Saturday, January 27, 2024

Dog Licking Genitals and Groin Area

Author:  Susan Blake Davis
Revised and Updated:  January 26, 2024
First Published: 8/2/2009

One of the most common questions we receive is from concerned pet owners about their dogs licking at their genitals and groin area. Many clients, quite embarrassed mention quietly that their poor dog "licks his penis" and has red spots in the groin area. Well....this is a very delicate subject but one that definitely needs to be addressed. Pictured above is a picture of my beautiful Bluey. Bluey has very bad allergies and when we first got him, he licked his penis and genital area constantly. I knew it wasn't just licking for the sake of licking because he would go to eat his dinner and then act like it was itchy down there and need to lick at his penis before eating! This showed that he was really uncomfortable. Some dogs will lick their genitals as part of normal grooming and there really isn't any cause for concern. In this situation, I would say--maybe once a day. But, in Bluey's situation and in many, many of our client's pet situations, it is often several times a day.

If your male dog licks his penis or your female dog is licking at her private area, there is a lot you can do to help! While it is important for you to take your pet to the veterinarian to check for a urinary tract infection or other type of infection, many times the problem is due to food allergies in their diet as well as yeast overgrowth. There are supplements you can use for your pet that will start helping right away.   An easy, effective solution is to use K9 Yeast Defense + Power Probiotic.  

If your dog is licking and chewing on the genital area or inside thighs, has a history of ear infections or is smelly even after a bath, K9 Yeast Defense contains ingredients like oregano oil and capryllic acid that have been shown to help control yeast.  Customers report that it helps control the itching and discomfort which is why pet's lick and chew at the genital area.   If your dog has been on antibiotics and steroids, that can also upset their intestinal flora resulting in an opportunity for yeast to overgrow.  

When a female dog licks at the vulva or genital area, it often does send a signal that it is time to visit the veterinarian as well. Clearly, if a female is in heat or having hormonal changes, well, yes that can increase the genital licking too. But, for the most part, when a dog is licking there---you need to take them to the veterinarian first and foremost. Why? Well, it is often a sign of some type of infection. First, be sure to rule out the presence of a urinary tract infection. Unfortunately so many people mistakenly think that their dog licking in the genital area is just "grooming" when in fact it is an infection. Female dogs often have hidden infections in the urethra, not the bladder, especially older females, that will only show up in a urine culture, not a typical urine analysis.

Male dogs can actually get penis infections--I know it sounds just awful, but you may want to actually check. In Bluey's situation, his penis was red and surrounded by a thick filmy discharge. The veterinarian treated him for an infection but then just like with many other infections, I noticed it started to come back after we finished the antibiotics, I noticed it started to come back, along with the licking, which had stopped completely. I am happy to report that with supplements and dietary changes, it has now been 6 months and Bluey is no longer obsessed with licking himself. The minute he starts to lick, I give him K9 Yeast Defense. I keep him on a low carbohydrate, hypoallergenic raw diet and he stays on digestive enzymes along with Power Probiotic. I only need to use the K9 Yeast Defense for a few days and then the problem resolves.

In my experience, the most common reasons dogs are licking their genitals is because of either urinary tract infections, allergies or yeast. If your dog is getting chronic UTIs,  consider Olive Leaf Extract.   Remember foods like grains, milk products (cheese), wheat and table scraps (often containing sugar) just fuel the infections---avoid dog biscuits and give your dog plenty of steamed, frozen vegetables.  Vegetables have prebiotic fibers that can support a healthy microbiome (the organisms supporting your dog's immune system).  Choose low glycemic vegetables like green beans, squash and zucchinni.  To learn more about how to treat yeast in dogs using a holistic approach, click here