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Licking

Shih Tzu Licking

Licking: It is normal for dogs to lick themselves; however excessive licking is not healthy for the dog. There is usually 2 explanations:
  • There is a medical issue with your dog
  • Your dog is displaying nervous behavior
How much licking is normal for a dog? If your Shih Tzu randomly licks themselves and stops after a minute or so, there is no reason to be concerned.

However, when licking is continual to the point that it seems it is all the dog ever does and this action causes loss of coat, irritation or other physical signs, this is a signal to bring your dog to the veterinarian right away.

What medical issues can cause a dog to do this?
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Skin disorders
  • Infections
  • Allergies 
For this reason, your dog should first have a complete checkup to rule out any of these. If they licking has caused sores or lesions, these must be tended to as well.

Nervous Licking?

When a dog compulsively licks themselves this may be a manifestation of anxiety. Dogs can suffer from this affliction just as humans can. The most common reasons for this are:
  • Being home alone, separation anxiety
  • Excessive noise, not having a calm environment
To ease the discomfort of separation issues, you should set up a wonderful environment for your dog while you are gone. If room allows, remove a dog create and replace it with a dog play pen. 

In this way, you can have many areas for your dog to stay busy; a play area with lots of toys, a resting area with soft blankets and an eating and drinking spot. See if a friend, family member or neighbor can stop by to take your Shih Tzu out for a walk, even if it is for 20 minutes or so.
white Shih Tzu puppy with brown ears
Also be aware of the environment of the home. If there has suddenly been a change, such as having visitors or just buying a stereo system and playing loud music, your Shih Tzu might find it quite stressing to become accustomed to the new level of noise. Try to find a quiet location within the home for the dog to retreat when they need a break from the stimulus.
Treatment for Licked Areas

It will be important to use a rescue lotion and healing balm on any areas that have been licked raw, with red irritated skin. If the licked skin has broken open, this leaves it vulnerable to infection and this sort of issue should be handled by the vet who can prescribed anti-biotic topical gel. However, for simply red, raw skin a quality healing butter will add protection and allow the skin to heal. This is best put on in the evening and slipping socks over the paws will prevent your Shih Tzu from licking off the product.
Oh, the silly behaviors that our Tzu can have ! To learn about 20 behavioral issues with very detailed, easy-to-understand training (along with direct advice from the AllShihTzu Experts), find out about the AllShihTzu book.
Related:

Chewing, Licking at the Paws: The top reasons why a dog will do this, how to stop it and treatment for damaged paws. 
You may also be interested in:

Growling - Usually given as a warning, owners should take steps to intervene if a dog growls in an aggressive manner.
Jumping - Often done by excited dogs, this can be disruptive and if there are young children in the household, jumping should be discouraged. 
Heeling - With your Shih Tzu to your left, proper heeling will involve your puppy or dog walking at your pace and taking your lead in regard to direction. 
Begging - Like licking and jumping, this can be a habit. Once begging starts, it is not easy to train a dog to stop; however it can be done if all members of the household work together. 
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