Dog First Aid – Lick Sores

Dogs have the propensity to lick because licking, along with barking, scratching and chewing are natural behaviors of dogs. However, it would be the concern of the dog owner if these natural behaviors become excessive. Acral lick dermatitis or lick granuloma is commonly known as lick sores, a condition that results from the dog compulsive licking behavior.

This condition would start when the dog incessantly licks a spot. The constant rubbing of the raspy tongue will eventually harden the skin; remove the hair and make the spot red and shiny. Insensitive to the pressure created by the tongue, the dog will incessantly lick the spot until the skin breaks and become infected.

Lick sores are commonly found on the wrist of the front legs and on the area above the paw of the hind legs. Lick sores are often seen in short haired dogs like German Shepherds, Doberman Pinscher, Golden Retrievers and Irish Setters. Lick sores usually start from fungal or bacterial infection or when a spot bitten by an insect or a flea is persistently licked by the dog. The lick sores can have a psychogenic origin as it often occurs in single pets that are left alone most of the time. Inactivity and boredom can spur a dog to incessantly lick a chosen spot in its body.

The dog’s lick sores can be difficult to eliminate as the condition can arise from various conditions thus no single cure will be effective. The tendency of the dog to lick the affected spot worsens the condition. To totally eliminate the problem, treatment must be focused on eliminating the causative factor before the skin lesions are treated.

Lick sores can be a nightmare not because this health concern is life threatening but because it can be very difficult to cure. Lick sores can be treated with laser surgery. This costly treatment method becomes ineffective when the dog starts to lick again. Antibiotics and other topical medications can be applied to the lesion. With some effective methods, the tendency of the pet to lick will be modified. To prevent the dog from licking, the affected leg can be bandaged. Bitter apple, Tabasco and other bad tasting substances can stop the dog’s self mutilating habit. An Elizabethan collar can be used as well.

As lick sores are hard to cure it would be best to prevent the development of the lesions. As soon as the owner noticed the pet developing an excessive licking habit, the preventive methods must be used at once.

Find out more about lick sores as well as first aid for dogs at Sarah’s Dogs.

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