What is Lick Granuloma in Dogs
Lick Granuloma in dogs can be a serious problem both behaviorally and medically. However, several things can be done to help alleviate this troubling issue. Lick Granuloma occurs when a dog begins to lick an area to the point of creating a pressure sore that may ooze debris or bleed. The cause is suspected to be an underlying health condition, such as an allergy, abscess, or an itch on the body. However, licking can quickly become a behavioral issue, even after the treatment of the prime cause.
When your dog licks an area, he introduces a range of bacteria and other microorganisms via his tongue and saliva. Contrary to popular belief, dog tongues actually house bacteria, which can spread in small cuts, scrapes, or cracks in the skin. As your dog licks, he weakens the skin on the area he is licking, causing more cracks (and more places for bacteria) to form. After a while, the wound will open and may become a sore or other painful mass. As the area begins to heal, the granulation tissue forms; however, it is never allowed to finish healing due to the licking habit of the dog.
How Can I Prevent Lick Granuloma in Dogs
It is important to prevent your furry friend from any type of skin problems. By doing so, you are taking a step to reduce the risk of lick granuloma in dogs. If allergies or skin infections are suspected, treatment, such as antihistamines or an antibiotic, to fight the infection can help prevent the risk of skin itching and irritation that otherwise results in the development of licking habit in dogs.
If the wound has progressed to the point of irritation to start a licking habit in dogs, it is better to use an Elizabethan collar or a T-shirt (depending on the site of the irritation) to help prevent your pooch from licking and further irritating the spot. This can allow the irritated skin to properly heal as well as prevent the dog from developing a licking behavior.
Lick Granuloma in dogs may be caused by other factors unrelated to health. Dogs that are very active, stressed, or those with such issues as separation anxiety may begin to lick as a way to alleviate boredom or stress. For such dogs, it is a good idea to engage them in such activities that could help burn off excess energy (through longer walks or trips to the park) or alleviate boredom.
Dogs with separation anxiety may be distracted with a calming radio or TV or by engaging him in games, such as puzzle toys, to provide treats and entertainment when left alone. Stressed animals may need calming aids, such as chemical medications or a pheromone diffuser to help your furry friend during the stressful period.
What Should I Do If I Suspect Lick Granuloma in My Dog
If licking has progressed to the point that an open sore has formed, it is best to have the area examined by your veterinarian. The vet may perform a series of tests, including skin scrapings or blood work, depending on the suspected underlying cause. If you treat any underlying issues in addition to the lick granuloma, you can help prevent further occurrence. The actual granuloma should be treated for any secondary infections with the use of antibiotics or steroids as needed.
If the licking continues even after the area has healed, there are several treatments that can be used to help curb the behavior. Elizabethan collars and T-shirts are great tools for preventing licking, as well as bandaging the affected areas to prevent the tongue from getting to it. Several veterinary supply companies have recently come up with a “no lick” bandage material, that sends either a minor shock or a distasteful flavor to your dog upon licking. This creates a positive punishment style training, that discourages dogs from continuing to lick the area. After a period of time, the bandaging and other materials can be removed so that your dog can return to his normal activities- without licking.
This creates a positive punishment style training that discourages dogs from continuing to lick the area. After a period of time, the bandaging and other materials can be removed so that your dog can return to his normal activities- without licking.
Natural Remedies for Treating Lick Granuloma in Dogs
Treating underlying issues with natural remedies are a great way to prevent a lick granuloma from starting. Natural herbs, such as chickweed and calendula, can be used to make salves and placed on areas of irritation or itching. Immune boosters are another great way of preventing skin irritation and infection. Garlic and Echinacea supplements can be added to a daily routine to help boost the immune system.
If licking has started, natural deterrents, such as hot sauces or bitter flavors, as well as tools, including an Elizabethan collar or T-shirt, can help deter the habit of licking. If you can prevent the behavior and the granuloma, it is the best natural way of treating the condition. Stressed pets can be given supplements, such as B vitamins, to help alleviate the symptoms, while Chamomile and Hyssop can help anxious pets and those with separation anxiety.