick their anal areas after that. All pet owners are irritated by this less than desirable behavior.

Is licking private parts ever acceptable?

A reasonable amount of licking is considered acceptable grooming behavior in the dog world. For instance, both male and female dogs may lick their genitalia after urinating to clean them. When this is the case, licking is not prolonged and simply pertains to elimination. A simple sweep of the region is all that is necessary.

Dogs rarely lick the anal area after urinating, but they can feel the urge to clean up a little if the excrement is sticky or watery. Normally, licking doesn’t occur after a regular, firm bowel movement.

When is licking private parts considered a problem?

Urogenital (genital and urinary) licking on a regular or persistent basis may be a sign of a health issue. If you see any of the following symptoms, contact your veterinarian right away:

  • red, bloated, or vulvar or anus
  • presence of red lumps or pustules on the skin
  • skin coloration issues (black or rust colored)
  • effort to urinate
  • greater urination frequency
  • scooting or rubbing the area of the lower abdomen
  • a bad smell that lingers after removal
  • discharge from the vulva or penis

What causes these signs associated with licking?

A dog may repeatedly lick its genitalia or anals for a variety of medical conditions. The following are a some of the more typical issues:

a bladder infection or crystals or stones. When a dog has a stone or crystal in their bladder, they may lick their penis or vulva for a long time after urinating or even in between eliminations. They could strain to urinate and urinate more frequently. They frequently have a strong urge to urinate yet only pass very little urine. The bacteria that cause bladder infections are rather common, and they often respond well to antibiotic therapy. There are numerous oral antibiotics that are widely available, both in pill and liquid form, and are quite successful at treating bladder infections. Antibiotic injectables are mainly used only in hospital settings. Cefovecin (trade name Covenia), a long-term medication, may be helpful but is not typically used as a first-line treatment. Supplements or special diets (such Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d, Royal Canin Urinary SOTM, or Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets Urinary St/OxTM) can be added to the treatment plan to assist change the bladder’s environment and reduce the likelihood of recurrent infections. If the kidneys or upper urinary tract are infected, the course of treatment may be extended by, on average, 4-6 weeks. The most effective treatment plan and its duration will be decided upon using laboratory testing such as urinalysis, urine culture, and blood tests.

Allergies. Itching in the genital region can be brought on by food or environmental sensitivities. While environmental allergies may be seasonal depending on what plants or trees are pollinating, unless the triggering allergen is indoors, food allergies may cause year-round itching. Licking will be reduced if the allergen is avoided. Dogs with environmental allergies, for instance, should only go for walks in the early morning and late evening when there is less pollen in the air due to dew on the ground. A moist cloth or baby wipe should be used to wipe your dog’s feet, belly, and any other region that comes into touch with the ground after being outside to remove some pollen that has adhered to the fur. Even while your dog may not be entirely pollen-free, the amount will be minimized. When the dog becomes sensitized to proteins (usually found in chicken, beef, or pig) or other molecules in the meal, food allergies are set off. The dog is given a hypoallergenic diet that contains novel proteins that are either hydrolyzed or man-made and to which the dog has not previously been exposed, such as lamb, salmon, kangaroo, or rabbit. Both environmental and food allergies may need medical treatment in addition to avoidance therapy. There are immune-modulating drugs, such as topical treatments, hyposensitization injections (allergy desensitization), cyclosporine (brand name Atopica), lokivetmab (brand name Cytopoint), or oclactinib (brand name Apoquel), that offer long-lasting, safe allergy relief without the side effects of steroids. Although they are sometimes used in extreme cases or as a last resort, steroids (often prednisone or combinations with an antihistamine, such as Temaril-P, Vanectyl-P) can be beneficial. On your veterinarian’s guidance, you may use over-the-counter antihistamines, though there should be caution when using any of these that combine cold/flu drugs because they have varying degrees of success with dogs.

Skin disease. Although the presence of bacteria and yeast on the skin is typical, an infection might happen if any of them shows up excessively, the skin barrier is poor, or the dog has reduced immunity. Skin infections caused by bacteria or yeast can be extremely irritating and cause frequent licking of the affected region. Pustules or red bumps are typically signs of a bacterial infection and call for antibiotic treatment. A yeast infection that needs extra treatment may be indicated by a musty smell or a reddish-black discoloration of the skin. When medicated shampoos or wipes are added to the oral treatment plan, both bacterial and yeast infections typically respond better.

Impaction of the anal gland. Dogs have two anal glands, which are extinct scent glands that are situated close to the rectum. When the rectal muscles contract during a bowel movement, these glands press against each other, filling with foul fluid and then emptying themselves. Pets and their owners are unaware that anal glands exist while they are functioning normally; nevertheless, when anal glands are overfilled, they are clearly visible. A foul smell is released by impacted glands, and swelling and irritation are possible in the anal region. The dog may lick the irritated area or scoot and massage the anus on the ground in response to the discomfort. Make an appointment with your veterinarian so they can manually remove the swollen anal glands if necessary. If left untreated, the fluid may get so thick that it cannot pass through the tiny aperture to the rectum, leading to an impaction. Infection frequently follows impaction. The area around the anus may develop an abscess that bursts through the skin to the outside in cases of severe illnesses. Antibiotics are needed to treat these infections; oral, topical, or injectable versions may be utilized. Common options include amoxicillin, cephalexin, or fluoroquinolones. Warm water soaks and painkillers could make you feel better. The glands may need to be surgically removed if there are frequent infections.

Consult your veterinarian for advice if your dog licks more often than is appropriate. Your dog’s discomfort can be reduced with the right medical treatment.

How do I get my dog to quit licking his underwear?

One way a dog observes its environment is through licking, and the occasional licking is completely typical behavior and of no cause for concern. However, when your dog licks excessively, it may be a sign of underlying issues or the licking itself may result in issues and injury. Knowing the causes of your dog’s licking will help you see any potential problems and change your dog’s behavior.

How Much Licking Is Too Much?

A dog will typically lick itself to groom, show affection, and taste objects. A little bit of casual licking can also be calming and comfortable to the animal. However, excessive licking occurs when the dog won’t stop, despite being asked or distracted. Dogs with excessive licking habits may concentrate on a particular location, such as a paw, their muzzle, or their genitalia, or they may lick things like walls, carpeting, or furniture.

A variety of health issues, such as allergies, skin rashes, arthritis, joint or muscle pain, nausea, or general nervousness, might be indicated by excessive licking. In addition to the underlying issues that initially prompted the licking, excessive licking over time might result in skin infections and hair loss.

Stopping Excessive Licking

Finding and treating the underlying cause of your dog’s excessive licking is the key to ending the behavior. Keep track of where and when your dog licks, how long the habit lasts under various circumstances, and whether you can stop your dog from licking. For a proper diagnosis and to look into any underlying health issues that might be causing the licking, speak with your veterinarian. To prevent your dog from obsessively licking…

  • Regular brushing and thorough grooming are recommended. This will assist maintain healthy skin and get rid of any insects, dander, or allergens that might be irritating it.
  • After walks or outdoor playtime, wipe your dog’s paws with a moist towel to remove irritating allergens, especially on delicate pads or in between toes.
  • To avoid the worst allergens that could be causing your dog’s excessive licking, use various walking or play routes.
  • To reduce pests that might be causing itching or allergic responses, use the proper flea, tick, and pest treatments, including medicated shampoos.
  • Take action to calm your dog’s nervousness by reducing loud noises, providing soothing toys, or increasing your time spent together.
  • To stop your dog from excessive licking, give it a chew toy or treat puzzle, or engage in other games and activities to burn off its nervous energy.
  • Anything your dog licks should be cleaned. Your pet might find an old spill, built-up perspiration, or another contamination tasty and be licking it as a result.
  • To relieve food allergies, dry skin, or nausea—all of which could be reasons for frequent licking—adjust your dog’s diet.
  • Make sure your dog receives the correct dental and oral care since gum infections or soft tissue injuries may drive your dog to lick themselves as a means of pain relief.
  • Use the right medication or help, such as smaller steps to reach a couch or a heated bed pad to ease aches, to address any joint or arthritic pain.

What Not to Do

The most important thing is to not penalize your dog for licking too much. Punishments won’t help because the dog is merely attempting to comfort itself or express its pain; they won’t go to the root of the problem. Dogs can lick for a variety of reasons, and fully comprehending your dog’s licking can be a challenging process. Instead, be patient as you investigate the source of your dog’s excessive licking, and once you do, take action to alleviate your pet’s suffering. The undesired behavior will stop once the discomfort does.

When I pet my dog, why does he lick his underwear?

Dogs are generally tidy. Both male and female dogs will lick their genital regions in an effort to clear them of dirt, discharge, or other debris in addition to washing their legs and bodies. Concern should be expressed if there is excessive licking in this area, which could be a sign of illness.

Causes of Licking Genitals in Male Dogs

Males who have abnormal preputial discharge may lick themselves excessively. Any substance that emanates (flows) from the prepuce is referred to as preputial discharge (the fold of skin that covers the penis). Blood, pee, or pus may be present in premenstrual discharge. In a healthy dog, there shouldn’t be any discharge, but a tiny bit of whitish-yellow “smegma” can build up around the preputial orifice; this is not thought to be clinically important. Excessive discharge can be caused by:

  • Various conditions, such as neoplasia (cancer), trauma, foreign bodies, or balanoposthitis (inflammation of the penis/prepuce), can affect the prepuce.
  • urethral disorders, such as neoplasia, trauma, or calculi (stones)
  • disorders of the urinary bladder, such as neoplasia, calculi, infection, or inflammation
  • Prostate disorders such as prostatitis (prostate infection or inflammation), neoplasia, hyperplasia (enlargement), cysts, and abscesses
  • Coagulopathies (bleeding conditions), such as thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) and rat poison consumption
  • Inability to contain urine due to an ectopic (abnormally positioned) ureter or a malfunctioning sphincter causes urinary incontinence (tissue that acts like a door, controlling the release of urine)

Causes of Licking Genitals in Female Dogs

Unusual vaginal discharge in females can cause excessive licking. Any substance that emanates (flows) from the vulvar labia is referred to as vaginal discharge (the external female genitals). It’s possible that vaginal discharge occurs naturally during a dog’s heat cycle or during the postpartum (afterbirth) phase, which can last anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks. Excessive abnormal discharge can be caused by:

Do dogs licking their privates feel good?

Dogs enjoy licking a variety of objects, but doing so while you have special guests around might be humiliating. Sadly, no one has ever informed dogs that they have private parts, thus licking that section of their bodies is just licking another part of their anatomy. Both sexes of dogs lick their anus, while male dogs lick their penis and female dogs lick their vulva. Dogs lick their private parts for a variety of reasons, which might make their owners uncomfortable because they do this in public. Licking one’s privates may be done for amusement or to ease discomfort. If a bitch is in heat, it might be a part of the dog’s sexual behavior. The dog’s drive to keep itself clean could then potentially be the cause of the licking.

Why is my dog licking the back of his groin?

Although people typically equate cats with meticulous grooming, dogs also lick themselves to stay clean. Why not their crotch if they will lick their paws, legs, and body? Since they don’t use toilet paper for their anal region, they must use their tongue to keep their genitals free of debris and discharge.

Dogs also don’t have any physical issues. Regardless of who is looking, they are not embarrassed to groom their crotch. They will clean it if it needs to be cleaned. We are to blame for the snags. Putting your dog’s self-grooming in perspective by acknowledging it as typical canine behavior will assist. And if your dog decides to lick at an unsuitable moment, such as while your in-laws are there, just direct your dog’s attention to something else, such practicing some tricks in exchange for treats or engaging in some toy play.

Why is my dog constantly licking herself?

The reason for a dog’s self-focused licking, gnawing, or scratching may be simpler to identify. There are six main reasons why your dog could lick itself excessively. Allergies, boredom, dry skin, hormone imbalance, pain, and parasites are a few of them. Food and environmental allergies are also possible.

What causes my dog to repeatedly lick his inner thigh?

Finding the precise cause of your dog’s compulsive licking can be challenging. It may be necessary to keep an eye on your pet for a while to see any triggers, moments, or behaviors that could initiate a ferocious licking session. It’s also beneficial to keep an eye on the places your dog prefers to lick, taking note of where and how frequently. However, there are often four main reasons why licking issues arise:

  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Boredom
  • Pain

Allergies are frequently cited as the leading factor causing excessive canine licking. Your dog may be suffering from allergies if you notice them licking their legs, inner thighs, or between their paws. Environmental allergies, such as those to dust, pollen, and dander, can accumulate on a dog’s feet and legs during the day, producing itching and redness. When a dog rolls in something irritant like pesticides, it can cause contact dermatitis, which can cause allergies. Cleaning your dog’s legs and feet with a wipe after walks is an easy approach to reduce exposure to allergies.

Another typical reason for licking is anxiety. Simple stressors like loud noises, strangers, or bright lights can be overwhelming for certain dogs, leading to panic and obsessive behavior. In these situations, dogs are probably licking to soothe themselves or to divert their attention. But if a dog is anxious all the time, this licking can easily spiral out of control and become self-inflicted injury, leading to sores or hot areas, sometimes known as acute wet dermatitis.

As with anxiety, boredom is a behavioral factor in excessive licking. A dog may develop destructive tendencies if they do not receive enrichment throughout the day in the form of play, exercise, socialising, etc. This can sometimes be seen as tearing up shoes or having a serious lack of energy, while other times it can result in licking.

The last possible explanation for problematic licking is pain. Similar to how touching a sore joint or muscle temporarily relieves human pain, licking generates endorphins, which act as temporary pain relief for dogs. Your dog may be licking to relieve pain if they have been nursing an injury or have arthritis.

Even though these are the most typical causes of problem licking in dogs, it can be challenging to pinpoint the precise cause without a veterinarian’s help. It is advised to call your veterinarian and make an appointment if you observe your dog acting strangely or licking excessively. This is particularly crucial if you discover that excessive licking has left wounds like sores, lesions, hot spots, abrasions, etc.