Itchy, Red Skin? All You Need To Know About Lick Granuloma in Dogs

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Itchy, Red Skin? All You Need To Know About Lick Granuloma in DogsDoes your dog have lick granuloma? If you don’t know, think of it like this:

Have you ever had an awful itch that you couldn’t get rid of? Have you itched that spot until it turned to redraw? The same thing can occur for dogs, but the problem is that sometimes they don’t know when to stop.

Excessive licking of the same spot can result in a condition called acral lick granuloma and can cause severe pain for your dog if left untreated. 

Know what the signs and symptoms are and how the condition can be treated with the simple use of medication. 

Obsessive Licking, Itchy Skin. What Is Lick Granuloma?

Closeup of a dog with Lick Granuloma licking itself

Acral lick granuloma, or also commonly known as acral lick dermatitis is a frustrating condition where the dog tends to excessively lick their skin. This can lead to serious infections and severe discomfort for your furry friend.

This condition commonly occurs on the legs as it is the most accessible region, however, can also occur on the dogs back, sides, and tail. If left untreated, it can result in bacterial infections, inflammation of the granulation tissues, severe skin lesions, fungal infections, and more.

So, if it causes so much discomfort, then why do they lick themselves raw?

There are a number of reasons why your dog could be obsessively licking themselves, and a veterinarian should be able to determine that upon treatment.

What Causes Lick Granuloma

Psychological Factors

Obsessive licking can be caused due to psychological stressors, and this can result in your dog looking to release their endorphins by licking themselves. Such psychological stressors can include obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety, boredom, and more, which we will discuss throughout the article.


Nobody likes allergies, and neither does your dog. One of the most common symptoms of allergies is itching, and this can result in your dog licking the inflamed area for relief. If the dog continues to do this excessively, then it will result in acral lick granuloma.


It can be hard to tell when dogs are in pain and get a general understanding of their sense of well-being. However, there are conditions that are linked to lick granuloma and the problem that it causes. These conditions can be fractures your dog has sustained, osteoarthritis, or trauma to a certain area of the body.

In order to help your dog recover from lick granuloma, a veterinarian must first determine what is causing this behavior to prevent further infections and lesions from occurring.

What this Excessive Licking Condition Means for Mental and Physical State

As we talked about above, lick granuloma can be caused by many different things that are occurring in your dog’s body. Most commonly, veterinarians and dermatologists link the obsessive licking disorder to the dogs mental and physical state.

Conditions within the mental and physical state of your dog that may be causing lick granuloma can include:

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder

Everyone has something they obsess over but licking for a dog is not the ideal thing to pick.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is behaviors that are exaggerated in dogs for extended periods of time. They are repeated out of context in a situation you would deem abnormal.

In this particular case, your dog would be presenting behaviors of obsessive licking for no reason, and not being able to stop when told to.

Separation Anxiety

This is a common condition that a lot of dogs experience.

Separation anxiety is caused by being separated from their owners or something they are attached to. Usually, this condition is associated with barking, urination, destruction, scratching, and the attempt to escape.

However, separation anxiety has been known to cause a dog to excessively licking themselves to release endorphins that cause the anxiety.


Allergies are the most common cause of lick dermatitis and can be caused by the factors in the environment like pollen, or can be caused by certain foods or a low immune system.

Despite the cause of the allergies, one of the biggest and most annoying symptoms for your dogs is the itching. To stop it, they tend to lick the area that is inflamed or bite it until it stops, therefore resulting in acral lick granuloma.


As we stated above, lick granuloma can be associated with pain caused by fractures, osteoarthritis, or trauma to the body. It can also be caused by a foreign body and skin sensitivity.

If lick granuloma is left untreated, then it can become a serious problem on your dogs mental and physical state as it will result in severe pain and infectious skin lesions, result in a self-perpetuating cycle mentally.

Dog Itching or Obsessive Licking? Know The Symptoms of Lick Granuloma In Dogs

If you believe that your dog is suffering from this condition, then you should be aware of the signs and symptoms of lick granuloma. Most commonly, the first sign is obsessive licking, with the legs and feet being the hot spots for your dog to target.

Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • Thickened skin
  • Ruptured hair follicles
  • Alopecia
  • Bacterial or fungal infections
  • Inflamed and red skin
  • Skin Lesions

If you notice any of these symptoms on your dog then it is important that you seek a veterinarian immediately. Lick granuloma can be a painful condition and a problem for your dog that they won’t be able to beat alone. Treatment is available for your dog.

Dog Breeds Prone to Acral Lick Granuloma

Though this is a common disorder amongst dogs, some breeds are more prone to suffering acral lick granuloma then others. Common breeds that are susceptible to lick granuloma include:

  • Great Danes
  • Irish Setters
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Golden Retrievers
  • German Shepherds
  • German Short Haired Pointers

You may have spotted that the breeds named above are all large dogs. It is unclear why large dogs are more prone to acral lick granuloma than small dogs, however, the condition can still affect smaller breeds.

Talk To Your Vet! Diagnosis of Lick Granuloma In Dogs

If you believe that your dog has lick granuloma, then it is important that you seek treatment immediately. When you take your dog to the veterinarian, they will examine the inflamed and irritated skin.

Veterinarian and assistant examining a canine with Lick Granuloma in vet clinic

If the vet believes that your dog has a degenerative disease like arthritis, then they will conduct a physical examination of the joints and, in some cases, x-rays.

For lick granuloma resulting from trauma, your veterinarian will perform radiographs in which your dog may need to be sedated for the procedure.

Your veterinarian will also ask you about the history of your dog, any allergies that may have had, any incidents of itchy skin or infections. They will also ask you about the psychological history of the dog such as stress, separation anxiety, loss of another pet, any changes to their routine or the household, boredom, or any other obsessive behavior.

Other tests that your veterinarian may conduct include:

  • Skin scraping to look for mites
  • Full blood test
  • Fungal cultures

Once the diagnosis is made, a treatment plan can be put in place to help your dog get better and beat lick granuloma.

Topical Therapy, Medication, and More! Lick Granuloma Treatment for Dogs

As this is such a broad condition with many probable causes, treatment will vary depending on the diagnosis of your dog. Treating your dog and healing the skin lesions and infections caused by the lick granuloma starts with a course of antibiotics. If your dog has a severe case of lick granuloma, then your veterinarian may suggest long-term antibiotic therapy.

After the infection has a clear treatment plan in place, your veterinarian will suggest treating the underlying condition that is causing the lick granuloma in the first place.

Individual treatment plans depending on diagnosis can include:

Obsessive-compulsive Disorder and Separation Anxiety

As these conditions relate to the mental state of your dog, treatment can vary depending on the severity of their case.

Some dog owners prefer to keep their dogs off of any sort of medication and instead would rather try correctional therapy whereby you train your dog to accept the anxiety and respond differently or tell your dog to stop every time their obsessive behavior starts and reward them after.

In severe cases such as lick granuloma, however, medication is often prescribed by your veterinarian and can usually include mood-altering drugs, anti-anxiety medication, or tricyclic anti-depressants.


Thankfully, allergies are a lot easier to treat then mental conditions that are associated with lick granuloma.

An array of anti-inflammatory drugs are available to treat various allergy conditions including dermatitis, skin lesions, allergic reactions, and more.


Once the veterinarian has identified the location of pain and its cause, it will be easier for your dog to be on the mend. Pain medication and, in some cases like arthritis, anti-inflammatory medication will be prescribed to manage the condition.

Another treatment that is available to dogs suffering lick granuloma is a topical treatment, where the owner can apply a topical cream to the localized area.

Lick Granuloma: What Products Work Best for Treating the Pain and Restoring the Dry Skin

Vets Preferred Premium Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil

Vets Preferred Premium Wild Alaskan is the best of the best when the itching doesn’t stop because it:

  • Helps relieve dry, itchy skin → no more excessive itching
  • Moisturizes and soothes your pet’s skin from the inside out → helps achieve a soft, glossy coat
  • Perfect for dogs struggling with seasonal allergies → less itching, runny nose, and overall irritants
  • Acts as a natural anti-inflammatory → desire & ability to be more active

Honest Paws Restore CBD Dog Treats

Dogs itch.

Their digestive health sometimes fails them causing them to be nauseous or unable to eat certain foods. They might be allergic or have skin allergies with dry, itchy skin. Their coats become a little dry due to the fleas and ticks.

If your dog does or has anything of the above, consider Honest Paws Restore CBD Dog Treats.

Honest Paws Restore CBD Dog Treats helps with allergies and lick granuloma. No one should have to endure pain, especially our fur-babies.

With these delicious treats, your pooch has a fighting chance to feel good and lead a happier life.

Besides, most pet owners claim they would die for their dog so surely they will do anything in their power to ease their pain.

Inflamed Skin, Lesions, Itchy Skin? Lick Granuloma Can Be Troublesome for Your Dog but can be Treated

Lick granuloma can be a debilitating condition for your dog and can cause a lot of pain and future trouble for them.

The good thing is that it can be treated and the underlying condition that causes the lick granuloma in the first place identified. Most veterinarians will put a long-term treatment plan in place so that your dog doesn’t have to suffer acral lick granuloma again.

Give your furry friend their quality of life back and beat lick granuloma. Look for the sign and symptoms, can consult a veterinarian immediately if you think your dog is suffering from lick granuloma.

All product and Company names are Trademarks™ or Registered® trademarks of their respective holders.

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase may earn a commission. Keep in mind that we link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission we receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Disclaimer: This post may contain references to products from one or more of our partnered sites, Honest Paws and Vets Preferred. However, CertaPet content is to be used for educational and informational purposes only. Please seek veterinary advice for your own situation. For more on our terms of use, visit this page