Why Is My Dog Licking Their Butt?

dog licking butt

Is a dog licking its butt normal?

Dogs do all kinds of things that we may find very off putting in the human world.

But this does not mean that your dog is not adhering to best hygiene practices.

Usually licking is just the way your dog keeps itself clean.

However, there can be other reasons that lead a dog to lick itself too much, that may not be so harmless.

It is always a good idea to be vigilant of your dog’s behavior regardless of what it is.

If their licking becomes persistent and frequent, get them checked out by your local vet who can help diagnose your dog.

Common Reasons Dog Lick Their Butts

dog licking butt

As we mentioned, the most common reason for a dog’s excessive licking is to stay clean.

If a dog is having difficulty keeping clean in its anal area due to fecal matter stuck in the fur this will cause them to lick, in the hope that they can dislodge anything that had gotten stuck in the area.

You should definitely investigate the reason the dog has had trouble keeping itself clean just to be on the safe side.

Your dog could be indicating an irritation.

This can be caused by anything from parasites, allergies or infection. 

Anal Glands

A common reason dog’s lick their butts is often due to anal glands that have become overfull or impacted, causing anal gland issues. 

In addition to licking, your dog might also scoot his bum across the floor.

Dogs will do this to get some relief from the irritation by scratching against the carpet.

(The anal sac is kind of like your dog’s calling card , letting other dogs know your dog was there, or can be expressed as a warning when a dog is scared.

Dogs will normally express their own anal glands every time they go to the bathroom, but sometimes the material can become thick, and your dog is unable to do it themselves anymore.

This is easily fixed by taking the dog to the vet to have the anal glands expressed.

Some people will do this themselves when the glands can become full.

Just be warned that the smell is beyond horrendous!

It’s important to have your dog’s anal glands checked by a veterinarian if they are licking or scooting to ensure  their anal glands do not become impacted causing an abscess or infection.

This can cause an abscess or infection.

Parasites

Other reasons for licking  that could be more serious cases may be due to intestinal parasites that could lead to health problems.

Internal parasites can include tapeworms, hookworms, roundworms or whipworms.

Internal parasites live in your dog’s intestines and when they come out, they can cause an itching around their anus.

A tell tale sign of this can be the remnants of the parasite either around their anus or in their feces, however some are too small to be seen.

External parasites (such as mites, fleas and ticks) can also cause irritation who have made a home for themselves in that region.

Best to make a trip to your local veterinarian to rule out any issues before your dog’s licking contributes to a skin infection.

How to Stop Them Licking

dog licking butt

There are a few over the counter options available to prevent your dog from licking their butt.

However, it’s very important to get your dog checked by a veterinarian first before administering any treatment.

Your vet might be able to prescribe some topical treatments or medications that will fix their health issues.

If you have determined that there is nothing serious going on with your dog’s behind try a cone. 

Also known as an Elizabethan dog collar, this cone will keep your dog from being able to reach her butt.

Try changing the shampoo you are using, and check for irritations on a regular basis.

When To Consult Your Vet

dog licking butt

It’s always important to monitor any changes in your dog.

As mentioned at the beginning, it’s not uncommon for dogs to lick their butts occasionally.

However, if the licking becomes persistent and aggressive, it’s probably a good indicator to take your dog to get checked by a vet.

It is particularly important to take your dog to the vet if they are experiencing other symptoms, such as:

  • Not eating, or decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Red or inflamed skin around the anus
  • Evidence of worms in the stool. 

If you notice that your dog has started licking excessively, and there is any evidence of the above symptoms, see your vet immediately.

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