You’re here because you’re a pet mom or dad and it’s tiring asking questions that could be embarrassing.
“Why does my dog lick his butt?” is one of them. Well, you’re not alone!
Bum-licking is a common grooming practice your dog takes a part in. And you’re doing the smart thing by wanting to learn why your dog would want to indulge in that type of behavior. Sometimes, it could actually mean there’s something wrong.
So, how do you know there’s more at stake when your dog licks his butt that would require a trip to the vet?
Let’s find out!
The first tell your dog could want to get checked up is an excessive butt-licking habit as opposed to a more occasional indistinct grooming routine. Here’s why your dog could be licking his butt more than he should be:
It’s an Anal Gland Issue
Your dog could be suffering from an anal gland issue, meaning his anal glands could be impacted or infected. This happens when an expression of those glands is long overdue, which could get them blocked and cause anal irritation for your dog.
Besides excessively licking his butt, there’s another sign your dog’s anal glands are the problem. You’ll notice your dog scooting or dragging its rear end along the ground – poor thing’s just trying to relieve the itching and discomfort!
External or Internal Parasites
Internal parasites are ones that live inside a dog’s intestine – think roundworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. Since intestinal worms end up in the stool or around the anus, they are most likely causing your furry friend anal irritation.
Look out for vomiting, diarrhea, or signs of nutritional deficiencies or anemia. Thankfully, the (only) good thing about these worms is that they’re pretty easy for a vet to spot and treat; they’ll just need to test a stool sample from your dog and prescribe a dewormer medication.
When it comes to external parasites, you can imagine how much mites, fleas, or ticks could cause an itch. We’re assuming the worst place for an itch like that, from a four-legged friend’s point of view, would be in their butt.
If this what’s causing your dog discomfort, you will probably find them licking that region too much and often even biting at it.
Skin Allergies and Infections
Your dog could develop an allergic reaction to something in his environment or some type of food.
If an allergy is the culprit, you’ll notice your dog might be licking and biting all over his body including his anal region. And a tell if it’s environmental: the excessive licking will probably happen seasonally!
In addition, a fungal or bacterial skin infection could be the reason for excessive butt-licking. This usually happens if there’s a skin puncture that was left untreated or if there are some poop remains in that area.
And it’s sort of a cycle: licking an open wound or licking to remove fecal remains could lead to even more infection. If your dog has an infection, going number one or number two could also make the pain worse – which is why you would probably want that checked right away.
Prevention and Remedies to Relieve the Itching
In all cases, the first thing you should do when you notice your dog is excessively licking their butt is to make an appointment with its vet.
In the meantime, you can try and distract him with toys, love, and attention. Whatever’s going on back there, there’s a big possibility licking around it will make matters even worse.
Another good thing you can do is use over-the-counter remedies that are all-natural to soothe the pain and discomfort, such as a CBD anti-itch spray.
As we’ve said, before you’ve even taken any measures, you’re already on the right track for wanting to know what could be wrong with your dog!
You’re a good dog parent for being observant enough about these behaviors, but also be sure to look out for symptoms other than aggressive licking, such as vomiting, diarrhea, biting on his rear end or all over his body, or scooting.
And at the end of the day, it’s not unusual for a dog to lick his behind, but persistent or excessive licking could be a warning sign for something else.