Why Does Your Dog Keep Licking Their Base of Tail?


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It’s not uncommon to find a dog licking the base of the tail. There are a number of reasons why your dog is licking that area. It could be something as simple as basic grooming, or it could be another issue that is affecting your dog’s health. From itchy skin to anal gland problems, pet parents have reason to be alert when their dog licks this area.

Are you curious to know exactly why your dog licks the base of the tail? Then, you’ve come to the right page. Today, we’re going to discuss the various reasons why dogs lick the base of the tail.

Keep reading to pinpoint what your dog’s issue may be and what you can do to help them feel better.

Do Dogs Lick the Base of Their Tail as Part of Their Normal Grooming?

Licking the tail base is normal grooming behavior to an extent. Every dog will lick parts of its body to keep it clean and groomed. For this reason, you don’t always have to be alarmed when you see a dog licking its behind. This could just be a sign that your dog has good hygiene.

However, pay keen attention to how much your dog is licking that area. A few seconds of licking the area is much different than excessive licking. If you notice that your dog is heavily licking the affected area, it is a sign of a bigger issue.

What Causes a Dog to Lick the Base of the Tail?

Tail licking can be a sign of many different issues with a dog. It’s important to figure out the root cause of what is bothering your dog.

Let’s take a look at the two most common reasons dogs rub saliva on the base of their tails.

The Main Reason: Anal Gland Problems

The number one reason that a dog will lick its behind is that it’s suffering from a problem with its anal glands. Both dogs and cats have two anal sacs on each side of the opening. These anal glands can become infected or impacted, which makes the dog very uncomfortable.

If you notice your dog scooting its backside on the floor frequently as well as licking the area, then it may have anal gland disease or impacted anal glands.

An anal gland issue can occur when the dog’s anal glands haven’t been emptied properly. You see, the dog’s anal sacs hold fluid that contains their identity. This fluid gets released each time they poop. Anal gland issues are extremely uncomfortable, so your best course of action is to contact the vet’s office. You will need a professional to properly release the fluid from the dog’s anus and prevent a secondary infection.

Second Most Common Culprit: Fleas Make Your Dog Lick Their Behind

Fleas are one of the most annoying pests that pet parents have to deal with. It’s very common for a dog to have an allergic reaction to flea bites, which will cause excessive licking. In addition, fleas can be very difficult to get rid of because they will lay eggs on a dog’s body.

One of the top spots where fleas will bite is near the base of the dog’s tail. This will cause heavy tail licking from your dog, and they are likely to scratch a lot, causing a bald spot. Unfortunately, this problem will not go away on its own. Action needs to be taken so your dog can be comfortable again.

Flea shampoo is an easy solution to get rid of the fleas that are currently on your dog and any eggs they have laid. However, you will need to do a full clean of your house, with a lot of vacuuming and a flea spray to stop the fleas from multiplying in your home.

You should always give your dog flea and tick preventative medication for the vet, so the flea problem doesn’t continue. In addition, some dogs may benefit from wearing a flea preventative e collar.

What Are Some Common Reasons Why Dogs Will Lick Their Behinds?

Typically, excessive backside licking can be summed up as one of the two problems mentioned above. However, while anal gland issues and flea bites may be the top reasons why a dog licks it is behind frequently, they aren’t the only cause of butt licking.

Dogs often lick an area as a way to relieve pain or irritation. There are quite a few things that can lead dogs to have discomfort at the base of their tail. Below are some of the frequent reasons a dog will lick its behind.

Parasites Cause Many Problems

External parasites, like fleas, can make a dog itch. However, internal parasites are another problem pet owners have to worry about. Tapeworms are one of the most common intestinal parasites that can cause a dog to slobber on its backside excessively.

If a dog has internal parasites in its intestine, the eggs can travel through the dog’s system and come out of its behind when they poop. This can be very uncomfortable for the dog, so they will lick their backside as a way to soothe the itch.

This can be prevented by ensuring that your dog is up to date on its deworming medication. Check with your vet to see what you need to do.

Female Dogs Lick More Frequently

If you have a female dog, it is more likely to want saliva on that area frequently than a male would. This is because a female dog could experience vaginitis. If this is present in your dog, it will likely be licking both its vaginal and anal regions.

They will excessively lick these areas to clean up because vaginitis causes mucus to build up. You may notice that the area reappears swollen as well. In this situation, you should contact the vet office. Vaginitis can often be caused by a UTI or bacteria infection. It could also be caused by trauma to the vaginal area.

Keep in mind that vaginitis isn’t the only reason a female dog will rub saliva on these areas. If no discharge is present, but you still notice the dog lick that area a lot, it could be because it is in heat. A female dog is also prone to licking her private areas as temporary relief when it’s in heat.

Your Dog May Have a Hormonal Imbalance

A hormonal imbalance could lead dogs to lick their behinds a lot more than usual. This could happen because the dog’s body produces too many hormones. This is often a sign of another disease present, such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or Cushing’s disease.

If this is the case, other symptoms will be present, such as:

  • Hair loss
  • Dull coat
  • Pigmentation or thickening of the skin
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy

Your Dog Could Experience Environmental Allergies

Humans aren’t the only species that start sneezing, wheezing, and feeling itchy when allergy season starts. Many dogs also have allergies to environmental factors because there are a lot of things outdoors that can trigger them, such as:

  • Mold
  • Dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Grass
  • Trees
  • Plants/ flowers

If your dog has a skin allergy to any of these factors, they are prone to excessive licking. In addition, since it’s very likely that your dog could roll or sit in something outdoors to cause an allergic reaction, they could react their bottom.

Environmental allergens do come with other symptoms that will help you determine if this is the underlying cause of the rear end licking. These include:

  • Swelling in the affected area
  • Hair loss
  • Runny eyes or eye irritation
  • Sneezing
  • The dog’s skin appears itchy
  • The dog may have lesions on top or underneath their paws
  • Rashes

The dog may have come into contact with the allergen if they were in a new environment, such as somewhere you may have gone on a walk. This is common is the dog cam across a pesticide. However, household changes can cause allergies as well. For example, if you have used a new cleaning product on the floors or furniture or have changed the dog’s shampoo, this could be why they are itchy.

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Can Food Allergies Cause a Dog to Lick Their Bottom End?

A food allergy isn’t the most common reason why a dog is licking its bum, but there have been cases where this has occurred. There are many symptoms that can occur when a dog has food allergies, and itchy swollen skin is one of them.

This could cause your dog to have itchy ears and any itchy bottom. One of the more frightening side effects of a food allergy is having difficulty breathing. If you are concerned about allergies, you may need to contact the vet for further testing. Unfortunately, some dogs won’t show signs of an allergy to food until later on.

What Can Happen if Dogs Lick The Base of Their Tails Too Much?

If your dog often licks an area of its body too much, it becomes a hot spot. It may appear that your dog has a skin infection in the area that they have been licking a lot. This hot spot will appear red and inflamed. Too much licking is one of the main causes of hot spots. However, they can also be caused by:

  • Poor hygiene
  • An anal gland issue
  • Ear infection
  • Other allergies

Is Tail Licking a Sign of Boredom?

Dogs need an adequate amount of mental stimulation to stay happy. It’s possible that your pooch is continuously licking the same spot because they are bored. If the dog is not getting enough exercise or playtime throughout the day, they will begin to see their tail as entertainment. This can cause them to start licking the tail area.

If you can safely rule out a medical problem and skin infections as the exact cause, then there is a chance that your pet needs more mental stimulation in its life. All this pent-up energy could be what’s causing them to lick, chew, or bite at their tail area.

Do Dogs With Injuries Lick A Lot?

If your dog has a tail injury, it may be prone to licking in that area. When dogs are in pain, they will rub saliva on the affected area as a means to soothe it. This could be a reason why you see your pet slobbering their tail area more than usual.

This may always also occur if your dog has a wound on its tail or rear end. When they get saliva on the wound, they are helping to increase the blood flow, which can help them heal from the injury. If your pet has hurt its tail, frequent licking is normal behavior.

Do Dogs Chew at Dry Skin?

If your dog has dry skin, then you may notice them slobbering or chewing its own skin. Luckily, there are some things you can do to help a pet with dry or sensitive skin, so they stop licking their tail area so much.

Check out what ingredients are in their food because a nutritional deficiency can lead to dry skin. Bathing your dog too often is another way that you could be drying out their skin. However, some causes are natural. Weather changes and seasonal allergies can also cause your dog to have dry skin.

Your dog may also have a skin infection, and they are using the saliva to soothe the discomfort.

Final Thoughts

If your dog is licking their backside often, there are quite a few reasons why. The first thing you should consider is its anal glands. This is because one of the top reasons for dogs to lick frequently is impacted anal glands. However, fleas, parasites, and infections are among some of the many problems that could be affecting the dog’s tail area.

Dogs show this habit as a way to find comfort or relief. Once you pinpoint the reason behind its licking, it will be easiest to find the right solution. You may need to use natural supplements recommended by the vet to help your pet feel more comfortable.

Always speak to your vet about any behavior that could be affecting your pet’s comfort and health.