Why Is My Dog Biting Himself?

Many pet parents have reported that their cute pups have a habit of biting or licking themselves. While some dog owners may assume this behavior is natural and doesn’t need to be addressed, it can actually be quite dangerous for the pup and should not be ignored. In some cases, dogs bite themselves as a form of self-mutilation known as “Acral Lick Granuloma” (ALG). Knowing why dogs bite themselves and how you can stop this behavior is important in keeping your pet safe from injury or infection.

Picture of a beagle dog biting their itchy and irritated skin   

A Few Possible Causes of Constant Biting:

There are a few potential causes for why dogs bite themselves, including skin irritation or allergies, boredom or anxiety, and compulsive disorders. Some breeds of dogs in particular, such as English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Pugs, seem to be more prone to this behavior than others.

  • Skin Irritation or Allergies: Skin irritations can cause a dog to compulsively lick or bite itself until it becomes raw. This is especially true in the case of English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs who may have extra folds of skin around their faces that become irritated easily due to poor air circulation. Additionally, some pups may develop allergies which can cause them to itch uncontrollably leading them to scratch or bite at the affected areas.
  • Boredom or Anxiety: Dogs can also bite themselves out of boredom if they have too much time on their hands, or due to anxiety when in a new environment. If your pup is exhibiting this behavior it’s important to provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to help keep them entertained and reduce any stress they may be feeling.
  • Compulsive Disorders: In some cases, dogs can develop compulsive disorders which cause them to excessively lick or bite themselves regardless of the underlying cause. While there is no known cure for this condition, providing your pet with regular vet check-ups, addressing underlying causes such as skin irritation, anxiety, and boredom, and using positive reinforcement techniques for good behavior can help reduce the severity of their symptoms.

How to Stop Your Pup From Biting Itself:

The most important thing you can do to stop your pup from biting itself is to identify and address any underlying causes such as allergies, skin irritations, boredom, or anxiety. Additionally, distractions such as toys and treats may help keep them occupied and prevent them from engaging in this self-harming behavior. In severe cases, it may be necessary to consult with a veterinarian or dog trainer who can provide additional guidance on how to best manage the issue.

How To Prevent Biting:

Preventing dogs from biting themselves starts with proper grooming practices for breeds like English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, and Pugs whose faces are vulnerable to skin irritations.

Keeping their fur trimmed and face clean can help reduce the buildup of dirt, bacteria, and allergens which can lead to irritation or infection. It is important to clean their wrinkles regularly in order to prevent any skin problems from further developing. Squishface Wrinkle Wipes have phytosphingosine in them and no other dog wrinkle wipes have that! Combine it with Squishface Wrinkle Paste for around the clock protection. Use Wrinkle Paste as a protective barrier on your dog’s nose rope, wrinkles and skin folds, toes or tail pockets, and to remove stubborn tear stains in bulldogs.

Additionally, providing your pup with plenty of socialization, exercise, mental stimulation, and positive reinforcement can all help to prevent this habit from developing in the first place.

The Bottom Line:

Although it can be difficult to break the habit of self-mutilation, with time and patience, you can help your pup become less prone to biting itself. With consistent training and positive reinforcement, you can create a safe environment for your pup while they learn alternative behaviors instead of licking or biting themselves. Knowing why dogs bite themselves and how to stop it is key in keeping them safe from injury or infection. As always, consult your vet for additional advice and guidance.

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