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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14833
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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I have a 2 year old yorkie and he loves to lick my skin and

Customer Question

Hi,
I have a 2 year old yorkie and he loves to lick my skin and more so when i have lotion on . why dose he do this ?
thank you
and he nibbles on my clothes too! why?
thank you
pat
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 1 year ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.

Is this something that he has always done? If so while I understand that Finnegan's grooming behavior can annoying try to take it as a compliment. Most dogs only groom people or other animals that they truly love, or see as caretakers.

Of course the other possibility is that he really likes your skin lotion or perfume. Some lotions or perfumes have pheromones in that that dogs find attractive. So it may be worth trying a different lotion or perfume or not wearing anything for a while and seeing if that helps.

If this is a new behavior for him though and he seems anxious or otherwise not himself this may be related to a medical problem. Ideally if this is new then Finnegan would see his veterinarian for an examination and some blood tests including a complete blood count, biochemistry profile and thyroid profile. Some dogs exhibit pica (eating or licking non-food items) when they are anemic, nauseous or have internal organ disease and we do want to make sure that he is healthy and there is not a physical reason for his behavior.

In the meantime in case this is related to nausea or reflux you can give over the counter drugs for acid reflux and to decrease stomach acidity. You can give either:
1)Pepcid ac (famotidine) at ¼ of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 12 hours
OR
2)Prilosec (omeprazole) at ¼ of a 10mg tablet per 5 to 10 pounds of body weight every 24 hours
These are acid reducers and should help him feel better, and thus less likely to lick.

Some times this behavior can be an anxiety related habit.
It may be related back to a being a bottle fed puppy or a puppy that was weaned too early or taken away from his mother and littermates too early. Unfortunately these pups can get into trouble with their oral fixation if they ingest what they lick. So not only is this behavior annoying but also quite dangerous for them. The first step should be limiting access to his favorite things to lick as much as possible.

Because he sounds like an oral dog another option is giving him something else safe to lick and chew on, like a small kong toy filled with a little peanut butter or treats that he only gets at times when his grooming behavior seems to be excessive so you can get some peace. The goal is to give him this before her starts grooming you so he learns to get it himself and not start licking you.

In some cases where this becomes obsessive behavior we need to use oral medications for it, such as amitriptyline or fluoxetine, but usually not.

Best of luck with Finnegan and please be reassured he probably really isn't trying to annoy you, he loves you!