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Healthy Pet Care Tips

Lick Granuloma in Dogs

Is your dog continuously licking the same spot, perhaps a front leg? Read on to learn about the causes of lick granuloma in dogs, and how it can be treated.

What is Lick Granuloma

A lick granuloma is where your dog has licked a place, normally on their front legs, so much so that it has caused a self-inflicted injury. This is similar to when humans bite their nails so much that they start to bleed.

Dog owners may start noticing that the area around where their dog has been excessively licking is red, has lost hair, and there may be an open sore.

Causes of Lick Granuloma

The reason for your dog's continuous licking can be physical but more often it is a psychological reason.

Physical causes can include:

  • Allergies
  • Infection
  • Joint pain
  • Injury (cut or bee sting)

Psychological causes can include:

  • OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Boredom

Treatments for Lick Granuloma in Dogs

Since lick granuloma is usually an offshoot of a larger issue, the treatment normally involves both treating the injury and the condition.

Treating the Condition

Treating the condition requires determining how much of the issue can be attributed to a physical cause and how much is psychological.

If it was originally caused by a wound such as a cut or a bee sting, then once the issue has been treated your dog will hopefully stop licking the area after it is healed.

If the cause is allergies, then a diagnosis from your vet and treatment of the underlying cause will hopefully stop the licking.

If the cause is joint pain caused by a condition such as arthritis, then the reason for the licking is that it hurts, and your dog doesn’t know what else to do to stop the pain. The way to prevent this is to treat the underlying condition. If the condition is chronic, then it is important to get your dog on a pain management plan so that they will stop trying to solve the problem by licking themselves.

If the problem is mental, then the treatments will be more focused on finding what is triggering this behavior and trying to break them out of the behavior. This can include mental stimulation, extra exercise, or behavioral training.

Treating the Injury

If the licking has caused a wound where it is red and the dermal layer has been damaged, treatment will be like most wounds and can include:

  • Topical ointments to reduce irritation and prevent/treat infections
  • Taking oral anti-inflammatory medication
  • Having the lick granuloma bandaged
  • Have your dog wear an Elizabethan collar (aka the cone of shame) to stop them from licking it again
  • Using cold laser therapy to help speed up healing and reduce inflammation.

In Summary

If your dog keeps licking the same spot on their body, this can be a sign of a larger issue that needs to be addressed. Talk to your vet if your dog is showing signs of strange behaviors.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your dog obsessively licking the same spot over and over? Contact a PetVet Care Centers member practice near you to book an appointment for your dog. Our vets are happy to assist you.

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