Sara, I often get emails from our readers regarding dogs related queries. For the past few months, we have been getting a common question: “How to keep a dog from licking a wound.”
A few years back, we did the same thing; we asked our Vet how to keep a dog from licking a wound! And our veterinarian suggested some important and helpful tips that worked well on Jack.
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To keep a dog from licking a wound, you can try using a bitter-tasting deterrent spray specifically made for pets on the wound area, or consider using a pet-safe medical wrap or bandage to cover the wound and prevent direct access. Additionally, providing distractions and engaging activities can help redirect the dog’s attention away from the wound.
I forgot to tell you; Jack is our furry pal. And we, as pet parents, share our journey with you guys. Most of them are related to the pet’s health and behavior. So in this article, we will look at how to keep a dog from licking a wound!
You may have noticed that your furry pal licks his wounds when it hurts! Every pet parent kind of overlooks it, and some of us think that licking a wounded area will be healed easily. That’s the reason their pet licks the wounded area!
Now for animals, it’s an instinctive behavior. They were born with this behavior. Sara and I get emails from you regarding this question and ask for a valid reason. So we decided to cover this topic, how to keep a dog from licking a wound.
So please read the entire article carefully for your furry pal’ health.
First, we need to understand why it is important to prevent your dog from licking its wound. You may think it’s normal for your pet to lick the wounded area due to instinctive behavior, but there’s more to consider. When your dog licks its wound, it can actually worsen the injured area.
However, licking the wound may also provide some protection against bacteria. Nevertheless, there is a risk that the wound may become infected with dangerous bacteria and fungi, which can spread to other parts of the body.
Even excessively licking on a wounded spot may also slow the recovery process. It is better to prevent your dogs from licking the wounds.
Table of Contents
Understanding the Reasons for Dog Wound Licking
To eliminate any unwanted behavior of your dog, you must understand the root cause of the behavior. Once you’ve got the idea behind why your pal licks their wound repeatedly, you can easily help him out to avoid this unwanted behavior.
These below-mentioned points may be the actual cause of wound-licking behavior.
Dogs are born with weird instinctive behavior and don’t develop it over time, but it is in their nature. For example, barking at nothing, growling, and licking other dogs’ ears. Likewise, wound licking is also one of the instincts they were born with.
2. Due to Pain:
It is very common in all animated beings on the planet Earth. Even humans try to touch or feel the area where we feel pain. Don’t we? Yes, we do. Due to excessive pain, dogs also lick the spot where they feel pain. They think that by licking, they will be able to eliminate the pain.
Anxiety is another reason why your dog licks its wound. Due to pain, when your pal cannot decide what to do at that time, it tries to touch that sensible wounded area. Licking their wounded area gives their brain signals of comfortability. That’s why dogs lick their wounds.
Some study suggests boredom may develop licking behavior in your dogs, whether licking their wounded area or licking another dog’s ear. When we leave our dogs alone at home, they do not understand what to do. So in lonely dogs, this licking behavior may be developed.
When your dog gets injured for a reason, they may feel discomfort in that area, some tickling and irritation sensation they do feel in their wounded area. They start licking that area to remove that irritating feeling from that part.
These are approximate reasons why your dog licks its wounded area. However, more research is needed to know the exact cause of the dog’s wound-licking habit.
Now you know why they lick their wounds, so it’s time to help your dog to prevent them from licking. You may find thousands of remedies and tips, but these are from our experience.
Essential Techniques to Prevent Dog Wound Licking
We tried the dog wound protection tips mentioned below, which helped us prevent Jack from licking his wounded legs.
1. Use an Elizabethan Collar or Cone of Shame:
The best way to prevent your dog from licking its wound is to use a dog cone or Elizabethan Collar. Elizabethan collar is popularly known as E-collar. This collar does not allow your dog to lick its wounds.
There are many types of collars available in the market. Choose a soft one so your dog feels comfortable when you put this collar on him. While choosing an Elizabethan collar, ensure the collar is wide enough to keep your dog’s muzzle away from the wounded area.
Use an inflatable collar:
Using an inflatable collar is also effective in preventing your dog from licking its wound. These inflatable collars are easy to use and easy on your furry pal’s neck. The material of inflatable collars is soft and does not cause any irritation to your dog’s neck. So we often suggest this to all pet owners who ask how to keep their dogs from licking a wound.
2. Bandage the wounded area:
A dog wound bandage is one of the best ways to keep your dog from licking a wound. Bandaging the wounded area will not only prevent your dog from licking the area but also helps the wound to get cured at a fast rate. Considering the severity of the wound, you must bandage the wounded area.
If you don’t know how to do a dog wound bandage, getting a veterinarian consultation for bandaging and dressing the wounds is suggested. Else you may hurt your pal while dressing him with an amateur hand.
3. Use a recovery suit:
If you prefer not to use bandages on your wounded dog, recovery suits are a highly effective alternative for protecting dog wounds. These suits are easy to use. Get a recovery suit for your dog. Many recovery suits on the market cover certain wounded parts of a dog’s body.
If You put those suits on your dog, your pal won’t be able to lick the wounded area. When Jack injured his legs by hitting a wall, we got him a recovery suit, especially for his legs. So you can check out all those recovery suits, and as per requirement, you can buy them.
Related Post: 8 Best Dog Knee Braces: Helping Your Pooch Get Around
4. Use chew toys:
Chewing toys will prevent your dog from licking its wounds. Chew toys are effective in this case. Chewing toys not only helps your dog from licking the wounds but also helps you eliminate weird behaviors like growling without any reason, barking at night, licking its tail, and ear-licking behaviors.
5. Consult a behavioral expert:
The best way to keep your dog from licking a wound is to give him a command. Teaching a few commands to your dogs can be beneficial. Start with short commands such as ‘NO,’ ‘DON’T,’ and ‘STOP IT.’ Command these small words when your dog is about to lick his wounds.
6. Use peanut butter:
This is a tricky one! But who doesn’t love to be pampered when they are sick? So when your dog gets wounded and is about to lick its wounded body part, give him some peanut butter. Giving them to lick something will divert their mind, and they will forget the pain for a while, preventing them from licking.
Natural Remedies and Products to Discourage Dog Wound Licking
Using the above techniques is quite good, but if you want to use some other method, try these useful home remedies and readymade products to keep your dog from licking.
1. Pheromone diffuser:
Use a pheromone diffuser to divert your injured dog’s mind. There are many pheromone diffusers available in the market. Dogs find these pheromone diffusers soothing; thus, their anxiety disappears automatically, and they stop licking their wounds.
2. Bitter spray for dogs:
Using a bitter spray on dogs may seem one of the easiest ways to prevent dogs from licking its wound. Mix 2 cups of apple cider vinegar and 1 cup of white vinegar into an empty spray bottle. Shake the spray bottle well before spraying them on the injured area.
This technique works very well. But one thing you should remember before spraying this vinegar solution on the wounded area is to consult your veterinarian first. Vinegar solution may be allergic to your dog and cause a more severe wound.
Creating a Healing Environment to Prevent Dog Wound Licking
To help your dog recover quickly, take extra care of your dog’s wounded area. Cleaning the wounded area, dressing appropriately, and looking after the injured area regularly will help your dog to find a speedy recovery.
Many people may suggest you take care of the dressing and cleanliness independently, but we do not recommend that as this may trigger more pain in your dogs. It is better to take your dog to the veterinarian. Your vet will tell you the right way to dress a wounded dog.
After dressing, keep an eye on your dog. Instruct him not to do that if you see it licking the wound over the dressing. If needed, you must take your dog regularly to the Vet.
Underlying Issues and Seeking Professional Help
As pet parents, we strongly advise against ignoring your dog’s health issues. We do not even suggest any home remedy. The wound may lead to some other serious health issues. So, it is important to consult with your doctor first about any condition. Remember, a professional behaviorist and veterinarian are the best individuals to provide you with the right solutions for any behavioral changes in your dogs.
A wound may seem normal and will be cured independently, but here we make mistakes. We ignore their wounds! We all do that. To get a proper suggestion, consult your vet as soon as possible. Follow the guidelines that they provide.
And talking about any behavioral changes, we need to be very polite with our dogs. They are wild creatures. They are born with some instinct they cannot forget, but with your guidance and training, they may avoid doing that.
A positive and consistent approach towards your dog will make him comfortable. Even it has been observed dogs get speedy recovery if they get good treatment. So be a humble one to your pet and help him get a speedy recovery.
Read Next: Why Do Chihuahuas Lick So Much?
1. Are there any alternatives to using an Elizabethan Collar?
A: Yes, you can use an inflatable dog collar instead of Elizabethan Collar. These are soft and easy to put on. Even it does not cause any irritation around your dog’s neck area.
2. Can I use bitter-tasting sprays or substances to discourage licking?
A: Getting a consultation from your veterinarian before using any bitter-tasting spray is suggested, as some of them may be allergic to your dog.
3. How long should I keep my dog from licking its wound during healing?
A: It depends upon the severity of the wound. Taking an expert opinion is important. We suggest, unless and until the wound gets cured fully, do not allow your dog to lick their wounds.
4. Will a wound heal if a dog keeps licking it?
A: In some cases, it may be cured by licking, but it also has been observed that licking the wound several times may worsen the injured area. So it is suggested not to let your dog lick the wounded part of the body.
5. How to keep a dog from licking stitches without a cone?
A: Bandage the stitched area properly. You can also use a dog wound deterrent spray.