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Published: Nov 09, 2011

Compulsive disorders can occur in dogs, and these problems tend to cause harm both physically and emotionally for a pet. VCA Animal Hospitals reports that one compulsive disorder dogs can develop is acral lick dermatitis. This condition causes a dog to lick one or more spots on its body repeatedly, typically causing significant damage.

According to VCA, this condition can be caused by a medical or behavioral problem, and in some cases, both. Underlying medical problems such as arthritis or skin disease may spark the issue. The behavioral conditions often occurs after a dog has been exposed to stress like a move, or having recurrent situations of conflict.

Treating this problem is a two-fold ordeal, as the treatment must be directed at the blatant skin trauma as well as the behavioral disorder. First, a veterinarian will check over the canine's pet health to rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be the culprit. VCA reports that even if the problem is strictly behavioral, the side effects of the licking usually brings pain and infection, which needs to be addressed before fixing the root problem. Once the sites have been cleared up, the dog will need to begin behavioral therapy, which may include starting it on psychotropic drugs to reduce its compulsive disorder.