Back to News

Published: Apr 10, 2012

There are many compulsive disorders in dogs and a common one is the repeated licking of specific areas of the body. While this may not be a serious issue initially, over time the canine may develop acral lick dermatitis also called lick granuloma, a lesion that forms on areas of the dog that are routinely licked.  These lesions commonly form on the front legs on top of the wrist joint.

Large breeds such as Doberman pinschers, Great Danes, German shepherds, Labrador retrievers, Golden retrievers and Irish setters are more likely to lick themselves repetitively and form these lesions, reports VCA Animal Hospitals. However, lick granuloma lesions may develop in any breed of dog.

The licking may initially be brought on by pain in the area - for example, the pain from arthritis in dogs could cause the canine to begin licking the affected area. Skin conditions, cuts or other injuries may also cause the licking initially, but the habit can continue once the pain has subsided. More commonly, the licking is caused by stress or boredom or other psychological issues.  Once these lesions have formed, affected dogs tend to lick more and more unless the cycle is interrupted.

Lick granulomas can be treated by a veterinarian with bandages or collars that prevent access to the area, as well as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and other supplements to heal the lesions and prevent the formation of additional lesions.  Most affected dogs will benefit from increased interaction and exercise to offset the anxiety or boredom which are the most likely cause of the lesions.