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petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
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Experience:  Over 30 years of experience caring for dogs and cats
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my dog is shaking and licking himself like crazy. he cant

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my dog is shaking and licking himself like crazy. he can't seem to get comfortable. he is panting. Sometimes he'll lick something else. Sometimes he's biting his front legs. I took him out for a walk a little while ago and he seemed fine but as soon as he got back he was licking and biting his legs again. he is also hiding under the couch which he does when he doesn't feel well. His whole body is shaking a lot.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  petdrz replied 5 years ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. I am a licensed veterinarian and would be happy to answer your questions.


Is he a dog that has had itchy skin problems in the past (less severe)?


Have you ever used antihistamines with him?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
No we haven't used antihistimines as far as I know. He hasn't had the problem for a long time. He's starting to whine now like he's in pain. He's constantly shaking. Should I take him to a hospital?
Expert:  petdrz replied 5 years ago.

I have seen dogs so uncomfortable from skin problems that they exhibit all of the signs described by you. You are right however that it is impossible to differentiate it from a pain response. Whatever the cause, it doesn't sound like anything you will be able to offer over the counter will be enough. If you have emergency services available, I would suggest that.


Good luck and please let me know if you have any further questions.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Can you give me any idea of what else it might be? He was limping a few weeks ago and I took him in to emergency services and by the time we got there he wasn't limping at all, so I don't really want to go again if it's not potentially serious.

He's under the couch now which seems to comfort him and I don't think he can lick or bite himself there but don't know for sure. He's been licking one side of his stomach for a few days and most of his hair is gone in that one spot but now he seems to be biting his front legs and licking them as well. Sometimes he just seems to lick anything he can, like me or a pillow but he's not licking non-stop, just shaking. He also seems to be moving a lot, like he can't get comfortable, except when he's under a couch. Just can't figure out what it might be, it kind of came out of no where. It's the shaking that has me so worried.
Expert:  petdrz replied 5 years ago.

I agree, it is difficult to tell. The shaking is a concern and may be pain related, like from a disc problem (like a pinched nerve).


There are not over the counter pain meds that are safe to give, but it would be ok to give a dose of non-prescription Benadryl to see if it calms him down. The dose is 1 mg per pound that your dog weighs so a 20 lb dog would get 20 mg. This can be repeated two to three times per day. The pill that is available over the counter is typically 25 mg. so you may need to go with the children's liquid form which is typically 12.5 mg/teaspoon (or 2.5 mg/cc). Make sure that there are no other "cold-type" medications in it like decongestants.


If he is itchy or uncomfortable due to skin problems, it may help. It also makes them a little sleepy so that may be enough to calm him down. If the shaking continues, I would have him seen this weekend.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Is there any explanation for why he would be licking the floor or the couch or me and not just himself. He just seems to want to lick anything constantly and he'd doing it pretty hard and steadily which would seem to indicate something other than, or in addition to, itchy skin. Unless it's just a comforting mechanism...not sure.
Expert:  petdrz replied 5 years ago.

Constant licking of anything around him can indicate a seizure like condition called psychomotor seizures. It can also be seen as a type of obsessive-compulsive behavior.


I work with a veterinary dermatologist and we see a lot of intensely itchy dogs. It is not uncommon to see them get almost "fit-like" in their behavior when they are having an itch flare up.

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