Why Does My Dog Lick Constantly?

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The following is an excerpt from Petfinder’s FurKeeps Kickoff Ask the Experts Forum.

Q: I have a question about dog anxiety. My Rottweiler, Bailey, licks compulsively. It seems like he just can’t relax. Is there something I can do to help him chill out?

I have been considering taking him to the vet, but don’t want him to have to take a sedative. Any suggestions?

Why Does My Dog Lick Constantly?

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A: I would definitely take your Rottweiler to the vet. First, you want to rule out licking because of allergies or injury.

It may be an obsessive-compulsive behavior, and there have been drugs developed in the last few years that have helped dogs with OCD considerably.

Some repetitive behaviors are made worse because the dog uses them as attention-seeking behaviors. Some dogs find negative attention to be more rewarding than being ignored.

However, before we consider the licking to be attention-seeking behavior, you want to rule out the other reasons first.

Jacque Schultz, MA C.P.D.T.
Senior Director of Community Initiatives
ASPCA
New York, NY

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