Dogs spend an inordinate amount of time grooming themselves. Perhaps not as intensely or as frequently as cats, but often nonetheless. Licking paws and consistent grooming are two completely normal things to expect from any dog, no matter the size or breed.
If you find that your pup is spending more time than usual messing with his fur or skin and turning around to bite at his back, there could be something else encouraging him to do so other than the instinct to keep himself clean. While back-biting can stem from boredom or habit, there might be an underlying cause, such as fleas or dry skin.
Take notice of your dog’s behavior and assess if he is biting at his back more often than usual. There is likely an underlying issue that can be swiftly corrected with the help of your veterinarian, even if it’s just behavioral!
Why does my dog bite his back?
When considering why your pup has started to bite at his back incessantly, it’s essential to look at whether this behavior is typical or new for him. Try to recall when it started, and if you can’t, he’s likely been doing it for a while. At this point, it could very well be compulsive.
If your dog is constantly biting and scratching at his back or anywhere on his body, he is probably experiencing discomfort on some level. Scratching, licking, biting, and chewing can happen for many reasons, and you’ll want to contemplate the following:
Boredom or anxiety
Just like humans, dogs have physical manifestations when it comes to feeling bored or anxious. They may pace, bite at their nails, lick, chew, and, you guessed it, bite at their skin and fur without apparent physical reason.
If you’ve had any recent changes in your environment, take note as to whether or not your dog’s behavior is lining up with it. A move, a new baby, and even divorce can upset a dog’s safety in its environment. Dogs feel most things on an emotional level, so it’s crucial to examine what may have gone on in our lives and theirs to cause them to begin biting and chewing at their bodies.
Seasonal and food allergies
One of the most common reasons dogs bite and scratch at themselves nonstop comes from seasonal or food allergies. Your dog may be reacting to a new food or treat, or perhaps he’s suffering from a sudden influx of pollen. Even mold can potentially trigger endless scratching from your pup.
Consider whether you’ve recently bathed them or if they’ve gotten into something they shouldn’t have out in the yard, garage, or storage shed. Dogs can react to chemicals, pesticides, and soap. So take the time to examine if you might be using something causing your dog to develop dermatitis or inflamed, itchy skin.
Something as simple as overly dry skin could cause your dog to bite at his back. Many factors go into the root of dry skin, including weather changes, such as the cold, dry air that comes with winter, or physiological issues like a fatty acid deficiency.
Scratching and biting at his back could be your dog’s way of showing his irritation at the discomfort that comes with dry skin. You will be able to tell if dry skin is the issue by running a comb or brush over your dog’s coat. If you see flakes, then dry skin is the culprit of his constant back-biting. Call your vet for tips on what to do next!
One of the most common reasons dogs bite at their backs is a parasitic infection. Fleas, ticks, and mites are annoying, buggy creatures that love to call dogs home.
Ticks are often visible after a day or two, although it’s important to check your dog after they’ve been in an area that’s highly concentrated with ticks to grab them before they latch. Once ticks have begun to feed, they can transmit severe disease.
On the other hand, fleas and mites are harder to locate, primarily on dogs that have thick or dark fur. Fleas are hard to see until the infestation is prominent and mites are microscopic. Because of this, it’s crucial not to assume that your dog doesn’t have a parasitic infestation based on the premise that you can’t see them.
Dogs that keep biting at a specific area may be expressing physical discomfort or pain. Issues varying from hip dysplasia to a pulled muscle can spark this type of behavior, so it’s vital to see a vet early on to determine the problem.
Superficial skin infections can develop from hormonal imbalances, such as an internal thyroid issue. It can be harder to spot when this happens, but your dog may act similar to those with allergies. You might notice bald spots and find that your dog is scratching and licking excessively with no outward explanation.
Why does my dog bite his back paws?
Dogs will bite at their back paws for the same reasons they bite at their back, although it’s prevalent for dogs with allergies to pull and bite at their feet. However, if you notice your dog nipping and chewing on his back paws in a non-frenzied manner, don’t worry too much right away.
Dogs suffering from boredom will chew on their back paws for something to do. If this is the case, you’ll notice your pup leisurely bites and chomps on his back paws without wincing or whining.
Why does my dog bite his back legs?
Dogs might bite at their back leg for various reasons, including fleas, fungal infections, or insect bites. It’s always crucial to investigate the cause of new biting and scratching with the help of a reputable veterinarian.
Why does my dog keep biting one spot?
Many dogs develop something called hot spots or red, inflamed skin. A form of dermatitis, hot spots are exacerbated by your dog constantly itching at them and will eventually ooze pus or become infected if left untreated.
Hot spots are typically the reason that your dog bites at one spot without deterrence, and you’ll be able to see a hot spot with the naked eye. Hot spots can be treated with over-the-counter medicines and sprays, but note that if it appears infected or painful, call your vet right away.
How to get my dog to stop biting his back?
If you’ve spoken to your vet about your dog and his continuous back-attack, then you probably have an idea of which direction to take regarding extinguishing the behavior. If you’re dealing with a medical issue, such as fleas, allergies, or skin infections, your vet will prescribe the necessary steps to take and medications to eradicate back-biting.
However, if this is purely a behavioral problem stemming from psychological matters like boredom or anxiety, then you’ve got other options. These include professional training and working with your dog to eliminate stress or nervousness.
Your trainer may suggest long walks, more exercise, or bringing your dog to an extended train and board program. No matter what is causing your dog to bite his back constantly, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.