Dog First Aid – Lick Sores
If you are a new dog owner, expect the pet to bark, scratch, chew and lick a lot because these are natural behaviors of dogs. However, it would be the concern of the dog owner if these natural behaviors become excessive. Lick sores also known as lick granuloma, or acral lick dermatitis is one of the results of excessive licking.
This condition would start when the dog incessantly licks a spot. The spot that is constantly rubbed by the dog’s raspy tongue will harden, redden and become shiny and the hair will fall off as well. The dog will continue to lick the hardened skin until the skin is scraped raw, a condition that can lead to infection.
Lick sores usually develop on the wrist area of the front and hind legs as these spots can be easily licked by the dog. This skin concern is most common in short haired dog breeds like Doberman Pinscher, German Shepherd, Irish Setter and in Golden Retrievers. Lick sores usually start from fungal or bacterial infection or when a spot bitten by an insect or a flea is persistently licked by the dog. Lick granulomas are believed to have a psychogenic origin as pets that are usually left alone all day would develop this skin concern. Lick sores therefore are associated with boredom and inactivity.
Lick sores can arise from various causes thus no single method can effectively and totally resolve this concern. The lesions may be healed for a time but because of the dog’s licking, the sores will again resurface. It is therefore necessary for a dog owner to know the possible reasons for the dog’s obsessive and compulsive licking as treatment will be geared towards eliminating the underlying cause of the problem.
The tendency of the skin lesions to erupt again and again makes this skin disease a big concern of dog owners. Lick sores can be treated with laser surgery. Laser surgery though would not totally eliminate the problem if the dog’s inclination to lick is not resolved. Antibiotics for infection and other topical ointments are commonly applied to the lesions. The dog owner can modify the dog’s licking habit by using some effective methods. Bandaging the affected leg will prevent the pet from mutilating the lesion. Stop the dog from licking by applying Bitter Apple or Tabasco to the affected spot. Another method is to use Elizabethan collar.
Licks sores are better managed with preventive measures. The owner has to use preventive measures as soon as the pet starts excessively licking a spot.