As pet parents, we’re no strangers to somewhat funky behavior now and then—and seeing our furry friends taking a swing at their butts with their tongue is arguably the least pleasant. While this is quite a regular occurrence, many of us are left wondering why does my dog keep licking his butt if it starts to happen more often than usual.
If butt-licking becomes more than just a part of your pup’s regular grooming routine, it may indicate something other than a dog’s self-care. Read on to discover what may be causing this behavior and which signs should prompt a trip to the vet.
Why Does My Dog Keep Licking His Butt
It’s no secret that the occasional tongue sweep is quite common, as dogs use this method to clean their rectal regions. This is particularly true for breeds with longer fur, as fecal matter can get caught up in the hairs and cause itchiness. When this turns into excessive licking, it may be due to several reasons, including:
Anal Gland Issues
All breeds of dogs have two tiny sacs that can be found on either side of the rectum. They’re filled with fluid which gets expelled every time there’s a regular bowel movement, and they need to poop quickly. They also release a signature scent unique to your pup, basically serving as a form of identification among other dogs and breeds.
If your dog won’t stop licking butt, it could be due to impacted anal glands, which occurs when the sacs get clogged with fluid. This condition can get quite uncomfortable for your pet, so it’s no surprise they’ll do anything to minimize discomfort.
But can dogs express their own glands by licking? Can that actually ease their symptoms in the long run? While they can undoubtedly make the itchiness go away for a bit, licking won’t do much to eliminate the condition entirely.
Apart from the butt-licking behavior, you may also notice your furry friend scooting their bum across the floor to relieve itching and pain. Other common signs of anal gland infection include redness around the anal opening, unusual stool, and pus under the skin.
Internal and External Parasites
Dog’s intestines are susceptible to a whole spectrum of internal parasites, which can significantly impact your pet’s overall well-being. Tapeworms, whipworms, and roundworms are just some of the intestinal worms that can slither their way into the digestive system and cause a whole host of problems, from itchy bums to vomiting and diarrhea.
However, when your dog keeps licking their butt, it may be trying to get rid of external parasites such as fleas, mites, and ticks. If left untreated with anti-parasitic medicine or medicated shampoos, these pesky little guys can lead to other physical symptoms such as anemia and malnutrition.
Much like humans, dogs can be allergic to various items in their surroundings. Food allergies, for instance, can make their entire body feel itchy. Your vet can help you determine which kinds of foods your four-legged friend is responding negatively to, ranging from eggs and wheat to chicken and beef. If you’d like to stay on the safe side, canned dog food is generally a safe choice for most dogs.
Similarly, environmental allergies can also contribute to an itchy butt, whether it’s the classic pollen season in the spring or the stray, moldy patches across your yard. If you suspect this may be the culprit behind your dog’s itchy bum, you might want to take steps to keep those allergens as far away from your little friend as possible.
This is another potential answer to the question of why my dog is licking his butt. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fungal infection or a bacterial skin infection; you’ll notice a significant amount of redness and inflammation around the affected area.
This can be treated through a course of prescribed antibiotics, as well as potential lifestyle changes to prevent this condition from happening again in the future.
How to Stop Your Dog from Excessive Licking
You might be thinking—since my dog keeps licking his bum and tail, is there any way I can help them? The short answer is yes, you most definitely can as you have some control over their behavior.
By taking your furry friend to see a professional, you’re giving them the opportunity to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. While we can only speculate what the issue may be, a vet can efficiently diagnose the problem and advise you on how to handle the situation.
In addition, you may want to consider switching up your pet’s existing routine. Whether it’s how often they bathe or specific dietary restrictions your vet might deem necessary, these small changes can significantly impact their digestive and anal gland health, minimizing the risk of future issues.
The bottom line is—if your canine is licking its butt now and then just to groom its fur and put the best version of itself forward, it’s probably not a cause for concern.
But if their behavior often leaves you wondering why does my dog keep licking his butt, then you might want to look into any accompanying signs that might indicate a more serious condition.