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Dr. John
Dr. John, Texas Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 11027
Experience:  Over 14 years of clinical veterinary experience
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About 2 weeks ago my 9 month old toy schnauzer began licking

Customer Question

About 2 weeks ago my 9 month old toy schnauzer began licking my skin, my clothes, any/all of his paws or legs, the couch, the blanket or sheet he is on or available fabric. It has been "normal" for him to "mouth" me (simply hold my arm or hand in his mouth
without biting) and/or lick one of his back paws for a minute when he is a little nervous that I may be leaving but this licking is glaringly new, frequent and unrelated to my leaving (since he can't lick me if I'm gone.) Playing with him (uh-oh) successfully
diverts him as do any of his numerous orally focused toys. This doesn't feel like a "play with me" or "hey I want a toy" behavior; it feels like a stress behavior. Aargh. The new "licking" is pretty intent: imagine a patch of beef gravy on his or my arm. No
schedule changes: (though I've been home this week providing more opportunities to be licked, but it began before this week.) Sodium deficiency? Boredom? Stress?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. John replied 1 year ago.

Hello. Thanks for writing in. My name is***** and I would be happy to help you. I do have a few questions for you to better assess your situation.

Is he eating normally?

Any vomiting or diarrhea?

Does his lesion look like any of the pictures on the page below?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
eating normally, no vomiting and, thank goodness, no lesions!! And since we are getting more specific, the temperature has dropped in the past couple weeks - but we are in Los Angeles so it's gone from warm 70 degrees to coolish 60 degrees and he wears apparel washed in hypo-allergenic detergent. (Like I said, we live in LA - his "apparel" may not be baby blue, but it is chemical free.) Two more "new" things: he's been eating the dirt from planters on balcony - not a lot at all, but if he had been left unattended who knows how much?. And I last week I "just asked" about his eating the bird seed from other balcony. OH MY GOSH MY DOG HAS A WEIRD MINERAL DEFICIENCY!?! Thanks, HB
Expert:  Dr. John replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the information. I am sorry. I was under the impression there was a lesion on his arm from the licking. Typically licking is caused by either stress, nausea, boredom, submissiveness or something missing in their diet. The last one is very rare and is actually most likely not the case if he is on a good quality dog food and doesn't have any issues with vomiting or diarrhea. Eating the bird seed doesn't surprise me. He is a puppy that has access to it. They get into things. Same with dirt as well. Some dogs, especially puppies like to eat dirt. Most outgrow it. It wouldn't hurt to have your vet run blood work on him to make sure everything is normal and there isn't anything he needs supplemented, but I find that puppies that do this do much better when they have plenty of exercise and interaction. Walks and playtime outside with plenty of playtime inside as well. Most will outgrow this with no problem. In some cases we do put them on anxiety medications, but I hate to do that in a puppy. I would rather try distracting him when these behaviors start with a treat and playing. It will usually get better. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns. Hope this helps.

DISCLAIMER: My goal is to make sure that you get all your question answered and all the information you need. If you are satisfied with my answer, please rate it. Rating it is the only way I get credit for helping you. If you feel like it is not helpful to you, or if there is more information you need, please respond back to me before rating. Realize that our conversation is not intended to diagnose or treat a condition. There has to be a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship established with an exam, according to law. You should always follow up with your vet.