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Why Is My Pug Licking So Much? 15 Vet Reviewed Reasons

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 26, 2024 by Dogster Team

pug dog lying on the floor and licks its paw

Why Is My Pug Licking So Much? 15 Vet Reviewed Reasons


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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As a Pug parent, seeing your furry little buddy constantly licking themselves can be concerning. While licking is a normal behavior in dogs, excessive licking can indicate that something is wrong. In this article, we’ll look at the typical reasons why your Pug might be licking excessively and what you can do about it.

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The 15 Reasons Why Pugs Lick So Much

Pugs are one of the most affectionate and loving dog breeds. They have a cute and playful personality that can brighten up anyone’s day. However, if your Pug is constantly licking themselves, it can be worrisome.

Excessive licking can indicate that your Pug is in pain or experiencing discomfort. As a Pug parent, it’s essential to pay attention to your pet’s behavior and keep an eye out for any signs of potential health issues.

1. Allergies

One of the most common reasons why Pugs lick excessively is due to allergies. Just like humans, dogs get allergies. They can be allergic to many things, such as food, pollen, flea saliva, and dust mites. If your Pug is constantly scratching and licking themselves, book an appointment with your vet to speak about the best ways to help in case they are reacting against anything in their food or the environment.

dog with allergies on its face
Image By: Yekatseryna Netuk, Shutterstock

2. Skin Infections

Skin infections and irritations, such as hot spots or yeast infections, can cause your Pug to scratch and lick excessively. These infections can be caused by a variety of factors, such as skin trauma, allergies, or flea bites.

3. Insect Bites and Stings

Insect bites and stings can be very uncomfortable for your Pug and cause them to lick excessively. You might also notice redness, local swelling, or even an allergic reaction if any part of your dog’s body, such as their face or paw, starts to become puffy and hot.

4. Sore or Broken Nail

If your Pug is licking their feet excessively, it could be a sign of a sore or broken nail. This can often happen if your pup is running around outside and gets a nail caught in something. Check for any signs of injury and take them to the vet if necessary.

pug dog lying on the floor and licks its paw
Image By: Juris Didrihsons, Shutterstock

5. Medication Side Effects

Certain medications could cause side effects for your Pug such as licking excessively. If your Pug has recently started taking medication, it might be worth checking with your vet to see if the medication could be causing the excessive licking.

6. Pain

If your Pug is experiencing pain in a particular body area, they might start to lick excessively as a way to deal with the discomfort. Pain and discomfort can be caused by many factors, including arthritis, injuries, or other health issues.

7. Irritant Contact Dermatitis

A variety of substances can severely irritate your Pug’s skin. The reaction occurs the first time your pup has contact with the irritant. A contact allergy, on the other hand, requires repeated exposure for a reaction to develop. Stinging nettles are a common example of this type of irritant. 

pug licking its paw
Image By: Sylvie Pabion Martin, Shutterstock

8. Boredom

Dogs, including Pugs, can become bored if they don’t get enough playtime, exercise, or attention. As a result, they might start to lick themselves excessively. If you think boredom is the cause of your Pug’s excessive licking, try to provide more playtime, toys, and exercise.

9. Anxiety/Stress

Like humans, dogs can and do experience anxiety and stress. If your Pug is constantly licking themselves, it could be a sign that they’re anxious or stressed. Some common triggers could be changes to their routine or environment, loud noises, or separation anxiety.

10. Dental Problems

Dental problems are common in this breed, such as gingivitis or periodontal disease, and can cause your Pug to lick excessively, especially their lips. If your Pug is experiencing dental problems, they might also have bad breath, difficulty chewing, and drooling.

teeth of a pug dog getting checked by a vet
Image By: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

11. Gastrointestinal Issues

Gastrointestinal issues, such as stomach upset or nausea, can cause your Pug to lick their lips excessively. You might also notice other symptoms, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or lack of appetite.

12. Pica

Pica is an eating disorder in which animals, including dogs, chew and ingest non-edible items. This can cause them to lick excessively as they are trying to ingest the item. If you suspect your Pug has this issue, seek professional help from a vet.

13. Anal Sac Problems

Anal sac issues are quite common in dogs, and their severity can range from mild impactions to painful, severe abscesses. In all cases, you will likely notice your Pug licking the area around their anus, along with scooting along the floor and an intense smell. 

pug dog in a veterinary clinic
Image By:, Shutterstock

14. Parasites

Both internal and external parasites can cause your Pug to lick different parts of their body excessively. External parasites such as fleas can cause itchiness on the base of your dog’s tail, belly, and flanks. Internal parasites including whipworms and tapeworms can make your Pug itch and lick their butt. Luckily, these types of parasites can easily be prevented and eliminated with anti-parasite products recommended by your vet.

15. Injury or Illness

If your Pug is licking excessively and none of the above reasons seem to apply, it could be a sign that they’re injured or ill. It’s super important to take them to the vet as soon as you can if you suspect this might be the case.

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Is Excessive Licking Bad for My Pug?

Excessive licking can be an indication of underlying issues, such as skin problems or pain, and if left untreated, it could lead to further complications. It’s important to get your Pug in to see the vet to rule out medical issues and take steps to address any underlying causes.

Pug jumping up on man
Image By: MishuHanda, Pixabay

What Can I Do to Help My Pug Stop Licking Excessively?

You can watch your dog and keep a record of when and where they are licking to gather as much information as possible. Depending on the cause of your Pug’s excessive licking, there are a variety of things you can do to help them. For example, if it’s caused by anxiety or boredom, then providing enough playtime, comfort, and reassurance may be effective. If it’s caused by a medical issue, then getting your Pug checked out by a vet is recommended. It is also recommended to seek advice from a vet if you can’t figure out the cause of the excessive licking.

Are There Any Home Remedies I Can Use to Help My Pug Stop Licking Excessively?

Home remedies such as providing comfort and reassurance, providing environmental enrichment, and offering distraction techniques, can be effective in helping to reduce certain types of excessive licking in your Pug. However, it’s important to consult with your vet before trying any home remedies.

Can I Give My Pug Medication to Stop the Licking?

Before giving your Pug any kind of medication, it’s important to get advice from a vet. Depending on the cause of the excessive licking, medication may be recommended as a treatment option.

fawn pug lying near window indoors
Image By: New Africa, Shutterstock

Treatment of Excessive Licking in Pugs

If your Pug is licking excessively, the best course of action is to take them to see a vet. The vet will be able to diagnose and treat any underlying medical issues that might be causing the excessive licking. Depending on the cause, treatment may include antibiotics or anti-allergy medication, dietary changes, and behavior modification techniques. In some cases, your vet might suggest a referral to a specialist.

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Excessive licking in Pugs can be caused by many factors, from allergies to anal sac problems, skin infections, and more. As a Pug parent, it’s essential to pay attention to changes in your pet’s behavior and keep an eye out for any signs of potential health issues.

By addressing the underlying causes and providing proper care and attention, you can help your Pug feel happy, healthy, and comfortable. If you’re still concerned about your Pug’s excessive licking, then it’s best to take your pup to the vet for a check-up.

Featured Image Credit: Juris Didrihsons, Shutterstock

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