Lick Granuloma: Causes, Treatments, and Prevention of Acral Lick Granuloma in Dogs

Treatment for lick granuloma in dogs can be long and involved.

Lick granuloma is a common skin problem in dogs that is very frustrating for the dog, the owner, and the veterinarian. It is caused by the dog licking herself in the same area over and over. This causes trauma to that area of the skin and leads to a large wound, infection, and thickening of the skin. Lick granuloma most commonly occurs on the front of a lower leg, and the word "acral" simply means that the lesion occurs on an extremity.

Breeds, Gender, and Age Most Commonly Affected by Lick Granuloma in Dogs

Presentation and Signs of Lick Granuloma in Dogs

Dogs with lick granuloma have an area of skin, usually on the front of a lower leg, which is hairless and extremely thickened. The area may be red and/or oozing. The dog licks at the area obsessively.

Causes of Lick Granuloma in Dogs

Following is a list of common problems that may trigger a dog to lick incessantly at one area, causing a lick granuloma:

Diagnosis of Lick Granuloma in Dogs

Treatment of Lick Granuloma in Dogs

The treatment for lick granuloma hinges on finding and treating the underlying cause. In the meantime, the dog must be induced to leave the area alone, because the wound can't heal as long as she is constantly disturbing it. Below are some common treatments used for lick granuloma. Your veterinarian may start with one or a combination of these, and follow-up treatments may be needed based on your dog's response.

Do not give or apply any meds without checking with your veterinarian first. Some human medications are toxic to dogs if taken orally or licked off of the skin.

Home Care for Lick Granuloma in Dogs

Home care for lick granuloma in dogs will depend on the cause. Your veterinarian may ask you to give medications, apply bandages, and use an e-collar. Unless your dog is arthritic, in which case you want to maintain a moderate level of exercise, it is a good idea to do the following when you have a dog with lick granuloma:

Prevention of Lick Granuloma in Dogs

Making sure that your dog always has plenty of exercise, sleep, playtime with you, and fun time with other dogs can help to decrease the chances of her developing stress-related lick granuloma. Otherwise, be sure to take your dog to the veterinarian at the first sign that she is focusing in on one spot to lick incessantly. The worse a lick granuloma gets, the harder it is to fix.

Prognosis for Lick Granuloma in Dogs

The prognosis for lick granuloma is guarded. Once a dog develops lick granuloma, it can be very difficult to treat. Sometimes one lesion is healed simply for the dog to begin a new one in a different spot. Finding and treating the underlying cause is crucial for long-term success. Since the cause is very commonly psychogenic, aggressive regimes of exercise, play, human contact, and enrichment can help achieve better resolution of this stubborn problem.

Alternative therapies for Lick Granuloma in Dogs

New or Cutting Edge Therapies for Lick Granuloma in Dogs

You May Also Like These Articles:

Dealing With Canine Scratching and Licking

Separation Anxiety in Dogs

Hotspots in Dogs

Destructive Chewing In Dogs

DOGTV: A Great Way to Help Dogs That Are Home Alone All Day

Fleas and Ticks in Dogs

Food Allergies in Dogs

Causes of Lameness in Dogs: An Overview

Panosteitis in Dogs: Growing Pains

Most Common Canine Tumors

Hypothyroidism in Dogs

Otitis Externa in Dogs

The German Shepard

The Labrador Retriever

Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site. Just Answer is an external service not affiliated with