13 answers

Why Does My Dog Keep Licking His Arms?

Hi Mamas! My beloved 7 yr old golden retriever has developed a bizarre habit of constantly licking his arms. As far as I know he has no known allergies and is very healthy. I have not changed up his food at all and there doesn't seem to be anything on his arms. This new licking behavior is so strange and has me scratching my head in confusion.

Anyone know why he would be doing this? Thanks!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I KNOW THE ANSWER!!! I worked a lot when I had my 2 dogs, they were left alone along time everyday. I told my vet about this almost nonstop licking of the paws ....very simple answer....boredom usually sets this habit into action. He recommended buying busy bones for them (not rawhide and not pig ears). Just someting to keep them occupied!

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More Answers

Congrats! Your dog is now considered a senior citizen! I worked at a vet for a long time and have seen this plenty. Aging dogs do these things, I'm looking at my 9 yr old black lab mix and she's licking her arms right now.

There could be scaly patches under the skin or those dry areas at the elbows that are bothering him (that's my dog's thing). It could be allergies or boredom (again, my dog). I would give him a nice oatmeal bath, maybe with aloe or something medicated and soothing for the skin. Then give him some large greenies or a good chew toy or peanut butter filled kong. Feed him the white fish food, it's better for sensitive dogs. See if those things help.... if not, take him to the vet to makes sure he's alright.

4 moms found this helpful

We have a yellow lab and she does this, too. Our vet says it's seasonal allergies - she starts doing it frequently once the weather changes and she spends more time outdoors. She just turned 5, and has been doing it for the last 2 years. It seems worse in the spring and fall - in fact, it just started up again in the last couple of weeks as the weather has warmed up a bit. The vet suggested benadryl (up to 6 a day - they metabolize it differently than humans, so it doesn't make them jittery or sleepy!), but honestly I don't see much of a difference whether we use it or not. Once she starts licking, she just doesn't want to stop, to the point where her paws and forearms are red and irritated. We wipe down her legs and paws after she's been outside with a damp cloth, and that does seem to give her some relief. I would talk to your vet again to determine if your dog has developed similar allergies and see what they suggest. Good Luck.

3 moms found this helpful

Yeah, my black lab does that. My vet says it could be allergies or referred pain (the dog is severely arthritic) -- or has just developed into a habit. Benadryl can help (and it's safe for dogs -- though they metabolize it much quicker than people do). Instead of that, though, we use Calm Coat, it's a tea-tree-based oil that helps soothe the area and tastes terrible -- a double whammy. If there's any rash or abrasion as a result of the licking, BluKot (sp?) spray will help -- just make sure you do it outside and keep him out for a few minutes till the stuff dries. They call it Blue for a reason!

BTW -- you might want to think about whether or not there's been any other kind of change. New baby? New schedule? Stuff going on in or around the house (landscaping, renovations -- that kind of thing). Sometimes stress can kick it off.

3 moms found this helpful

He could be developing allergies now, or it could more of an obsessive-compulsive self-soothing type of behavior, driven by anxiety and/or boredom (which is common in many dogs and the "forearms" tend to be the targets rather than the paws). Get him checked out at the vet and see what they can recommend.

2 moms found this helpful

Take him to the vet. Maybe he is comforted by doing this but maybe he has a skin condition. Some dogs will actually chew at themselves if that happens.
Maybe what you're bathing him with is too harsh for his skin. Hard to say.
I would ask a vet though.

1 mom found this helpful

My dog started doing this around the age of 7. He licked/gnawed his paws until they bled. After working with the vet and trying a bunch of different things, he is now has to take meds every other day and I have to give him an allergy shot once a week. He was tested for allergies and is allergic to probably 20 different plants, dust, etc. If your dog is making himself bleed or it is very red and irritated, you should probably see the vet.

1 mom found this helpful

I would guess allergies. If you have not changed his food, could be seasonal: grasses, pine, pollen, etc. My dog licks his paws like crazy come every spring! try giving him benedryl and see if it helps!

1 mom found this helpful

seasonal allergies...if he licks too much he could rub to the fur off...not a big deal but could lead him to getting dry skin...give him some fish oil..he will be fine.
You can buy regular fish oil for adults...and give him the dosage based on the weight of the dog.

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