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obsessive licking
by Sylvia
obsessive licking My 1 1/2 year old Timmy has started a very strange behavior about 2 months ago. He is obsessed with licking his front paws/legs whenever he's lying down. At first I thought he did this because he feels dirty or itchy and needs a bath. But then I realized that it is not the reason because I give him a bath every 7-10 days and he should be pretty clean. Any suggestions to stop this obsessive licking?


some ideas: (1) allergies (an excema brought on by food or contact with allergen) or (2) boredom (perhaps there was a change in routine).

It could be allergies, boredom, or dry skin. I think once a week is too often to bathe these little guys, usually every 2-4 weeks is sufficient, with daily brushing and combing, and maybe a detangler spray in between. Too much bathing dries the skin. Try using a conditioner for dogs, and if its dry in your house (heat in the winter dries the air a lot), then a humidifier may help. Try more walks, new toys, and extra play time if you think boredom may be a problem. For allergies, you really need to have him assessed by the vet to find the cause and treatments.
Sylvia: our adopted 5 yr. old maltese also has this habit. She also will lick your hand obsessively at times. I found that gently saying 'no' and keeping my hand or a blanket over her paws and quietly talking to her will stop it. I also have found if I say no and enthusiastically give her favorite toy, this always distracts her. It has to be done repeatedly, gently, as if distracting a very young baby. It may be a self-soothing mechanism and it is interesting so many maltese use this. hope this was helpful.
Hi Sylvia, you can try bitter apple spray. They have it at pet stores and you can read the instructions on the bottle. I've heard this works! Good Luck
My Buddy has done this for many years. My husband and I have nicknamed this habit the "lickies". Buddy's front right paw is his favorite, but he will often lick blankets, the couch, us.... I thought that at first this was thirst, or perhaps a side effect of seizure medications. I have since read letters on this discussion board, and on other canine boards which lead me to believe that this is fairly common for the Maltese breed. I tell Buddy no firmly when he is doing this, and he will generally quit. Also, I have gently rubbed that paw, and then tried to distract him by playing. This generally works.

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