Puppies are curious, exploratory and often mischievous little creatures -- and they often put their mouths on anything and everything. If you notice that your tiny doggie has an inclination for licking his privates, however, it's important to take note. In excess, this behavior may point to a health ailment.
Reasons Why Dogs Lick Their Privates
Although urinary incontinence is most common in elderly canines, it also is a possibility in younger doggies, including puppies -- particularly those who have birth defects. Incontinence is a potential issue for dogs of all different age groups. One key indication of loss of bladder control is seemingly obsessive and nonstop licking of the genital region -- the penis in male dogs, and the vulva in female dogs. Schedule an appointment with the veterinarian to check the situation out, stat.
Urinary Tract Infection
Like adult canines, cute puppies too are sometimes susceptible to the woes of urinary tract infections (UTIs). A puppy's frequent licking of the private area is occasionally an indication of this type of infection. Be on alert for any other possible signs of UTI, such as urine in the blood, unusually foul smelling urine, loss of weight, fever, appetite swings, leaking of urine onto the floor, difficulty in producing a urine stream, general exhaustion and house soiling. If you observe any possible signs of UTI, including genital licking, it's time to take your cute puppy to the veterinarian -- without further ado.
If your precious puppy frequently comes across foxtails during her outdoor jaunts, they could be the culprit behind his worrying private-licking issues. Certain varieties of grasses feature seed-emitting protrusions that can get stuck on all parts of your pet, from his paws to his genital region -- a major hazard. A puppy's constant licking may be an indication of foxtail-induced discomfort and pain, so pay attention and get him to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
A puppy's excessive licking, whether of the genital region or anything else, may be a sign of compulsion. Canines frequently turn to obsessive and compulsive behavioral patterns as a means of coping with emotional issues, whether isolation, neglect from owners, dramatic lifestyle changes, conflict with other household pets or insufficient socialization and interaction experiences. If you have an inkling that your puppy's licking may somehow be stress-related, figure out what you can do to help create a more stable, comfortable and happy environment for him, whether you spend more time playing with him or offer him a "safe zone" away from other pets in your home. If you can't determine the cause of his behavior after trial and error, a qualified pet behavioral specialist may be able to assist you -- and your pooch -- in getting past this dilemma with flying colors.
By Naomi Millburn
Cal Poly Pomona: Dog Owners' Guide to California Foxtails
ASPCA: Urinary Incontinence
ASPCA: Compulsive Behavior in Dogs
ASPCA: Puppy Mouthing
Washington State University: Urinary Incontinence
ASPCA: Lower Urinary Tract Problems
The Merck Veterinary Manual: Behavioral Problems of Dogs
Cesar's Way: Urinary Tract Infection in Dogs
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.