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If your dog is biting himself, or licking and scratching himself, it's important to get the problem taken care of quickly. Here are some things to try in the case of dog self-mutilation.
The fact of the matter is, if your dog is biting and chewing on his skin, there's very little you can do about it until you know what the problem is. To get an exact idea of what's going on with your furry friend, it's important to take him to the vet. A vet will be able to determine if the irritation and chewing is caused from external factors or psychological factors such as anxiety. Here are some common causes of self-mutilation in dogs:
Once the vet determines the cause of the problem, he can provide you with a way to fix it. At the very least, he can give you advice.
If your dog is going through a period of licking, chewing, and scratching at his fur, close supervision may help solve the problem. Keep your dog under supervision as much as possible until he overcomes whatever is ailing him. It may be a good idea to keep him out of the crate (if you normally keep him inside one) to allow for better supervision. If he doesn't normally, it might be smart to allow him to sleep in the bedroom for a while. One supervision strategy involves finding a small bell (loud enough so you can hear it, but not so loud that it startles the dog), and attaching it to his collar. This will alert you both when your dog is scratching and when he is chewing.
One of the more common causes of dog self-biting is food allergies caused by a bad diet, or parasites like fleas and ticks. Food allergies can generally be remedied by switching to higher quality foods. Look for foods that contain no corn, a common cause of food allergies, and with high quality, preferably organic ingredients. Be sure to avoid additives and chemical preservatives, natural preservatives like vitamin E are much healthier. Also, meat should be listed among the first ingredients. Other common causes of food allergies include wheat and beef.
If the irritation has parasitic causes, talk to the vet. There are quite a few flea and tick products that your vet can recommend. If the problem is caused by fleas, it's important to thoroughly wash your dogs bed, and vacuum and wash blankets, carpet, furniture, and upholstery on a regular basis to prevent re-infestation. For more information about fleas and ticks, try reading 5 Home Remedies To Protect Your Dog From Fleas This Summer.
If your veterinarian prescribes it, be sure to use medication in the proper dosage for your pup's ailment. These will often treat the primary problem causing the biting and scratching. Your vet may prescribe anti-itch medication, antibiotics, or steroids to treat skin problems and other ailments.
With your vet's approval, you can wrap the affected area with the vet's instruction, and/or spray on a bitter spray like Grannick's Bitter Apple For Dogs. This way, if they do try to chew the affected area, they'll be put off by either the bandages or spray.
If your dog is constantly licking and chewing at his skin for no apparent reason, the problem might be psychological. If so, it may be possible to fix the problem by addressing boredom and anxiety. This kind of behavior can develop in response to boredom or lack of stimulation, fear, or stress. To help ease these problems, give your pup lots of love and attention. Offer plenty of exercise each day, and provide him with bones and toys to chew on and relieve stress.
Also Read: 4 Tips To Treat Bug Bites On Dogs