It is important to understand why your dog may be scratching or licking itself in order to know the appropriate treatment. By identifying and tackling the underlying issues such as boredom, parasites, separation anxiety, allergies, injuries and emotional problems, you can stop your dog from chewing, scratching and licking itself. Consult your veterinarian before choosing any treatment options. In order to provide your dog relief, some steps you can take are to:
‘¢ Apply a bitter spray such as Bitter Apple or Bitter Orange if the licking is due to boredom and stress. As a precautionary measure, do not use the bitter sprays on open incisions and sores as it may burn and further irritate your dog.
‘¢ Divert your dog’s attention with a toy or bone, fill a Kong toy with a treat or peanut butter, and toss him a bone ‘” any action that will get his mind off the licking and scratching habit that you are trying to stop.
‘¢ Use an Elizabethan collar to keep your dog from irritating a surgical site or other injury that needs to heal properly.
‘¢ Administer antihistamines in conjunction with antibiotics, per the advice of your vet, if allergies are the underlying cause.
‘¢ Use homeopathic remedies to reduce stress-related licking.
‘¢ Make a chamomile tea, adding about 1 to 4 teaspoons to your dog’s food for the herbal calming effects of the chamomile.
‘¢ Add fatty acids such as Omega 3 or Omega 6 to your dog’s diet. The fatty acids work to recondition the skin and coat to stop the itching and other irritations.
‘¢ Switch your dog to a more natural wholesome dog food free from artificial ingredients, which will strengthen your dog’s immune system, resulting in healthier skin and less licking.
‘¢ Exercise your dog regularly to release a lot of pent-up energy, making for a happy dog. A happy and fit dog will be less likely to lick and scratch out of boredom.
‘¢ Bathe your dog in a vet-approved or prescribed medicated shampoo to remedy any special allergic or parasitic skin irritations.
‘¢ Administer Prozac prescribed by your veterinarian if your dog’s licking and scratching is due to an anxiety disorder. Prozac is a last resort per your vet’s full exam, diagnosis and recommendation.
There is no cure for the licking and scratching. Once your veterinarian has pinpointed the cause, you can begin treatment to keep your dog happy and healthy. Continual monitoring of your dog’s behavior will provide for a stress-free pup with a better attitude.