Dog Care And Health - Other

Causes of self Mutilation in Dogs

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Self mutilation is when a dog licks, scratches, sucks or bites at his skin until the hair disappears or he causes actually damage to the skin. There are two reasons why this may take place. One of these reasons is medical while the other may be psychological. If you own such a dog it is imperative that you find out the reason behind the mutilation. Finding the causes of self mutilation in dogs is necessary to bring the mutilation to an end.

Psychological causes for self mutilation

Psychological causes of your dog self mutilating are presented in chasing his tail and biting it. This action can cause serious injury to your dog if he catches his tail. Sometimes the biting can be so severe that it may lead to the amputation of his tail.

Licking on your dogs body

Constant licking on your dog's body can present its own problems. This is considered psychological and can lead to the licking becoming so extreme that your dog may break the skin which is then open to infection. Your dog may lick his skin until it is raw and which can lead to other problems.


Sucking is psychological and usually stems from the dog being remove from the mother much too early. Although it is a psychological problem it can be stopped with patience and consistency. This sucking can start on any part of your dog's body but is most common on their flanks. This can also result in a loss of hair and the skin being so aggravated that it breaks open exposing the sore to infection.

Medical reasons for self mutilation

Medical reasons for your dogs self mutilation may stem from allergies. Anyone that has allergies can easily relate to the itching of their skin and dogs are no different. This may cause your dog to lick their skin until sores appear or if the allergy is bad enough it can cause lesions in your dog's skin that is made worse by the licking. Allergies can be helped by medication prescribed by your veterinarian and finding out the cause of the allergy and removing it.


Parasites may cause your dog to bite and lick at his skin. If they are infested with parasites they will do what they must to find relief. Parasites may lead to other problems such as bacterial infections or fungal infections. This can be easily remedied by getting rid of the parasites.


Pain is another cause for a dog to self mutilate. This pain can be caused by an old injury and the self mutilating may continue long after the injury heals. It then crosses the border to a psychological problem. Anxiety and stress can make this type of self mutilation worse.

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