Why Does My Dog Bite Himself?
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Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

If you’re the proud parent of a doggo – we’re guessing there’s not much that misses your about concerning your furry friend’s health. However, certain canine behaviors are so evident that they become difficult to ignore. 

One such worrying habit is your dog biting himself over and over. Unsurprisingly, this leads to many dog owners taking to the internet to find the cause behind their pupper’s strange conduct. The truth is, your dog may have taken to biting himself for various reasons, such as parasites, pain or injury, hormonal imbalances, and some other stuff.

But, before you start getting visions of your little pal in pain – staring pleadingly at your from the other side of the vet’s office – relax.

This article not only includes an all-inclusive rundown of the reasons behind your pet’s self-chewing habit, but it’s also full of helpful advice and pointers to help you help your furball. All you have to do is grab a comfy seat and stick with me as I simplify your life. Ready?

5 Reasons Why Your Dog May Be Biting Himself

Believe it or not, dog trainers get hit with health-related doggy questions all the time. You’d think your canine’s health is limited to a wholesome diet and the ideal exercise regime. However, that’s not true. 

That’s one of the reasons why I’ve set aside my canine trainer mantle to tackle this topic today.

You see, making sure your canine’s healthy and happy also requires a suitable grooming routine. That not only helps keep your pup clear of problems like tangles and unwanted pests – but it also helps your pet feel better.

Speaking of feeling better, below are five of the usual suspects behind your canine’s skincare problems. Once you figure out what’s ailing your pet, finding the right cure or treatment can be pretty straightforward.

1. Parasites

Your canine’s luxurious locks may make it the envy of all the neighborhood, but it also puts Fido at risk of becoming a reluctant host to parasites. Additionally, a parasite infestation is generally reason number one behind your mutt’s scratching and biting behavior.

Pests like fleas, ticks, or mites can take up residence in your pet’s hair relatively easily. And while ticks are pretty visible to the naked eye, a flea infestation is often difficult to detect until there’s a full-blown invasion. Mites, on the other hand, are microscopic and nightmarish, challenging to detect.

(How To Deal With It)

If your pet’s dealing with a parasite problem – take it to the vet asap. Your veterinarian will identify the nature of the infestation and prescribe helpful and safe products to help eliminate the bugs.

A pro tip for dealing with fleas is to make sure you thoroughly wash your dog’s bed and sanitize the surrounding areas. I’m talking about vacuuming the rugs, curtains, upholstered furniture – the works. And, be sure to check other pets in your household for the same concern!

2. Hormonal Imbalances

Sometimes, hormonal imbalances can cause your pet’s skin to itch and become irritated. For instance, if your furbaby’s thyroid isn’t working as it should, a lack of thyroid hormone can cause surface skin infections

If the underlying culprit is the thyroid hormone, your pet may also exhibit symptoms like bald spots. You may also notice your pet scratching or biting excessively as if bothered by allergies.

(How To Deal With It)

Your vet will likely order a screening test to check your pet’s thyroxine levels. If the levels aren’t optimal, the vet may treat your pet with thyroid replacement therapy to make up for the lack of thyroxine in your pet’s system.

3. Dry Skin

Canines like humans can suffer from dry skin too. Fido’s dry skin concerns can develop due to various reasons like weather changes, too much bathing, or even fatty acid deficiencies. Most of the time, canines will react to dry skin the way they react to allergies or pests – with lots of biting, licking, or scratching.

If you’re wondering how excessive bathing can lead to dry skin – that’s simple. Your pet’s skin contains natural oils that help keep it supple and protect it from bacteria and other types of nasties. 

But, when you bathe your pet more than required, you strip the skin of its protective oil, leading to dryness and irritation.

(How To Deal With It)

There are quite a few ways to keep your pet’s skin well moisturized and avoid dry skin-related itchy problems. Firstly, invest in an oatmeal-based shampoo to keep your pet’s fur and skin soft and supple. 

If you suspect the cold weather is behind the dryness – you can use a humidifier indoors to you and your pet’s advantage.

It’s also a good idea to discuss your pet’s diet with your veterinarian to ensure your doggo’s nutrient needs (specifically Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids) are being met.

4. Pain

Despite popular belief, licking and biting in canines isn’t just limited to skin problems. Sometimes, the behavior can indicate pain or a medical reason. It’s not uncommon for Fido the lick the spot where it’s experiencing pain – to the point that the spot becomes sore and inflamed.

Common reasons behind such behavior can be internal injuries (like a torn ligament) or orthopedic problems like elbow or hip dysplasia.

(How To Deal With It)

Drive down to your local veterinary clinic and let the doctor check your pet for signs of pain. Animals, especially canines, are renowned for hiding their suffering until the pain becomes too much. That’s why it’s best to let a professional handle the situation.

What’s more, if your pet’s stress levels are spiking, it may not be too comfortable letting your touch the source of its misery and may act out if you force your touch on it.

Thankfully, vets can pick up on the source of your pet’s suffering after a thorough physical checkup – meaning they’ll be able to prescribe your pal the right medication to relieve the pain and help improve your pet’s overall condition.

5. Allergies

Not only are dogs susceptible to food allergies, but sometimes, their itchy conduct can also be the result of environmental allergens like pollen or mold

It’s also possible for Fido to develop contact dermatitis – which is a type of skin irritation caused by substances found in soap or pesticides.

(How To Deal With It)

The treatment of an allergy will depend on its cause. For instance, if food allergies plague your pet, your vet may ask you to switch to a diet or brand that’s free of allergens like soy, corn, wheat, or even chicken or beef.

It’s also essential to keep checking your house for mold growth during the rainy season because mold tends to thrive in areas with a lot of moisture.

Finally, if your pet has seasonal allergies (related to substances like pollen), your vet may likely prescribe antihistamines. You can also discuss supplements (with natural ingredients like yeast, flaxseed oil, among others) with your vet to manage the condition.


It’s not always easy to self-determine the cause behind your canine’s excessive nibbling and licking – which is why your vet’s input is always required. 

A well-timed visit to your favorite animal doctor will not only help bring quick relief to your poor furbaby, but it’ll also help you determine warning signs to look out for.

Remember, advice from the internet, friends & family is all good – but nothing can safeguard your pet’s well-being more than frequent and scheduled visits to the veterinarian. 

Besides, if you’re anything like me – I’m probably preaching to the choir. Most, if not all, dog parents never compromise on their animals’ health. And that’s exactly how things should be.