One of the more embarrassing things that dogs do is to lick their "private" parts in public. Both male and female dogs do this less than appealing behavior that annoys pet owners.
What we recommend - this stuff works!
If you want your dog to stop licking, get Grannicks Bitter Apple for Dogs spray bottle to stop pets from licking, gnawing, and chewing fur, wounds, and bandages. It works. A light spray once a day should take care of the problem. Read on to make sure there isn't another underlying health issue causing the problem.
In the canine world a moderate degree of licking is part of normal grooming behavior. For example, a dog may lick the genital area of urinating as a means of cleaning the area. In this case, licking is related to elimination and is not persistent. Usually a quick swipe takes care of business.
It is not as common for dogs to lick the anal area; however, if the dog's stool is sticky or watery, the dog may feel the need to tidy up a bit. Normal bowel movements are not usually followed by licking.
Why you need to know
Frequent or sustained licking of the genital area may indicate that a medical problem exists.
Contact ABC Vet if your dog exhibits any of the following signs:
Swollen or red penis, vulva, or anus
Presence of pustules (pimples) or red bumps on the skin
Discoloration of the skin (black or rust colored)
Straining to urinate
Increased frequency of urination
Scooting or rubbing the rectal area on the ground
Presence of a foul odor between eliminations
Discharge from penis or vulva
Should I use Vaseline? No.
Pet owners frequently ask if they should apply vaseline to the genital area. We do not recommend this. Your pet needs to be examined by a veterinarian if it is displaying any of the above symptoms.
Schedule Exam or call (760) 471-4950
Early Detection Can Prevent More Serious Complications
Medical reasons that prompt a dog to persistently lick.
There are several medical reasons that prompt a dog to persistently lick the genital or anal regions. Here are some of the more common problems:
Urinary Tract Infection - Bladder infections are fairly common and are caused by bacteria that usually respond to treatment with antibiotics. Both oral and injectable antibiotics are readily available and are quite effective in resolving bladder infections. The addition of supplements or special diets to the treatment regimen may alter the environment in the bladder and help prevent repeated infections. If the upper urinary tract or kidneys are infected, the treatment may be prolonged. Laboratory tests including urine analysis, urine culture, and blood work will help determine the best course and length of therapy.
Allergies - Inhalant or food allergies can both cause itching in the genital area. When food allergy is the culprit the itching occurs all year long while inhalant allergies may be seasonal depending on what plants or trees are pollinating. Food allergies are triggered when the dog is sensitized to proteins or other molecules in the food. These allergies are controlled by feeding the dog a hypo-allergenic diet with unique natural proteins (lamb, salmon, kangaroo, rabbit, etc.) or man-made proteins to which the dog has not been exposed. Both food and inhalant allergies may require medical therapy as well as avoidance therapy. Immune modulating and anti-inflammatory medications are available that provide safe, effective, long-term allergy relief without the side effects of steroids.
Skin Infection - Bacterial or yeast infections of the skin can be very itchy and result in constant licking of the affected area. The presence of pustules or red bumps usually indicates a bacterial infection and warrants anti-biotic therapy.
Anal Gland Impaction - Impaction often leads to infection. Severe infections may lead to the formation of an abscess that ruptures through the skin to the outside area around the anus. These infections require treatment with both topical and oral antibiotics. Pain medication and warm water soaks may alleviate the discomfort. Repeated infections may require surgical removal of the glands.
Dr. Barry Neichin
Chief of Staff
ABC Veterinary Hospital
San Marcos CA
When he's not busy with his duties at the hospital, Dr. Neichin can be found outside, either on the trails hiking and camping or in the water snorkeling and skin diving, as well as spending time with his two children. His family also includes Tonka, a Golden Retriever; Leo, a miniature Golden Doodle; Cosmo, a Siamese, and Ruffles, a rabbit. More about Dr. Neichin -->