Why do dogs lick their wounds?

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Why do dogs lick their wounds?

Dogs incessantly licking his wounds is a much common sight to every dog owner. It is considered a common practice in the animal world. We all know that dogs love to lick everything but just like most people, do you also wonder why do dogs lick their wounds? The whole idea of licking the wounds with saliva doesn’t exist in the human world anymore as we’re blessed with modern science to aid our wounds but unfortunately, dogs have lick it to help it heal. Now the question that arises here is do dog saliva has any substantial healing properties in it? Well, Dogs use their tongue as a medical care to clean their cuts & scarps.  Wound licking is an instinctive response for animals & it helps in numbing the feeling of pain.

It is believed that dog saliva has healing properties in it but there are too many risks associated with it. Surely, dog saliva has enzymes that have antibacterial properties to promote healing but licking too much can further damage his wounds.

While it is true that licking wounds can help a dog to recover but encouraging this behavior can cause more harm to your dog. Constant licking over the wound has a high possibility of getting infected. The latest studies done in this context has proven that dogs shouldn’t be allowed to lick their wounds as the friction licking can make the healing process harder.

dog-lickingWhy wound licking is natural response?

When a canine gets injured, the first thing that they do our of natural instinct is wound licking. By licking his wound, he tries to clean it & numb the sensation of pain by releasing mild serotonin. Right after the birth of a puppy, he adapts the licking behavior from his mother & since then he uses his tongue the same way humans use their hands. When they get hurt, they use their mouth as a tool to clean up wounds & to promote blood clotting. Sometimes, they incessantly lick their wounds out of excruciating pain. Licking wounds is the only healing method that dogs know so it comes out as a natural instinct to them.

Dangers of dog’s licking behavior

Although moderate licking has benefits as it helps in promoting wound healing but too much licking can actually cause harm to the wound. Licking actually helps when the wound is small but licking deep and surgical wounds can irritate the skin & can also reopen the wound which implies that trip back to the veterinarian. The dog owners should always discourage his furry companion from noticing that he is licking his wounds as it can increase the chances of getting the wound infected. You can make your dog wear a different collar as it will act as a barrier & will stop him from licking. Letting a dog lick his wound can cause more harm than it helps so always avoid letting your dog lick his wounds.

dog-lickingHow to stop your dog from licking his wound

To stop your dog from licking his wounds, you can use a variety of gears available in the market. From collars to bandages, you can use anything that can help in keeping your dog away from licking his wounds.

  • Elizabethan collar: Humorously referred as cone of shame, Elizabethan collar is a traditional collar that is used by veterinarian to prevent your dog from licking his wound. By making your dog wear this collar, you can stay assured that your dog will let his wound breathe.
  • Inflatable collar: The next collar is inflatable collar as its names suggest, you can easily puncture it whenever you want. Make sure to go for big collar so that your dog won’t be able to reach out to the wounds.
  • Bandage: Another easy way to prevent your dog from reaching to his dog is by using bandages. Putting a bandage over the wound will help in keeping it safe from any damages.
  • Distraction: Keeping your dog distracted from the wound will also help in keeping the dog away from it. You can give him interactive toys to keep him occupied. Distraction only helps when the wound is minor.

Final Thoughts

Although dog saliva is packed with healing properties still it can cause severe harm to the wound. There are more risks than benefits associated with wound licking so every dog owner should take proper measures to avoid his dog from licking his wounds.

2019-10-25T11:32:12+00:00 October 25th, 2019|Dog Care|