6 Symptoms of Excessive Dog Grooming

Excessive dog grooming can result in symptoms of irritation on your dog. There are some underlying issues that can cause your dog to excessively groom himself.

6 symptoms of Excessive Dog Grooming Include

  • Dry/ Itchy skin
  • Obsessive licking, scratching, sucking or chewing multiple or one easily accessible area
  • Hair loss
  • Red skin
  • Rusty discoloration of fur
  • Licking granulomas in the form of sores, lesions, or lumps
  • Grooming by Licking Granuloma

Excessive licking in a specific area can cause the underlying skin to become itchy and inflamed, creating a ceaseless cycle of itching and licking. Due to chronic inflammation, the skin layers thicken over time and may appear as a sore or tumor-like lump on an easily accessed area like a paw. Sometimes over-the-counter ointments and antibiotics used for this problem fail, and surgery is needed to get rid of the granuloma.

Some Causes of Excessive Dog Grooming

  • Grooming Caused by Stress - Stress caused by separation anxiety, lack of exercise or attention, or the addition of a member/ pet to the family, among many other things may cause your dog to seek comfort in grooming. Sometimes this is just temporary, but you need to nip the problem in the bud before it can become a problem and the dog inflicts injury upon himself.
  • Grooming Caused by Poor Grooming - Tangles and mats in the fur can also cause a dog to groom, and in long haired breeds, moisture can get trapped beneath the fur, causing dry, itchy skin. This too can lead to a cycle of itching and licking, appearing as excessive grooming. That's why it's important to brush your dog's coat.
  • Grooming Caused by Pests - Parasites, such as fleas and mange, or fungus such as ringworm can cause your dog to obsessively lick, scratch, chew, and groom. It is important to visit your vet as soon as possible if you think these skin pests might be the culprit.
  • Grooming Caused by Allergies - Allergies the dog may have from mold, grass, pollen, or food can lead to excessive grooming. Unlike humans, dog allergies affect the skin. If this seems like the case, you might need to see a canine dermatologist and vet to figure out what may cause the allergy.

Other Possible Causes of Irritation Symptoms

If all of the above have been ruled out, then the skin grooming problem could be caused by an underlying, more serious illness. Examples are:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cancer
  • Cushing's Syndrome
  • Endocrine Abnormalities