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Pomeranian Licking Issues


Of course it is normal for dogs to lick...but some Pomeranians do this so much, owners can’t help but wonder why…And some wonder if it means that something is wrong, or if it is a sign of abnormal behavior. 

When licking is so extreme that it causes thinning fur and/or skin sores, it may mean that a Pom is licking due to a nervous behavior and stress. In some cases, licking is done to the paws and other easily accessible areas due to itching and other skin problems. This can cause an endless cycle, as the licking exasperates the issue, but the issue causes the Pom to lick.
In addition, if your Pomeranian is always licking you, this can be a habit that a dog develops.

Therefore, in this section, we are going to discuss why Poms lick and when it is normal and when it is not. We will also talk about conditions that can develop from too much licking and steps that you can take to prevent it and treat it.

Reasons Why a Pomeranian Licks Their Human

• He may be trying to communicate that he wants your attention

• It can be a sign of endearment… canines see themselves as living in “packs”…and when properly trained, dogs see their humans as the “pack leader”, also known as the Alpha…with this type of relationship, it is common for a puppy or dog to lick their human to show submissiveness and affection.

• You may have inadvertently “trained” your dog that licking is a good thing.

• Your Pom may think that you like it, and in an effort to please you, it may get a bit out of control.

• Your dog may actually like the taste of a cream or lotion that you have on.

• If you have not just taken a shower, your skin has a salty taste and this may be appealing to a Pomeranian.

Training to Stop a Pom from Excessively Licking You

If licking is a habit, a dog will need to be trained to replace the bad habit with a good one. First, one must teach their Pom what the word “lick” means. You can do this by allowing your Pomeranian to lick you as much as he wishes. While he is doing so, keep repeating the word “Lick”.

After 5 minutes or so (if you can stand the tickles that long!) you must then say a command word to stop the action. You can use “Off” “Stop” or “NO Lick” with an emphasis on the word “NO”.

When you use this command to stop your Pom, be sure to rise up so that he cannot reach you with that pink little tongue! Within 2 weeks of continual training, your dog will understand what the word means and will learn the command to stop.

Every now and then, (depending on how often you can handle those doggie kisses!), you can give the “Lick” command and allow your Pomeranian to go crazy with kissing you! Then, be sure to make it clear that “time is up” by giving the stop command.

This can allow your dog to know that he WILL have times in which he can express himself in this way and that he MUST refrain from doing once given the verbal command.

Attention Issues

If it appears that your Pomeranian is licking you excessively in an attempt to gain your attention, it is best to train your dog to learn other ways of getting a response from you.

It can help to choose a trick command to teach your Pom, such as “Roll Over” or “Shaking hands”. Give great praise and lots of attention when he is learning the trick and once the training sessions are over. Then, any time that your dog begins to lick you for attention, give the trick command for them to follow. Be sure to offer very happy words of praise when they are performing for you. Dogs will then learn that doing the trick gives grants them the attention that they are looking for.

Harmful Licking of Paws and other Areas

It is very common for a dog to lick his paws or other accessible body areas when there is either itching or discomfort. It is akin to a human scratching or rubbing sore or itchy skin. In time, the fur and skin will be affected. in severe cases, a dog may do so much damage that he removes several layers of skin tissue.

Some signs you might notice are:
  • A raw spot, without an actual wound or injury
  • Fur on a particular area, such as the paw, that is becoming a tarnished rust or red color (this may be stains from saliva constantly being put onto the area)
Irritations can be caused by:

Flea bites - If you suspect fleas, treat your Pomeranian, your home and surrounding outside areas of the home if necessary. If a puppy or dog has fleas, the home has fleas in all 4 stages of the life cycle including eggs. The bedding, carpeting and clothes must be treated. Once they have been eradicated, always use an effective flea protection.

An allergic reaction to an external or internal element - The most common elements that would cause an allergic reaction to the skin (and thus causing a Pom to lick the area) are:

- Shampoo or conditioner – be sure to switch to a quality shampoo and conditioner that is a good product for the Pomeranian breed and keeps skin and fur healthy. It is very important to rinse very well… When you think that you have rinsed enough, do it once again. Any residue can cake up on the skin, blocking air flow and causing irritation.

- Laundry Detergent – Whether used to wash the dog bed, your clothes or blankets that your Pom lies down on, switching to a hypoallergenic product can help. You will want to look for one that has no perfumes or dyes.

- Any chemicals – This includes anything that paws may touch such as chemicals put on grassy yards, ice melt products, etc. These can be quite bothersome and some can cause chemical burns. If you cannot completely stop your dog from walking in those areas, you can use paw wax to protect the paw pads, however doggie shoes will help prevent contact issues up to the ankle area. If your Pom resists wearing shoes, be sure to rinse the paws off as soon as you come back into the house.

- Food Allergies – This possibility should be brought to the attention of your veterinarian. If this is suspected, you may switch to a hypoallergenic food or you may wish to begin home cooking food. When home cooking is done this eliminates the elements of artificial flavoring, coloring and preservatives that can often be triggers. Snacks are included in this as well, with brightly colored treats harboring the most chemicals.

Hypothyroidism - Itchy feet and itchy ears that cause a Pomeranian to excessively lick the paws and paw at the ears may be caused by hypothyroidism. Because thyroid hormones are essential to healthy skin and a lot of other bodily functions including the immune system, skin problems that may at first appear to be allergies can actually be attributed to hypothyroidism.

This can be treated with medication that usually works very well and has little side effects (some studies have shown that the medication may also actually extend life span). Oddly, there is a surprising change once a dog is properly treated… Owners then notice that facial expression has changed…from “sad like” to peaceful and happy.

Orthopedic Issues

It may seem surprising, but dogs with orthopedic issues, such as back pain, can lick (or chew) on themselves excessively. It is done in response to pain.

While some health issues will have clear symptoms, (Hip Dysplasia with limping and a wobbly gait) some health issues do not have clear signs.

If your Pomeranian is licking compulsively, it is recommended to bring him or her for a full and complete checkup to check for all possibilities of health aliments. 
Obsessive/ Compulsive Behavior

Sometimes, a Pomeranian may have a behavioral issue that causes him to have an uncontrollable desire to lick a certain part of his body. It can lead to loss of coat and actual sores (which can then become infected). This type of issue cannot be resolved overnight and owners must have patience.

This should first be checked for possible infection which is often treated with a topical solution, with the paw(s) wrapped so that it can't be licked off. Even if infection is not an issue, the paw(s) are often wrapped to prevent the tongue from doing any further damage. This will allow any sores to heal. After the area has healed, a bittering solution may be put on the area. This puts a foul taste on the fur that most canines avoid.

Use only a product labeled for this use that the veterinarian approves of. These substances break down quickly, so plan to apply it several times a day. In the case of a dog licking just the right or left paw or leg, it may also be wise to apply it on the other side of the body since some dogs will just turn their attention to the other limb.

Continue applying the bittering agent 3 or 4 times per day for 3 to 4 weeks. At that time, you can stop using it, to test your Pomeranian and see if he has “forgotten” about his habit.

Separation Anxiety & Licking

The stress and isolation that some dogs feel when home alone can cause a dog to lick all of the time as a coping mechanism. If your Pom is suffering from separation anxiety, there are some steps that you can take to help:

If you must be gone all day, you can:
  • Hire a trusted person to take him for a walk while you are gone
  • Come home at lunch time so that your time away is not so long
  • Supply your dog with helpful toys. Have a couple that hold treats; these are helpful as some dogs will stay chewing at them for quite a while. Also have some soothing toys that help to calm a dog down.
  • Leave on a radio or TV – be sure to keep cords out of reach.
  • Leave on a few lights if you will not be returning until dusk or if stormy weather is predicted. 
  • Leave a piece of clothing or other items that has your scent on it
  • You can try putting your Pomeranian in an area in which he can see the outside world, such as near a window or a sliding door. Do test this first, as some dogs will behave calmer but some dogs will bark at everything that they see.
Redirecting Attention If you see that your Pomeranian is licking due to a habit, try to encourage your Pomeranian to chew a toy instead. When this behavior is so severe that sores develop, if you have to tether your Pomeranian to yourself in order to keep up with supervision, do it—it’s worth it.

Re-direct attention onto toys that are out and available at all times. This will allow your Pom to work up to having the ability to turn to a toy without your direction. In addition, you don’t want to mistakenly reward a dog for obsessive/ compulsive licking by running to put treats into a toy and offering it to him. Therefore, the toys need to be there all the time.
What is your Pom's animal sign? And what does that mean?

Have fun in our newest section, Pomeranian Chinese Zodiacs.
See how your Pom's year of birth can give you insight into his/her core personality & traits.
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