Surely you have ever seen your dog or bitch licking its parts. It is a habit that many pet guardians find uneasy since they can not understand why dogs lick their genitals. A priori you might think that they simply do it for pleasure, but that is not usually the reason.

Why do dogs lick their genitals?

The causes for which a dog licks his parts can be many and very varied. Let’s see the most common.

Abnormal secretions

For example, when a dog licks his penis, he may do so because a preputial discharge is taking place, that is, he may discharge blood, pus, or urine abnormally. This should not happen to a healthy dog, so you have to be very aware of it since the animal could be suffering from problems such as:

  • Disorders of the urethra.
  • Prostate disease.
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Disorders that affect the foreskin.
  • Bladder problems
  • Coagulopathies.

On the other hand, when a bitch licks her vulva, one of the causes can be an abnormal vaginal discharge. This could be caused by:

  • Neoplasms in the urogenital tract.
  • Vaginitis
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Urogenital tract infections.
  • Retention of the placenta.
  • Clotting disorders.
  • Traumas or foreign bodies in the urogenital tract.

Urine infection

Urine infection tends to cause a lot of itching in the area, so it is normal to see dogs lick their genitals to alleviate this discomfort.

In the case of this problem, it is quite common to detect other symptoms. Some of them are alteration in the frequency of urination, urinating in places where you did not do it before (for example, inside the house), nervousness, and changes in the urine (much stronger or more cloudy smell).

Allergies and pathogens

It can also happen that dogs lick their parts to relieve itching caused by allergies, skin infections, fungi, or fleas.

Normal grooming

Another reason dogs lick their genitals is for sheer grooming and hygiene. There does not have to be an abnormal discharge in them at that time, they can simply do it as part of their own cleaning routine.

Stress and/or boredom

Dogs licking their genitals can also be caused by problems that go beyond the physical.

When a dog is feeling stressed or bored, he may begin to lick certain areas of his body compulsively. This can lead to a bigger problem such as acral lick dermatitis, whereby the animal ends up causing an ulcer in the area that it licks incessantly.


Although it is not usually the usual cause of why dogs lick their genitals (and it is the first one that many people think of), there are dogs that by chance (for example, when licking to clean themselves) find that this is pleasant. In those cases, they may occasionally do it for recreational reasons.

How do know the reason why my dog ​​licks his genitals?

Sometimes, an observation is enough to understand which of the reasons mentioned could be the cause of why dogs lick their genitals.

However, as in all cases, only a veterinary professional will be able to make the correct diagnosis, since the root cause must always be investigated.

For example, as pet guardians, we can detect an abnormal discharge in the genitals of the animal, but as has been seen, the causes of these secretions can be many and only a professional will carry out the necessary tests to determine what ails your dog.

Among the tests that can be performed to determine why dogs lick their parts are:

  • Complete blood count.
  • Urine analysis.
  • Biochemical blood profile.
  • Bacterial culture.
  • Cytological examination.
  • X-rays.
  • Ultrasounds

If physical tests are not negative, the problem is most likely related to the animal’s environment. In those cases, it will be necessary to review what is causing stress, anxiety, or boredom in it and correct it. You can also go to a canine ethologist to help modify this behavior.

Possible treatments

The treatment to be recommended by the veterinary professional will be determined by the cause that has been established. This will depend on whether it is necessary to intervene surgically (for example, in the case of tumors), the administration of medications, more careful hygiene, etc.

My dog ​​licks another dog’s genitals

Although it is more common for cats to groom other companions, there may be cases in which dogs also do it and it is simply a gesture of affection.

If it is two dogs living in the home and both are known to be healthy and vaccinated, there should be no concern. However, when the origin of one of the dogs is unknown, care must be taken, as there could be a contagion of diseases.

What should always be avoided is licking around the anusDogs sniff each other’s butts as they get a lot of information from the other dog this way. However, many parasites lay their eggs in this area and it could be dangerous for one to lick them.

Now you know the most common reasons why dogs lick their genitals. Pay attention in case it could be a health problem!