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What Does It Mean When Your Dog Excessively Licks Itself


A dog’s behavior indicates a lot of things. Your best friend may not be able to converse with you in your language, but he has his way of communicating. As pet parents, you should be aware of your pet’s needs; moreover, you must understand what they want to say. Do you know what it means when your dog excessively licks itself? Have you wondered why your dog is licking everything all of a sudden?

There may be many reasons why a dog reacts in a certain way. It could be his state of mind or some illness. If you pay attention to your dog’s gestures and behaviors, you will know what you can do.

What is Excessive Licking?

Compulsive licking or excessive licking is continuous licking of a body part, paws, or skin until there are visible wounds or skin decay. Obsessive licking can also be licking of objects, walls, furniture, floor, or couch. It can even be licking other pets or people. There can be a variety of reasons, from boredom to mental imbalance. Here is a list of 10 probable causes as to why a dog licks excessively.


Nausea makes a dog uncomfortable; the main symptoms are excessive licking, drooling, and lack of appetite. The upset stomach of a dog produces excessive saliva, which makes your dog lick excessively. Ensure your pet is not licking any harmful material like floor cleaners, acids, or wood polish. Consult a vet and get your dog treated.


Excessive licking of the genital area can be an indication of disease. Dogs come in contact with mites, worms, and illnesses when they spend too much time outside. Playing and lying down in the grass is a common reason for infection in dogs. Diseases can be a  reason for excessive licking of your dog.

Hunger And Thirst

If a dog is hungry or has a dry mouth, he will lick excessively and smack his lips to satisfy his hunger pangs or thirst. Make sure you provide your dog with his meals on time. Always keep his bowl of water filled with fresh water.


Like elder humans, even dogs suffer from dementia. As a pet parent, never ignore any change in your pet’s behavior when he obsessively licks. If your dog’s energy level has gone down and he exhibits behavior changes with a few people, he might have dementia. Dementia does not have a cure, but you can slow down the process with care and affection.

Dental Problem Or Oral Infection

Some lingering problems in your dog’s teeth or gums can also make him lick excessively. Food and bacteria can cause plaque formation in a dog’s mouth, which results in pain and irritation in the gums. A complete dental cleaning is required if you suspect your pet has a dental problem. 


Licking can be one of the ways of seeking attention or relieving the pain. If you notice your dog is licking at the same spot, there can be a wound or something bothering his skin or fur. Check for any injury, bump, or an external body in that part. 

Emotional Disorder

The most hurtful thing for a dog is separation from the master.  Separation and anxiety are the leading causes of compulsive licking in a dog.  A dog may have gone through a trauma that may cause fear, anxiety, and aggression. All these things can lead to excessive licking in a dog.

Dietary Problems

Dogs have a susceptible digestive system. They may have problems digesting grains, milk, or starches. Excessive licking can be an indication of stomach disorder, indigestion, or even abdominal pain. A change in diet can solve the problem. Consult your vet if you think diet is a problem.

Emotional Disorder

Continuous licking by your dog can be a sign of an emotional compulsive disorder. Licking occasionally due to anxiety is normal, but if a dog starts licking compulsively, it can be a mental health issue. If a pup is separated from its mother, this may also lead to obsessive licking. In such a situation, only love and care can help your dog.


Licking is a dog’s natural habit, and occasionally licking is perfectly normal that releases endorphin, which makes them feel loved. It is also a way to groom themselves. Dogs lick people because they love them; licking is their natural way of expressing love.


Excessive licking in a dog is more to do with medical problems than behavioral aspects. When licking is more of an obsession than affection, you need to pay attention to your dog’s needs. Knowing about the probable cause and correct treatment will solve the problem. Your dog will stay happy, affectionate, healthy, and grateful. 


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