Excessive licking

malteseforum.com is a way to find and share information. You can ask questions on any Maltese dog topic, get answers from real people, and share your insights and experience. Sponsored by the largest and most active Maltese dog website in the world. Professionally moderated.

Excessive licking

Postby RJs mom » Fri Jul 10, 2009 3:08 pm

Our male maltese is a year and a half old. Over the past several months we have noticed that he increasingly licks incessantly. He mostly licks nothing (i.e. just the air) but also an occasional pillow or blanket. We walk him somewhat regularly and play catch with him daily. Has anyone dealt with this condition? My vet says he could be obsessive compulsive, but we are not interested in putting him on medication.

Thank you
RJs mom
 

Re: Excessive licking

Postby MyMalteseKid » Fri Jul 10, 2009 7:56 pm

Some dogs will do this - it could be a slight OCD thing going on...another reason maybe they find comfort in licking, especially a pillow, etc. My little licks my legs every chance he gets. Have you tried distracting him with a toy, petting him, treats, etc.

Do you think he may have an issue with teeth or his gums or even tonsils other then this being behavioral?

Does he do it all the time or at certain times of the day? I agree with no meds at this time....If it worsens I would have a neurologist look him over before any meds are given if your vet persists down the road. Let us know how your little one is doing.
User avatar
MyMalteseKid
 
Posts: 1252
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:01 pm

Re: Excessive licking

Postby RJs mom » Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:14 pm

Thank you for your reply. I'd say he's most prone to lick throughout the day and evening...not so much in the morning. For instance...as I post this reply, he's on my bed, licking my pillow.
What kind of issue would you suspect with his teeth, gums?
I suppose the best thing to do would be to log the times and surrounding conditions for some time to try to pin down any patterns. Are there really canine neurologists?

Thank you again!
RJ's mom
RJs mom
 

Re: Excessive licking

Postby carriegene » Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:12 pm

My dog has separation anxiety and every time I am on the phone, she will start to lick. She licks her tags or she licks her feet. Finally dawned on me this is one way to get my attention.
carriegene
 

Re: Excessive licking

Postby MyMalteseKid » Sun Jul 12, 2009 4:13 pm

>>>[quote="RJs mom"]Thank you for your reply. I'd say he's most prone to lick throughout the day and evening...not so much in the morning. For instance...as I post this reply, he's on my bed, licking my pillow. What kind of issue would you suspect with his teeth, gums? I suppose the best thing to do would be to log the times and surrounding conditions for some time to try to pin down any patterns. Are there really canine neurologists?

Thank you again!
RJ's mom[/quote]<<<

Hi RJ's Mom...yep there are Veterinary Neurologists. You can ask your vet to recommend one or check your area to see if one is close by. A Neurologist treated one of my little ones for White Shaker Syndrome. I also find that the cost between a Specialist and our regular Vet is not that much different with cost of services. I think a Neurologist would be more knowledgeable with the licking and why.

I mentioned the teeth/gums thinking that maybe something is bothering him and licking gives him a little relief. EX: abscess, inflammation of the gums, possible baby tooth that didn't fall out, tonsils, possibility something caught between his teeth (ex: a piece of raw hide if he chews on them), etc.

Your little one may just need more exercise/play time, new toys, etc. if he is doing this from not releasing more energy. Having him examined would let you know the why and will ease you knowing the cause.

Yep keep a record of the times you see him doing this. EX: Before a walk and then taking him for walk and then see how long of a time it takes him to start licking, etc.

Let us know how your little one is doing and if he stops the licking.
User avatar
MyMalteseKid
 
Posts: 1252
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:01 pm

Re: Excessive licking

Postby mypreciousmaggie » Sun Jul 12, 2009 11:26 pm

My female Maltese, 2 years old, licks 24/7. She licks me, my husband, company or anyone who will pick her up. If she is on the floor she licks your toes, feet, legs nonstop. Her licking is totally OUT OF CONTROL. We don't know what causes this or how to stop it. Please, please give me some helpful feedback. Thanks!
mypreciousmaggie
 

Re: Excessive licking

Postby kindness » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:32 pm

All I can say is that you're not alone and I'm so happy to know that I am not alone! My little licks the comforter on my bed, the pillows on the sofa, to name a couple, in addition to constant licking of my face when I pick him up - and he always goes to the mouth!! I asked the vet about it and she said it's just something "different" that my dog does. I have other issues with him (i.e., he will not step on grass, he nearly hyperventilates in the car, etc.), and I think it may be because he has "issues" from being in a glass cage for the first 10 months of his life.
kindness
 

Re: Excessive licking

Postby MyMalteseKid » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:40 pm

>>>[quote="kindness"]All I can say is that you're not alone and I'm so happy to know that I am not alone! My little licks the comforter on my bed, the pillows on the sofa, to name a couple, in addition to constant licking of my face when I pick him up - and he always goes to the mouth!! I asked the vet about it and she said it's just something "different" that my dog does. I have other issues with him (i.e., he will not step on grass, he nearly hyperventilates in the car, etc.), and I think it may be because he has "issues" from being in a glass cage for the first 10 months of his life.[/quote]<<<


You are so right about your little one's behavior from being in a glass cage for 10 months of his life. It will take time and patience with getting him comfort with grass and car rides. He now has a loving home.
User avatar
MyMalteseKid
 
Posts: 1252
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:01 pm

Re: Excessive licking

Postby CrazieHeather » Sat Apr 17, 2010 3:12 pm

My maltese is about 9 yrs. old and he is a licker too! We got him from people who didn't take care of him at all. He had an abscess through the side of his cheek due to no vet care in years. His gums and teeth were very infected. We spent a good deal of money getting him taken care of. He had to get 11 teeth pulled and lots of antibiotics for the infection, he literally had green snot looking discharge coming from the abscess. He is taken care of very well now, but still constantly licks. We recently took him back to the vet for twitching his head funny (found out the groomer got water in his ear), but they checked his teeth as well and had another small gum infection. Maltese are very prone to teeth/gum problems especially mine since he wasn't properly cared for. BUT If your maltese has bad breath and is constantly licking I would guess there is something wrong with his teeth or gums. If you can I suggest brushing their teeth to remove plaque every few months if the dog eats any kind of soft food such as canned food or treats. Rawhide also can get caught between their teeth causing them to lick excessively, somehow mine got the smallest little rock between his teeth that the vet found at the last visit. Older maltese should get their teeth cleaned every 6 months b/c the breed is so prone to dental problems. His breath improved SO MUCH too after getting a small brush recently, but is already back to bad breath (only been about 2 months). I'm thinking about switching vets b/c I suspect his teeth/gums are still having a problem since they didn't ask for a check up (after finishing antibiotics) after this last visit. His breath is bad again so I really think there could still be an infection, he also won't eat any hard treats (milkbones and even duck jerky which he loves) and cries if I don't break it up for him in small pieces. I really think dental problems are a big sign of excessive licking. I have talked to the vet about this, and they also said it could be allergies. Dogs who have allergies tend to lick their paws and body nonstop and also chew. When humans have allergies we sneeze, have runny noses, etc. but when dogs have allergies their bodies itch all over causing them to chew/lick theirselves alot. I give my maltese about 1/3 of a benadryl pill (10lbs.) when he starts showing signs of excessive itching. This helps the itching, but shouldn't be given to them all the time b/c they can become immune.

If you have ruled out dental problems and allergies, then I would have to guess the dog is OCD or is very bored. Try playing fetch or tug of war with squeeky toys or even getting on the floor and rough housing a bit. My maltese loves this and gets him to quit licking sometimes b/c when were done he will go to sleep instead of starting to lick again. Also give chew bones to keep them occupied and helps relieve pain inside the mouth while also helps remove some plaque. Just watch out for certain kinds of bones. I have small rawhide bones I've been giving my maltese, but have been recently finding information that rawhide is bad for dogs. So I'm still researching this.

My dog still licks the air, bed, blankets, everything, but I have talked to the vet several times. The allergies and dental problems were some of the bigger reasons. I'm still trying to find more info, but I'm starting to think my dog still has dental problems OR he is just OCD which I have not talked to the vet about yet. I'm running out of options...I wish I knew how to stop it! Hopefully one of these reasons helps you and your dog, but I'm still looking for my little one. It could be the OCD, but I'm not sure I will ever put him on medication as it is just like antidepressants for humans.

Also the whole not going into the grass thing, my dog did the same thing (not hyperventilating though). He was locked in a small cage everyday with only the chance to go outside to use the bathroom a few times a day. The people had 2 larger MEAN dogs in the yard, so he would use the bathroom on their concrete patio never going into the grass. It took us months to get him to go in the grass. I think since he had never been in grass, it made him itchy so he didn't want to go. We would pick him up and put him in the middle of grass so he didn't have a choice and reward with a small treat and praise afterwards. He still doesn't like when the grass is long, but we have no problem with him now using the bathroom in the yard. Grass is just itchy so it takes them time to get used to it, but he will get use to it after time, and it won't itch him as much unless the grass is really long. Just takes patience and praise and he'll be out there in no time. Make sure you stand in the grass with him in case he is scared, so he realizes your their to protect him and there is nothing to be afraid of. Good luck hope this helps!

Any more ideas on the excessive licking PLEASE POST!
CrazieHeather
 


Return to Discussion of Maltese Dogs

cron