Our expert says:
Dog Behaviour Expert
Hi Marlene, firstly so pleased you like the site, Health 24 will be thrilled!
OK, onto question. I think that her continued licking may be a result of the habit that developed and that licking to a dog is a way of releasing stress. Its hard to realize why exactly a dog would lick itself until it bleeds, but it does help the dog to cope and the behaviour the dog is performing actually tends to calm it down - something to do with the endorphins released, if I remember correctly and this actually results in a form of euphoria and reinforces the dog performing the behaviour. It is known as Acral Lick Syndrome or Granuloma, and in addition to behaviour modification, vet assistance is often required..
As your vet has already checked the dog out, I am assuming there are no physical concerns, but I would definately give him a ring, explain that the dog is licking again and he may recommend putting her on medication to help with this for a period of time while you address the behaviour side of things. Given that she was a rescue dog, the reason for licking probably stems from stress.
From a management point of view, give her as many chewy toys as you can, especially one's (such as a Kong or empty marrow bone) and soften her food and put it in there to keep her entertained. also supply her with an empty Coke/Water bottle that has been filled with 3/4 hot water to which 1 t of bovril/marmite has beeen added. Add in some cubes or treats, then freeze the bottle. It will take about 24 hours to freeze. Then offer this to the dog to chew on. Be wary if there is any fighting between the dogs though!
If you see her about to start licking, then the quicker you distract with a game, a walk, a toy etc the better.
Make sure she is getting enough physical and mental stimulation, as in addition to this being a condition caused by stress, boredom and frustration play a major part too.
If you are not coming right with all the above, i would suggest getting in a professional to help you with this, plus learning how to do TTouch which will help to lessen any stress and as it is accumulative and affects the neuro-transmitters going to the brain, it tends to help a lot in situations like this.
Good luck! thanks Scotty
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