Dogs do not adhere to human social norms and may engage in behaviors that we consider shameful or repulsive, such as licking their testicles.
As a pet owner, you may question the reason behind your dog’s fascination with their testicles. Additionally, you might be curious about how to prevent them from licking themselves, especially when guests are present.
Why does my dog lick his testicles?
While spending time with your dog companion, you may notice that they are vigorously licking their testicles. This behavior prompts the question: why do dogs engage in this activity?
Grooming is the primary cause of a dog licking their testicles, which is a typical behavior and not a matter of concern. It’s essential for them to maintain cleanliness.
If dogs are just cleaning themselves, they will only lick briefly and not excessively.
Boredom can be a cause for your dog’s testicle licking, as insufficient mental and physical stimulation can lead to boredom in dogs, just like humans.
Similar to human children, dogs will seek out activities to keep themselves occupied. Licking is a soothing action for dogs that provides them with a sense of comfort and purpose. If dogs are frequently bored, they may develop an excessive fixation on licking as a way to alleviate their boredom.
Boredom in dogs can manifest as destructive behavior, such as chewing on forbidden objects or digging, which they wouldn’t do under normal circumstances, whether they are indoors or outdoors.
When dogs are bored, they tend to look for ways to get their owner’s attention, such as rubbing against them or barking excessively; additionally, they may exhibit hyperactive behavior due to their accumulated energy.
Stress or Anxiety
Although it may appear unusual to consider your dog experiencing stress or anxiety, it is possible for dogs to feel these emotions just like humans. While the causes may vary, the fundamental sensations are identical.
If your dog is feeling stressed or anxious, they may resort to self-comfort by licking themselves. While some dogs may lick various parts of their body, others may focus on one area and excessively lick it.
Observing other signs besides testicle licking is necessary if you think your dog is experiencing stress or anxiety.
Indications of stress in dogs consist of an overabundance of saliva or heavy breathing, urinating or defecating indoors, extreme vocalization, and harmful conduct.
Dogs do not possess first aid kits, so when their skin gets irritated or injured, they tend to lick the affected area to maintain cleanliness. In case your furry friend’s testicles get scratched or irritated, they will instinctively lick it as a way of taking care of it.
Allergies can also be a cause for your dog’s testicle licking behavior as they can lead to skin irritation, which in turn causes the dog to lick. Since the testicles are not protected, they may get exposed to environmental allergens that can result in a rash and prompt your dog to lick them.
Anal Gland Problems
Dogs possess a pair of anal sacs located on either side of their anus, which secrete a fluid during defecation that serves as a means of identification and personal information, akin to a signature or Facebook profile.
Anal glands may get blocked, leading to the accumulation of fluid and causing discomfort, which can prompt your dog to lick the area. Despite the fact that the anal glands are responsible for the pain, dogs may also lick their testicles, as they are located nearby.
Epididymitis or Other Infection
Epididymitis refers to the inflammation of the epididymis, a tiny tube located at the rear of the testicle. When your dog experiences this or other infections in their penis or testicle, they may excessively lick these areas as it is their innate response to alleviate pain.
If your dog is licking his testicles excessively, it could be a sign of infection which may also cause redness or swelling of the testicles, penis, and pain in the testicles.
Is it normal for a dog to lick his testicles?
It is perfectly normal for dogs to lick their testicles as it is a way for them to clean and maintain their hygiene, similar to how human males wash their own testicles.
Excessive licking of testicles is not a typical behavior for dogs, and if they are spending an unusual amount of time doing so or the area is becoming inflamed, it could indicate abnormal behavior.
How to get my dog to stop licking his testicles?
It is natural to desire your dog companion to cease licking his testicles, and the approach to achieving this goal will primarily hinge on the underlying reason for his behavior.
Normal Testicle Licking vs. Problematic Licking
If your dog licks his testicles occasionally, it’s advisable to let him do so. But if he becomes too enthusiastic, redirecting his attention may be the solution. However, this could give him the impression that you are rewarding him for licking himself, which is not desirable.
Ignoring the licking behavior is recommended if it’s not causing any issues, and alternatively, you can teach your dog to only lick his testicles when he’s by himself.
If you notice redness, chapping, or discomfort in the testicles, it could be a sign that your dog’s licking behavior is problematic.
If your dog is obsessively licking their testicles, either frequently or continuously, it can be considered problematic licking.
Finding the Cause
Visiting the veterinarian is the most effective approach to determine the reason behind your dog’s licking, and the treatment plan will differ based on the cause and your vet’s recommendations.
Visiting a veterinarian can provide a definite explanation for the issue and suggest appropriate measures if there is a physical cause, but if there isn’t any physical cause, then you can concentrate on resolving the fundamental behavioral problem.
If your dog is licking their testicles out of boredom, the solution is simple: increase their physical and mental stimulation.
Providing your dog with regular play and walking sessions can offer them both physical and mental exercise, which is one way to achieve this.
If you are unable to spend time with your dog, puzzle feeders and toys can be a helpful alternative. These toys enable your dog to obtain treats or kibble by manipulating the toy, which can provide mental stimulation.
Finally, you might want to contemplate permitting your dog to watch TV. Although they don’t perceive television in the same way as humans do, they are capable of observing the visuals displayed on the screen.
While some dogs may exhibit a greater fascination with television than others, the majority appear to derive pleasure from it, particularly when viewing programs featuring other dogs or prey animals; in fact, there are even television channels specifically designed for dogs.
Dogs can watch TV, but it should not be a substitute for other forms of mental and physical stimulation.
Treating anxiety in dogs can be challenging as it may require identifying and resolving the root cause, or alternatively, assisting your furry friend in managing their stress levels.
Preserving your regular schedule and routine can be beneficial. It’s crucial to dedicate quality time to your dog, and avoid reprimanding or shouting at them for undesirable actions, as this may heighten their anxiety.
For pet owners who want to calm their dogs’ anxiety, some find essential oils or pheromone blends useful while others opt for dietary supplements such as CBD. In cases of severe anxiety, consulting a veterinarian about prescription anxiety medication is recommended.
If your dog has skin irritation on their testicles, you can easily treat it at home using safe ingredients such as coconut oil, cocoa butter, and Shea butter which can effectively moisturize the skin and provide relief from irritation.
Applying paw wax, such as Musher’s secret, can create a protective layer that shields your dog’s testicles from external factors, similar to how it works on their paws.
Opting to steer clear of the allergen is the most effective approach, but if that’s not feasible, they might need to take allergy medication.
Using paw wax or Shea butter can create a protective layer between the skin and allergens, potentially preventing reactions.
Anal Gland Problems
The primary issue with anal glands is impaction, where the glands become too full and require expression. If you’re daring enough, you can perform this task yourself.
Firstly, apply Vaseline to your index finger and wear gloves. Then, insert your lubricated finger into your dog’s anus while placing your thumb on the outside. Move your thumb and finger together up and down the side of the anus, locating the anal glands at approximately 4 and 8 o’clock positions.
After locating the glands, apply gentle pressure using your thumb and finger to extract or express their contents, which can range in size from that of a pea to a plum and in texture from soft to firm depending on their fullness.
If you don’t want to come in contact with your dog’s anal fluid, your veterinarian can carry out the process on your behalf.
It is crucial to take your dog to the vet promptly if you observe inflammation and enlargement of their testicles or penis, as it could indicate an infection in their reproductive organs.
Immediate veterinary care is necessary if dogs are experiencing difficulty walking, severe pain, or fever.
You can also check this YouTube video about this topic:
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[Wikipedia] [Encyclopedia Britannica] [National Geographic] [cdc.gov] [Purina]