What is normal and what isn't
When dogs lick their abdomen and groin area the first question you must ask is why, as this behaviour is not always related to the skin or skin allergies.
The groin region is connected to many other structures and organs within the body, and licking is your dog's only way to point to or soothe the afflicted area. The following list includes the most common causes of abdomen and groin licking.
The most common reasons dogs lick their groin
Muscle sprain or injury is one of the most common causes. Dogs play, run, slip, and slide, and it is pretty common for them to injure their groin and psoas muscles that attach to their hips. If you suspect this has happened, rest your dog for a few days, administer a dose of homeopathic Arnica 30C or 200C two to three times daily for 2-3 days, and give your dog a triple dose of a high-quality Omega-3 supplement. It is also important to ensure your dog does not suffer from hip dysplasia, which is relatively common and can cause similar problems.
Note: The most important Omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA, are as effective as NSAID drugs without side effects like stomach and intestinal tract bleeding and also kidney and liver damage. Please avoid NSAID painkillers, and note that plant-based oils such as flax or other seed oils do not contain EPA and DHA.
Lumbar or sacral spinal injury or misalignment is also a relatively common cause. The spine and the adjacent (paraspinal) muscles are prone to injuries that may lead to nerve impingement and abnormal skin sensation in the groin. Administering a high-quality Omega-3 oil, giving Arnica, and resting, are the first steps but seeing a practitioner with knowledge of spinal adjustments or acupuncture is also important. Click here to learn more about spinal health in dogs.
Urinary bladder infection, inflammation, stones, or cancer can also be reasons for dogs to lick. If your dog doesn’t stop licking after you’ve addressed points 1 and 2, have your dog’s urine and blood work done to ensure urinary tract issues aren’t overlooked. Click to learn more about UTIs, kidney and bladder stones, and crystals.
Skin sensation, itching, and allergies are possible issues, but they rarely affect only the groin area. If your dog is licking their groin region exclusively, then points 1 and 2 are most commonly the cause. If you see irritation or a hot spot, you can treat them according to the hot spot protocol but also make sure that you address the underlying cause.
Hernias are relatively common in dogs and can sometimes be the cause of licking, check with your veterinarian to rule out this problem. You can feel your dog's groin to see if there is a hernia bulge under the skin.
- Excessive licking of the vulva or prepuce is not directly related to groin licking but may also be the reason for dogs paying attention to this area, and an examination is necessary.
How to address skin irritation and inflammation
caused by licking
It is a good idea to gently prevent your dog from licking without scolding and constantly correcting your dog, as this may lead to anxiety and even more obsessive licking. When dogs are stressed, they often start licking, which can sometimes be a form of self-soothing similar to nail-biting in humans.
I usually suggest putting a T-shirt on with two holes for the hind legs and then tied up under the tail. If this is not enough, you may need to put an inflatable collar on your dog until the issue is resolved.
To reduce redness or swelling, use herbal Skin Spray formula to soothe the skin. It works very well in situations where the skin is inflamed. I mentioned above that excessive licking can cause hot spots, for more info click here.
If your dog suffers from repeated urinary tract infections or crystals I suggest taking my free natural diet video course and using the healthy dog food Recipe Maker, which also includes information on what supplements to give.
Give your dog a hug for me!❤️🐶
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Dr. Peter Dobias, DVM has 30 years of experience as a veterinarian. He graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1988 in the Czech Republic and obtained the Canadian Certificate of Qualification in 1995. He is currently licensed in the European Union, and his unique approach to healing and nutrition helps holistically minded dog lovers worldwide.
Dr. Dobias strongly believes that disease prevention, natural nutrition and supplements, the right exercise and a drug free approach to medicine can add years to your dog's life.
As a formulator of his all-natural vitamin and supplement line and co-inventor of natural, chemical free flea and tick control, FleaHex® and TickHex®, his unique healing system and products currently hold the highest independent five star customer rating. For more information click here.
Any general recommendations that Dr. Dobias makes are not a substitute for the appropriate veterinary care and are for informational and educational purposes only.