Why Does My Dog Keep Licking His Butt?

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Dog licking butt (caption:Why Do Dogs Lick Their Butt?)As dog parents, we all know our pups can perform some pretty repulsive displays of behavior (especially when we have company over). And a dog licking its butt is arguably one of the worst. Although you may want to avert your eyes, this behavior could indicate a health concern that requires your attention.

Article Overview

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Butt?

In many cases, dogs simply lick their butts as part of their grooming process. Dogs lick all parts of their bodies to clean themselves, and their nether regions are no exception. But if you notice excessive butt licking, your dog could have one of these conditions that may require vet attention.

When To Consult Your Vet

If your dog’s butt is red and inflamed and he won’t stop licking it excessively, you should consult your veterinarian. It’s never a good idea to “self-diagnose” a potential health problem with your pup.

Anal Gland Problems

Dog laying on backImpacted or infected anal glands are a fairly common cause of anal irritation in dogs. Healthy anal glands, or sacs, continually fill up with fluid that gets expelled every time your dog poops. But often, these glands get clogged leading to a bacterial infection or abscesses that can become quite uncomfortable for your pet.

Besides licking his anal area, you may also notice him dragging his butt along the ground to help relieve the itching and discomfort. Other telltale signs include red skin around his anus, bleeding or pus draining from around his anus.

If your dog has one or more of these symptoms, take him to the vet as soon as possible. Your vet will need to expel these fluids manually and possibly prescribe treatment for an infection. In the worst cases, impacted anal glands can rupture, which then require surgical removal.

Some dogs have chronic anal gland problems, and if your dog has experienced impacted anal glands before, it’s usually safe to express them at home (with the okay from your vet, of course).

Learn more about expressing your dog’s anal glands

Internal Or External Parasites

Internal parasites that can live in your dog’s intestines, such as hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms and whipworms, may be the cause of anal irritation. They can also cause other health issues, including vomiting, diarrhea, nutritional deficiencies and anemia.

You may also find segments of these worms around your dog’s anus and in his stool. Your vet can test a fecal sample and then prescribe treatment to kill the specific internal parasite that tests positive.

External parasites like mites, fleas and ticks can also cause your dog’s anal region to become itchy. Fortunately, there are topical treatments that you can use to get rid of these pests. See our article about the best flea and tick products.

Skin Allergies & Infections

Food or contact allergies could also be the culprit. However, if your dog is suffering from these kinds of allergies, it’s likely that he’ll lick or chew many other itchy parts of his body in addition to his rear area.

Dog itching (text in image: Common Dog Skin Issues & RemediesIf you suspect that your dog has food-related allergies, consult your vet with all the symptoms he’s experiencing. If he does have food allergies, you might want to consider a raw food diet or check out our reviews of the best dog food delivery services, some of which deliver customized, allergen-free dog food to your home.

Although not as common, it’s also possible that your dog has developed a fungal or bacterial skin infection in his anal area. This can happen if the skin around his butt is punctured or if fecal matter remains on his skin after he poops. Unfortunately, excessive licking to clean a wound or remove fecal matter makes the problem worse and can lead to skin infections.

See the 7 most common dog skin problems to learn more about skin allergies, external parasites and other causes.

Home Remedies

These over-the-counter remedies can help relieve itchy skin and hot spots that result from excessive licking and chewing. We strongly recommend checking with your vet before starting at-home treatment, especially since there are many possible health condition indicated by this behavior.

KING KALM SootheKing Kanine’s King Kalm Soothe is a CBD-infused anti-itch spray that does a great job relieving dermal abrasions, hot spots and dry, cracked skin. It also helps reduce inflammation and protect against infections. This non-toxic spray includes aloe vera, tea tree oil, chamomile and other all-natural ingredients.

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Premium Itch ReliefVeterinary Formula Clinical Care Premium Itch Relief Spray provides dogs and cats medicated analgesic and anti-inflammatory relief from inflammation, itchy skin, hot spots and other skin irritations. It contains lidocaine and hydrocortisone to reduce itching, redness and swelling and allantoin to help heal wounds.

Does This Remind You Of Your Dog?

Here’s one owner’s video of their darling dog’s daily butt licking. Remind you of someone in your home?

Why Do Dogs Lick Everything?

Dogs love to lick anything, from themselves, other pets, people, their bedding and toys and even your furniture. Why are they licking fiends? Check out our article about why dogs lick if you’ve ever wondered why they’re so lick-crazy.

What crazy things does your dog love to lick?

About The Author:

Sally holds a BA in English from James Madison University and began her 25-year writing career as a grad student at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Journalism & Mass Communications. She’s been a pet parent since college years (and spent her whole childhood with pets).

Now as a parent of two teenagers, she’s made sure to raise her daughters to learn how to love and care for pets (and other animals) in the most responsible and loving ways. As a result, she and her daughters now have 5 rescued dogs and cats who essentially rule their home! Sally has also volunteered over the years to help raise funds for various animal nonprofit organizations.

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Stefan Smith
So my dog licks her butt sometimes, but literally only on our bed or sofa. We will leave for an hour or two and come back to a massive wet spot. It’s rarely in her own bed and I monitor her frequently. Overall, she is really healthy. She has had some skin sensitivity stuff in the past, but we switched her food and her coat and skin are the best it has been. I don’t think her anal glands are impacted as there is little to no redness and it doesn’t smell. When she does lick her butt, normally it is in the same few spots on the sofa and bed.
Dog owner
Its gross but obvisiously the dog can express his own anal glands by licking there. Only one time he forgot i guess and we had to go to vet. . .for an anus infection and impacted. We then went often to have it checked until the dog was back to keeping it clean again all by himself. . .
Sandra Czerny
Why do dog’s lick their butts or me or the sheets or anything else
Animals are family 85
My cocker spaniel used to lick his butt and around his belly and me and my bf didn’t know why until we took him into the vet they said he had a staff infection which is leading to licking because hes trying to cure his problem his self I felt so horrible because he was suffering through a staff infection and I didn’t know but luckily the vet gave us some meds for him… Now he gets to live happy again!