Should Dogs Lick Wounds To Heal Them?

Should Dogs Lick Wounds To Heal Them?

The instinct to lick oneself and one’s wounds is present in all dogs. As pet owners, we frequently ponder whether letting our dogs lick their wounds is advantageous or whether it can really slow down the healing process. In this post, we’ll examine the benefits and drawbacks of dogs licking wounds and talk about how to best treat their injuries.

The Instinct to Lick Wounds: A Natural Behavior

The Healing Power of Dog’s Saliva

Dog saliva contains certain proteins and enzymes with antibacterial capabilities that can help prevent the development of bacteria on wounds. Additionally, the chemicals in their saliva may help blood clot, which would stop bleeding from small wounds. These reasons have given rise to the notion that a dog’s lick can aid in the healing of wounds.

Potential Risks of Dogs Licking Wounds

Although there may be some advantages, it’s vital to think about the dangers of dogs licking wounds:

  • Bacteria Overview: Dogs’ mouths are home to a variety of bacteria, some of which can be dangerous. Dogs who lick their wounds too much may spread bacteria to the area, raising the risk of infection.
  • Continuous licking can thwart the development of a protective scab, delaying the healing of a wound. Additionally, it may keep the site moist, which fosters a bacterial growth-friendly environment and hinders the healing process.
  • Self-Inflicted Trauma: Excessive licking can result in self-inflicted trauma, where the dog licks the wound repeatedly, aggravating and damaging it. This may aggravate pain, delay healing, and necessitate medical attention.

Proper Wound Care for Dogs

First Aid for Minor Wounds

The following actions can be followed for minor wounds to encourage healing and stop infection:

Clean the Wound: A veterinarian may advise using a mild antiseptic solution to gently clean the wound. Debris is removed, and the danger of infection is decreased.

  • Apply a Pet-Safe Topical Treatment

Applying a pet-safe topical therapy will promote wound healing and deter licking. Speak with your veterinarian about the best topical pet care.

Protect the Wound: To stop the dog from biting or licking the area, cover the wound with a sterile bandage or an Elizabethan collar (sometimes called a cone).

  • Seeking Veterinary Assistance

It is critical to seek veterinary assistance in cases of severe wounds, significant lacerations, or wounds that exhibit infection symptoms. Professional wound care may involve suturing, disinfecting the wound while sedated, or dispensing antibiotics to treat or prevent infection.

  • Behavioral Management

It’s crucial to address the underlying causes of excessive licking. If a dog’s excessive licking is brought on by stress, anxiety, or boredom, behavioral management tactics like offering interesting toys, exercise, and mental stimulation can divert their focus and stop excessive licking.


Although dogs’ saliva does have certain advantageous qualities, it is typically advised to prevent dogs from licking wounds. The perceived advantages are outweighed by the possible hazards of introducing bacteria, delaying recovery, and inflicting self-inflicted harm. Your dog’s wounds will heal more effectively if you take the correct precautions, such as cleaning the area, applying topical medications, and covering it. You should also seek veterinarian help if necessary. For precise advice and treatment suggestions catered to your dog’s unique needs, always consult a veterinarian.

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