Written by 6:52 pm Training and Behavior

Why Do Shih Tzus Lick So Much? Discover The Reasons in 2024

Why do shih tzu lick so much

Why is my dog licking the air? As with all dogs, Shih Tzus naturally clean themselves by licking their bodies. On the other hand, why do Shih Tzus lick so much? If it is really so much, it can cause problems like itching and hot spots. Chronic excessive licking can lead to lick granuloma, a condition in which the person hurts their own skin.

For Shih Tzu, allergies, boredom, stress, skin yeast infections, and dry skin are the main causes of licking. This part will talk about the signs of excessive licking, including all the usual reasons, things you can do at home to help, and signs that you should take your pet to the vet. 

Sores: Look for sore, round, raw spots on the skin where too much rubbing has hurt it.

Hot Spots: Areas that are red, swollen, and oozing, usually on the paws or legs, that show a serious skin illness.

Hair loss: Shih Tzu has bald spots in places where the dog licks a lot.

A lot of redness and swelling: This is a sign of inflammation and discomfort from the rubbing.

Bleeding: It’s bleeding because the constant biting has cracked the skin, making it more likely that an infection will happen.

Restlessness and pacing: These behaviors can mean that they are in pain or discomfort, which makes them lick to feel better.

Too much barking: This can be a sign of anger or worry about what’s going on.

Destructive chewing: The same factors, like boredom or discomfort, can contribute to both chewing and sucking.

Loss of Interest in Activities: Feeling tired and not wanting to play or go for walks as much could be a sign of pain or sickness.

Changes in Appetite or Water Consumption: Eating and drinking more or less can be a sign of several health issues.

What is Lick Granuloma?

Numerous times, excessive licking and Shih Tzu itchy skin are indicators of lick granuloma. However, other signs and reasons may not be as obvious

why is my dog licking the air - MySweetShihTzu


Licking Subtly: Not all licking that is too much can cause lick granuloma. Pay attention to licking that happens more often and for longer periods, even if there isn’t a wound yet.

Walking strangely or favoring one limb: This could indicate that the licking is a result of pain or discomfort deep inside.

Changes in behavior: More licking could be a signal of concern if the animal is more agitated, anxious, or vocal.

Sleep or food craving changes: These small changes can be signs of underlying health issues that are causing the licking behavior.


Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): Though not common, some dogs have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that shows up as excessive licking. It’s important to talk to a veterinary behaviorist.

Neurological disorders: Licking can be a sign of neurological problems, such as brain tumors, in rare cases. Evaluation by a veterinarian is necessary.

Unbalanced hormones: Some diseases, like Cushing’s disease, can cause increased thirst and urination, which can cause licking around the genitals.

Nutritional deficiencies: Not getting enough of some vitamins or minerals can cause skin issues, which can cause licking. A diet evaluation by your doctor is suggested.

Parasites: Internal bugs, though rare, can occasionally cause itching and pain, which results in licking. It’s important to keep parasites away regularly.


shih tzu licking paws - MySweetShihTzu

OCD & Neurological Disorders:

Intervention: Talk to a doctor or veterinary behaviorist for help.

Treatment includes behavior modification treatment, medicine that is specifically designed for the condition, and making the surroundings more interesting.

Unbalanced Hormones:

Intervention: A veterinarian’s diagnosis and course of action for the chemical imbalance that is causing the problem (such as Cushing’s disease).

Nutritional Deficiencies:

Intervention: Talk to your vet about getting a nutritional review and making changes to the animal’s food to fix any deficiencies that are found.


Intervention: Follow the regular parasite protection steps your vet suggests.

Skin Issues:

Treatment: There are different choices based on the cause. Some common methods are:

  • For bacterial illnesses, antibiotics are used.
  • Antifungal drugs for yeast diseases.
  • Helps with allergies: antihistamines.
  • Shampoos and creams with oatmeal can help soothe the Shih Tzu’s itchy skin.
  • Spot treatments: These get rid of fleas and ticks.
  • Changes to your diet: Take care of food issues.

Common Reasons Why Does My Shih Tzu Lick Me So Much?

1: Allergy 

Is that the frenetic licking symphony from your beloved Shih Tzu? While those lengthy tongues might communicate love, excessive licking generally indicates a deeper issue, and allergies could be the cause.

So how do they experience it? small? Think of your dog’s immune system as a watchful guard. Sometimes we mistake harmless substances like pollen, fine dust, and even food proteins for enemies. This causes an inflammatory response that releases histamines (chemical messengers) and irritates. The Shih Tzu can’t scratch with its cute toes, but that’s cool; the Shih Tzu relies on the only tool available: its tongue.

Don’t worry, just ask with its front paws. Here’s how to help your furry friend stay safe:

1. Intervention: Consult your veterinarian first. They might check their performance to identify their allergy type. and will suggest the best course of action for your fluffy Shih Tzu.

2. Food: Are food allergies causing problems? Your doctor may prescribe an elimination diet and gradually introduce different foods to determine what the problem is.

3. Shih Tzu Licking paw is not just a sign; the force is strong. The experts recommend the best diversion, like any interactive toys, chew toys, or anything that diverts your fluffy friend’s attention from licking. 

4. Anxiety: Create a relaxing routine with gentle walks, hugs, and relaxing music. Imagine your Shih Tzu enjoying a spa day, which would include a belly touch and an exquisite scent. Relieve itching: Oatmeal baths, mild shampoos, and sprays for sensitive skin can help relieve itching. Think of it as a cool oasis on hot, humid days.

2: Boredom or Stress

Have you ever come home to find that your Shih Tzu has turned into a miniature cleaning machine, diligently (and obsessively) licking your paws or fur? While we may laugh at their comedic focus, this excessive licking may be a sign of a bigger problem: boredom.

Imagine a precious puppy looking out the window and watching the world go by as their adventurous spirit craves action.​ Just like humans, boredom can lead Shih Tzus to seek entertainment, and unfortunately, sometimes their bodies are the target.

But don’t worry dear dog lovers: We can unlock their inner explorers and get rid of the boring blues.

1. Unleash your adventure: get rid of your routine walk and go on exciting new trails or smell the hidden treasures of the park.

2. Activate the mind: Invest in interactive toys or puzzle feeders to test their problem-solving abilities. Imagine the pride they will feel after conquering the difficult candy maker!

3. Gaming is boring; engage in energetic games of tug-of-war or hide-and-seek. Remember, a tired puppy is a happy (and less likely to lick) puppy!

4. Socialize your Shih Tzu: Set up playdates with other friendly dogs or enroll them in a dog daycare. Think of it as a furry social hour full of wagging tails and laughter.

5. Hug indoors; rainy days don’t have to be boring! Create an obstacle course or play an indoor quest with a ball launcher. Creativity is the key to tuning these thoughts 

3: Anxiety or Stress

Your Shih Tzu’s anxious tongue may be leaving more than just a trail of wet spots; it might also be leaving signs of a hidden fear. Stress and anxiety, the hidden thugs of canine happiness, can appear in unanticipated manners, such as excessive licking.

Why the stress, you ask? Imagine a world full of loud noises, unexpected people, and irregular routines—that’s how your Shih Tzu may see it. Loud rainstorms, separation anxiety, and even having a new pet in the house can all cause a stress reaction. How does their body react? Producing substances such as the hormone cortisol can result in the typical itch-and-lick cycle.

But do not worry, fellow dog lovers! Understanding the warning signs and taking action can help.

Signs to Watch For:

Shih Tzu Dog won't stop licking lips - MySweetShihTzu

Pacing, panting, and crying are signs of nervousness.

Excessive Licking: Not simply a routine cleaning, but Shih Tzu licking paws excessively, tummies, or even furniture.

Barking or destructive behavior: Vocal breakdowns or chewing might indicate stress and an attempt to escape.

Hiding or Clinging: Seeking protection or constant attention shows a need for comfort and stability.

Calming the storm:

Desensitization: Gradually expose your Shih Tzu to stress stimuli in a controlled manner, boosting confidence and lowering anxiety.

Safe Space: Create a nice safe space for your dog to escape to and relax in, complete with familiar smells and toys.

Routine and Exercise: Routine and physical exercise are effective for relieving stress. Maintain frequent walks and playtime activities.

Mental stimulation: activate their thoughts.

4: Dry Skin:

The Shih Tzu is famous for its plush coat, but what happens when that beautiful fur starts to dull, become dry, and become itchy? Do not worry, pet parents! We are going to talk about dry dogs licking skin raw and show you how to keep your pet’s coat healthy and happy.

You may be wondering what causes this dryness. Many criminals are hiding in plain sight.

Weather: Dry heat in the summer and cold winds in the winter can make your dog’s skin dry.

Food: Not getting enough important fatty acids can cause irritation and sleepiness.

Routines for bathing: Using harsh shampoos too often can strip away natural oils.

Underlying health issues like allergies, thyroid problems, and even bugs can result in dry skin.

Relax, though—there is a chance for soft, kissable fur to come back! Your fight plan is as follows:

1. Meal: Talk to your vet about giving your pet a meal high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Flaxseed oil, salmon, and sardines are all tasty ways to keep your coat healthy.

2. Keep your pet hydrated: Make sure it always has access to clean water. Keep that water bowl full because dehydration can make dryness worse.

3. When you bathe, use a shampoo made for sensitive skin that is gentle and moisturizes. We recommend oatmeal and aloe vera. Also, bathing less often (every 4 to 6 weeks) is very important.

4. Keep hair moist: Use a leave-in conditioner or spray after a bath. Think of it as giving your dog’s coat a spa treatment! On dry feet and faces, coconut oil or paw wax can be very beneficial.

5. Fix the real problems: If the dryness doesn’t go away, talk to your vet to make sure there aren’t any other health issues going on. Early discovery is highly recommended!

Shih Tzu Dog Lick - MySweetShihTzu

Some Other Health Concerns

Dental & Oral Issues:

While the smile of your Shih Tzu may warm your heart, what if their joyful licks transform into irrational, excessive conduct? Although allergies are often to blame, don’t forget that their teeth are also hurting. The cause of their perplexing licking may be dental or oral issues.

Consider this: 

Their mouth is a busy environment full of bacteria. While not brushing, plaque gathers and hardens into tartar, which is very bad for your small teeth. Tooth decay and gum disease are both caused by this bad guy, which means swelling, pain, and yes, licking.

But don’t worry, pet parents! Help is needed. Allow your Shih Tzu to smile more and lick less by following these steps:

1. Routine dental examinations: 

Consider it a day at the spa for their smile! Experts advise yearly checkups to identify issues early and prevent them from worsening.

2. Brushing is High: 

Similarly, cleaning your teeth every day is very important. Make it a fun time to bond with your dog by starting slowly and using a finger brush or toothpaste that is safe for dogs. Try gentle loops, praise, and maybe even a special chew toy as a treat!

3. What do you eat?

For better oral health and less plaque building, choose kibble. Try toothchews instead of sugary treats, which will make the problem worse.

4. Watching for alert signs: 

Warning signs include bad breath, darkened teeth, swollen gums, or trouble eating. Respond to these worries right away, before they become frantic licking.

Musculoskeletal and joint issues

Picture your Shih Tzu, who is generally a ball of fur and playfulness, suddenly pulling away, licking their legs, or stumbling. This behaviour change could indicate problems with the joint or muscles, causing pain and suffering. Don’t worry, paw-rent! You can assist your furry friend in finding comfort with a careful eye and the appropriate interventions.

Having pain in the joints:

Arthritis: Arthritis causes joint pain and wear and tear. Stiffness, stumbling, and trouble climbing stairs are all signs.

Hip dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a birth defect that can cause hip joint weakness and pain. One typical symptom is licking around the behind.

getting hurt or straining: These can cause muscle pain and discomfort, which leads to licking of the affected area, from fun tumbles to overexertion.

What to do:

It’s important to act quickly:

Consult your veterinarian: They will perform a full exam to diagnose the issue and suggest the best course of treatment.

Pain management: Medications or vitamins can help ease pain and make it easier to move around.

Care that is supportive

Keeping your weight at a healthy level eases the stress on your joints.

Changes to your diet: Some foods can help keep your joints healthy. Talk to your vet about giving your pet glucosamine and chondroitin.

Exercise: Going for slow walks and getting physical therapy can help you get stronger and more flexible.

Warm compresses: Applying a warm compress to tired muscles can help them feel better.

Bedding that supports: To improve your balance, buy a soft orthopedic bed.

Shih Tzu Lick soo Much - MySweetShihTzu

Internal Issues:

Many people think that puppy licking self too much because they have allergies, but don’t forget that internal problems can also make your animal friend very uncomfortable. Let’s look at some regular offenders and what we can do to help:

1. Stomach upset or feeling sick:

Signs: Lip-licking, eating too much, and licking things are all signs.

Intervention: Talk to your doctor to rule out any other possible reasons. To settle the stomach, they might suggest a simple diet, vitamins, or medicine. Don’t forget that a healthy gut makes a happy dog.

2. IBD, or inflammatory bowel disease:

Signs: The dog licks itself all the time, and it often has diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss.

Intervention: Work closely with your vet to determine what causes the condition and treat it with medicine, changes to the pet’s food, and supportive care. Every Shih Tzu should have a healthy intestinal system.

3. Diseases of the liver or kidneys:

Signs: Itching and pain that make you want to lick are common symptoms. Other symptoms may include greater thirst, urination, or tiredness.

Intervention:  Early detection and treatment are very important. Depending on how bad it is, your vet will suggest a personalized plan that may include medicine, changes to the pet’s food, and supportive care. Keep in mind that early help is very important!

4. The disease Cushing’s

Signs: include excessive thirst and urination, which can lead to licking around the groin area, as well as a bigger hunger, shortness of breath, and weak muscles.

Intervention: Medications are the basis of treatment, and your vet will keep a close eye on your Shih Tzu to make sure it is being cared for properly. Remember that many dogs with Cushing’s live happy lives if they get the right care.

5. Pain in the pancreas:

Symptoms: stomach pain, feeling sick to your stomach, dog won’t stop licking lips, often followed by puking, losing appetite, and feeling tired.

Intervention: This needs quick help from a veterinarian. Usually, treatment includes staying in the hospital, taking painkillers, and changing what you eat. Remember that acting quickly can make a big difference!

Neurological Causes:

If you observe a puppy licking himself too much, it may lead to allergies or other physical issues, but sometimes the issue is deeper in the brain. First, let’s look at three neurological causes and possible ways to make your pet friend feel better:

1. Discomfort or confusion after a seizure:

Think about how confused your Shih Tzu might be after having a seizure. They might lick their lips or paws to try to figure out where they are because they are lost and may be in pain. What’s good? This habit generally goes away on its own in a short time.

Interventions: Give them a safe place to rest and some soft encouragement. Stay away from loud noises and too much excitement, and if the licking doesn’t stop, talk to your vet to rule out any underlying issues.

2. Brain growth:

Though it doesn’t happen often, brain tumors can sometimes cause unwanted licking. A vet needs to address this serious issue right away.

Intervention: An early evaluation is very important. Seek quick medical care if you notice continuous licking along with other neurological signs like seizures, balance issues, or changes in vision or behavior.

3. Other conditions affecting the brain:

Licking can be a sign of health issues like vestibular disease, which makes it hard to keep your balance, or cognitive problems in older dogs.

Intervention: Take your pet to the vet for a full brain exam. Medication, dietary changes, or making the surroundings more pleasant may be used as treatments, depending on the condition.


In short, excessive licking in Shih Tzus can be caused by several underlying problems such as allergies, boredom, stress, skin infections, dry skin, dental/oral problems, musculoskeletal problems, internal health problems, and even neurological disorders. Understanding the signs and possible causes is critical for pets to effectively treat the underlying problem.

Treatment options vary depending on the specific problem, but may include veterinary consultation, medications, dietary changes, behavioral changes, environmental changes, and supportive care. . Regular monitoring and prompt intervention can help curb excessive licking and improve the overall well-being of Shih Tzus. If excessive licking persists or is accompanied by other related symptoms, it is recommended to seek professional veterinary care for proper diagnosis and treatment.

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my Shih Tzu constantly smacking his lips? 

There are many reasons why your dog may have a sore mouth. In most cases, however, this is due to poor dental health. Additionally, your dog may have a broken tooth, gum disease, an abscess, or even jaw cancer. However, some dogs are more prone to dental problems that cause lip smacking than others

Why do Shih Tzus frequently lick themselves and others?

Shih Tzus often engages in excessive licking due to various reasons such as anxiety, boredom, or seeking comfort.

What are common causes of excessive licking in Shih Tzus?

Common triggers include separation anxiety, boredom, allergies, dental pain, and certain medical conditions

Is licking a normal behavior for Shih Tzus?

While some licking can be considered natural grooming, excessive licking might indicate underlying issues like stress or health concerns.

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