5 Tips How to Stop a Dog from Licking a Sore, Incision or Stitches

Let’s see in this new Pets Roof article how to stop a dog from licking a sore, incision or stitches, what consequences it can bring and how we can help.

how to stop a dog from licking a sore or wound

Something proper and instinctive for dogs is to lick their wounds. The first thing to consider is why does it lick? We have animals that do it for physiological problems such as dermatitis, allergies or skin irritation from external agents; we also have those who do it out of boredom or stress. Finally, and as the title indicates, due to the presence of a sore, wound, incision or stitches.

Physiologically we must say that there is a reason why their wounds are licked, regardless of the origin or what we put on top of them to alleviate them. It is the ascorbic acid in saliva that reacts with the nitrates in the skin resulting in nitrogen monoxide that promotes healing. Unfortunately, it also favors the proliferation of germs and enlargement of wounds. But we must not forget that saliva has a certain amount of microbes that live and proliferate, peacefully, in the mouth of our animal but, being in the new and labile territory, they begin with colonization.

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Wounds?

To understand our four-legged companions a little more, we must say that when canids that live in nature have a wound, the only way to clean themselves is by licking. There is no disinfection or a healing ointment to help them. So in this case, we should say that the major pollutants are normally removed. But that should only be admitted in cases where they live in their natural habitat and without being able to access disinfection with soap and water.

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As we anticipated in the introduction, dogs can lick their wounds for different reasons. It is often their way of communicating with others, asking for food, and interacting with the world around them. But many times we observe that our dog has generated the injury himself. After excessive licking, mainly on the front legs and occasionally between the toes, we will see a lack of hair in the area, redness and many times even bleeding.

When we discover this we run to the vet and they inform us, in most cases, that they are caused by stress or boredom; so we return home more disappointed than at the beginning since they inform us that our animal is suffering. Many times, our furry friend gives us signals that we unintentionally overlook, and ends up with this mark on his skin. We are talking about acral lick dermatitis.

There are several ways to prevent your dog from licking a sore or wound. For this, we can resort to physical elements that prevent the dog from licking or spend more time on longer walks, intense games and lots of pampering, which in general is what they are asking of us.

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Basically, it must be observed that an animal that licks itself also generates endorphins that calm the burning or itching of the wound, generating relief. The best we can do is be attentive to our dog so that we can attend to him if he needs us.

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How to Stop a Dog from Licking a Sore, Wound, Incision or Stitches

Ideally, try to find out correctly what is the cause of the licking. If it was due to an injury due to surgery, we already have the answer. But in the cases that each member of the family thinks something different, we will go to the vet to hear a diagnosis from a specialist. It is a must.

Once we receive the diagnosis we must pay attention to the care of the wound. Sometimes it may require the use of painkillers and even sedation, especially if we are talking about a process that involves a lot of pain. The treatment indicated by the veterinarian should be followed, for example the application of a cream.

In addition, there are several tricks that we can use to prevent the dog from licking a sore or wound:

  • The Elizabethan collar: whether made of rigid plastic, fabric or EVA rubber, the E-collar or pet cone is undoubtedly one of the most useful tools when it comes to preventing the dog from licking its wounds. However, some become depressed, try to remove it, or do not carry out their daily routine in a normal way. It is advisable to remove it from time to time and, while we remove it, supervise it to prevent it from licking.

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  • Neck brace: this collar is much more effective than the previous one, however, its price is higher and we can only find it in specialized sites or in certain veterinary clinics.
  • Socks for paws: if your dog’s wound is on a leg, you can use a sock to prevent it from licking and biting it. You can fix it with a bandage.

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  • Cohesive bandage: this type of bandage can be found in any pharmacy and they are very useful, since they adhere to themselves, never to the fur. We can cover the wound on a leg, tail, neck etc.
  • Clothes: to finish, we suggest the use of clothes for dogs or, in its absence, clothes for babies or small children. Although putting it on can be very cumbersome, covering its body completely is an excellent way to prevent licking, especially if the wound is in an area that is impossible to cover.

Now you know different ways to prevent a dog from licking a sore or wound. Of course, if you have any ideas, suggestions or questions that we can add, don’t forget to comment!

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Important: This article is for informational purposes only. We always recommend that you go to a trusted vet with your pet first.