How to Stop Dog Licking

Dog licking can be a compulsive behavior; in order to stop this behavior, you need to establish the cause. The cause of excessive licking may be medical (allergies, arthritis or skin infection) or it may be behavioral (stress or anxiety). Once the cause is established, you may apply some methods to stop dog licking.

Establishing the Cause of Dog Licking

The cause of dog licking can be establishing by monitoring your pet. The most common causes of excessive dog licking include:

  • Allergies
  • Dry skin which may be caused by the dog’s shampoo or soap or by dry or sunny weather
  • Skin infections (fungal, bacterial)
  • A wound
  • Arthritis, more common in senor dogs
  • Anxiety
  • Stress


If the excessive dog licking is caused by a medical condition, the vet will prescribe some medication that will bring relief to the condition and stop the licking. Allergies may be controlled with antihistamines, steroids or topical ointments. A long term treatment may also be established, depending on the causes of allergies and the way the dog responds to the treatment.

If the dog is affected by dry skin, this may be relieved with topical ointments and the change of the shampoo or soap that is the culprit.

Arthritis cannot be cured, but the vet may prescribe some drugs to relieve the pain and the joint swelling and stop the excessive licking.

Correcting the Behavior

If the dog licks excessively due to separation anxiety, you may correct this behavior by training your pet. Most often separation anxiety is caused by your absence; begin by leaving the home for a short period of time and reward your pet when you return with patting him or offering a treat. Extend the period of time you are gone and the dog will soon learn that you will eventually come back. In the mean time, you can give your dog a toy to play with while you are gone, so he is less likely to get bored.

Divert the Dog’s Attention

When you notice that you pet is licking himself, you should initiate a game or throw a ball at him. This will divert his attention and he will start playing.


When the dog licks himself due to a wound, you should bandage the wound and this will stop the licking and will also prevent an infection of the wound.

The bandages may also be covered by a solution that has a bitter taste (lemon juice or cayenne pepper), to prevent the dog from removing the bandages.

If the dog’s wound is located on the torso you may give your pet a t-shirt that will cover the wound.

Lampshade Collars

If the dog is wounded or has a skin infection or allergies that will cause excessive licking you may opt for a lampshade collar to stop the licking. The collar will prevent the dog from having access to his body.