If you’re a dog owner, you likely already know that your dog or puppy has some habits that are a bit curious if not downright odd. One of those habits includes your older dog licking another dog or puppy’s private parts, which can even cause concern in some pet parents.
It can even be a little embarrassing if your dog does this often or even obsessively, and it may even make you think that something’s wrong with your beloved fur baby.
But is licking another dog’s privates really that much of a concern? Do you really have to worry when your dog does this or is it actually normal behavior?
Keep reading to get the information you need.
Why Does My Dog Lick My Puppy’s Privates?
The good news about this behavior is that more often than not, it is perfectly normal behavior for a dog. In fact, dogs’ social behaviors usually include ways to get to know other dogs, and they do this in many different ways.
Unlike humans, dogs use all of their senses when they “meet” and get to know another dog, including taste and smell.
For them, sniffing and licking another dog, including that dog’s private area, is simply part of the process of getting to know that other dog.
The behavior isn’t limited to just the privates of the other dog or puppy. A dog can choose to sniff or lick almost any part of another dog’s anatomy, and to them, it’s a perfectly normal and natural reaction to have when they meet another dog. This practice is commonly referred to as “dog social grooming”.
If you think that only sterilized or unsterilized dogs practice this behavior, think again. Both types of dogs use their sense of taste and smell to get to know another dog, as well as dogs they’re already familiar with.
In fact, if your dog meets another dog and they begin sniffing and occasionally licking each other’s private areas, it is usually a good sign that they are getting along and they like each other.
They often sniff, smell, paw at, and taste things purely out of curiosity, and dogs can learn a lot about one another by participating in these actions.
They usually want to know, for example, how other dogs taste and smell as compared to themselves, and most dogs can find out a lot about the other dog by doing these things.
What types of things can they discover about another dog by sniffing and licking different parts of their body? You’re likely to be surprised because some of those things include:
- Overall health
- Sexual readiness
- Status within the pack
- What the other dog has been ingesting
- Where the other dog has been recently
There is yet another reason why grown dogs often lick a puppy’s genitals, and that is to show that puppy some “motherly” attention.
Dogs can become protective of puppies, even puppies that are not their own, and this is one of the ways they show that concern. You often see dogs showing this type of affection to their siblings, so many times, the behavior is merely a sign of affection.
Nevertheless, it is still something to be watched because you’ll soon be reading about ways the behavior can actually be detrimental to the dog receiving the “attention.”
Is it Tolerated by Other Dogs?
Although these actions are perfectly normal in most situations, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other dog is going to tolerate it – at least not for long.
Most adult dogs, for example, will only tolerate another dog sniffing and licking its private area for so long before it shows that dog that it’s had enough. Puppies that lick older dogs’ privates usually do so for longer periods of time, or at least try, but the older canine will stop them after a while.
So, what does it mean when your dog is licking another dog’s privates, and when should you be concerned about the behavior?
There are three (3) general reasons why dogs do this, and they include:
- Basic grooming – If you see your dog licking continuously at your puppy’s genitals, or any other body part, it could be a sign that it merely wants to practice clean hygiene with its friend. When dogs lick for long periods of time, this is usually the reason, and although they usually lick the other dog’s ear or other area of the body when they are interested in grooming, they do occasionally lick the other dog’s genitals instead.
- Habit – Dogs will often lick another dog’s genital area out of habit. After all, dogs and puppies both are used to sniffing and licking through their world to learn more about life, and if they are used to doing this to the genital area of another dog, they may just keep doing so out of pure habit.
- Health problems – Sometimes, dogs participate in this type of behavior because there is something wrong that needs expert care from a veterinarian. These problems can include infections or even tumors on the other dog, and because a dog’s sense of smell is so much stronger than a human’s, they can often detect when there’s a medical problem even before you can. If your dog’s licking and sniffing your puppy’s genital area – or any other area of his body – it could be a sign that there’s something wrong with the other dog, in which case a visit to the vet is recommended.
If this is a behavior you don’t want your dog participating in, and you’re sure there isn’t something wrong with the other dog, there are ways you can stop it.
How To Stop Your Dog From Licking Other Dog’s Private Parts?
After about 10 to 15 seconds, have your dog “come” to you then distract it with a treat or a toy. You can always tell your dog “no” or “enough,” any command that makes your dog realize the behavior is unacceptable. It won’t take long for the dog to realize that if it practices this behavior, it should only be for a few seconds and not a few minutes.
Problems Associated with Obsessive Dog Licking
Now that you have answers to the question, let’s talk about some possible issues with this behavior?
If your dog seems to lick another dog’s private parts regularly and you know for sure there’s nothing wrong with the other dog, the behavior could still result in some challenging situations if the behavior isn’t stopped.
In other words, even if the other dog doesn’t mind the behavior, it could still cause some things to happen that as a pet parent, you won’t want to see happen. These include skin problems that can occur when the skin gets irritated and stays too moist due to constant licking.
The constant licking can result in tiny abrasions that you don’t see, but which can make the area more prone to bacteria getting in and possibly causing an infection.
The threat of infection is very real in these circumstances, which is why prolonged licking should be stopped with a little training. In addition, if the dog already has an infection, this continuous licking could make it much worse, and possibly cause a very severe reaction in the end.
Indeed, it doesn’t just have to be the dog’s genital area that could get infected. The combination of licking and putting extra moisture onto a certain part of the body, for example, inside of the ear, could result in an infection in that part of the body.
This is yet another reason why constant licking should not be tolerated by your dog, especially if it’s doing this to a young puppy because they are more prone to infections anyway.
Fortunately, most dogs simply will not tolerate this behavior of continuous licking, especially when it comes to their private parts, which means the situation may take care of itself in the end.
Nevertheless, keeping an eye on it is important because if the other dog or puppy doesn’t have the temperament to be tolerant of this behavior, it can spell trouble for your dog. Of course, what is called “obsessive” licking could signal serious problems or make certain problems even worse.
If your dog licks or smells another dog’s body parts, including the private areas, it is usually nothing to be concerned about, but there are exceptions to this rule. Obsessive licking could signal an undiagnosed medical problem with the dog being licked, which means a trip to the vet is necessary.
In addition to this, it could also result in infections or the worsening of an existing infection if the behavior doesn’t stop. You can easily train your dog not to do this if you like, and that might not be a bad idea especially if the dog being licked is not a part of your own family.
Your dog licking another dog’s private area could be nothing or it could be something significant.
Fortunately, if you pay close enough attention to your dog while it’s doing this, you should be able to tell if it’s something to be concerned about or not. Just keep in mind what to look for and the rest should be easy.