Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My Labrador Retriever Licks Everything

Readers E-mail: Jerry writes

Licorice 3 (yes she is the third black lab we've had) is a 3 year old who licks everything. After a treat, she will lick her legs, then the sofa, then you, If you are near. Even when she has not eaten something, she will come up and lick your leg, hand, the sofa, floor, etc. This is not just a couple of licks, but it goes on for a couple of minutes. Anybody have an idea of why? Our first two labs would lick a little, but not as long as this one.

Answer:

Thanks for writing. There could be a couple of different reasons Licorice 3 is licking everything.

She could be lacking something in her diet (vitamins/nutrients). Make sure that you feed her a good, nutritious dog food (your vet should recommend one to you) and that she is having normal stool production. If you do decide to change her food, make sure you do it gradually so it doesn't upset her digestive system (mix some of the new food into some of the old couple of weeks).

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Licorice 3 could also have some sort of anxiety problems - phobias, separation anxiety, and obsessive compulsive behaviors. Possibly a cry for more attention, pent-up energy and/or boredom.

Labrador Retrievers need plenty of exercise and play time. Long walks, runs and plenty of play time everyday, may help to cut down some of the problem. When you do catch her licking continually you can try to provide a distraction (play toys, balls, etc.). The Kong chew toy (make sure you get the appropriately sized for her, and supervise the use of it) filled with treats can provide her with plenty of challenge, and distraction.

I would consult with your veterinarian to make sure that no medical condition exists. You might also want to ask for a recommendation for animal behaviorist in your area or you can find one by visiting Animal Behavior Society website at www.animalbehavior.org.


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