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Why Is My Dog Biting Herself?

You have guests at your house and suddenly you watch your dog biting herself. Things start to get really embarrassing. You then question why is my dog biting herself?

Well, we will answer just that in this article. You will also learn:

Why Is My Dog Biting Herself?

If your dog is suffering from allergies, parasite infestation, or even boredom, he can start biting himself. Dermatitis can also be a reason for self-biting in dogs. If your dog bites himself excessively, dry skin can be the reason. Biting and chewing are also signs of hormonal imbalance.

Let’s now get into the crux of the article and answer your question.

Food Allergies

Food allergy is one of the common reasons for an itchy dog. If they have a food allergy they will constantly chew and bite on their paw or tail area. If your dog does this, it means it’s time for you to change its diet.

According to Dr.Catherine Barnette, DVM at  VCA Hospitals, the most common foods dogs are allergic to are kangaroo, lamb, chicken, and beef meat, and other things like corn, soy, and wheat.

You will have to check for a few weeks if the allergy is from a particular food and then make the necessary changes in your dog’s diet. You can also check with a veterinarian

Apart from this, refrain from serving these 30 food items to your dog.

Fleas and Parasites

The most common reason for dogs to have itchy skin is parasites and fleas. Your dog itches and bites himself to get rid of the ticks, ear mites, and fleas. These parasites breed in warm and moist places thus, the area under the belly and the tail are a perfect breeding spot for them.

According to Dr. Tammy Hunter and Dr. Ernest Ward, flea allergy dermatitis is one of the most common causes of allergies in dogs that causes itching. When these fleas feed on the blood, they leave behind some amount of saliva on the dog’s skin. The antigens in the flea saliva then cause the itch in dogs.


If you do not provide your dog with enough mental stimulation, it is very likely that your dog will chew and bite himself. This occurs because your furry friend finds this as a way of releasing all the energy that is accumulated in him.

If this occurs too often, your dog may end up bruising and infecting his own skin causing further complications.

According to research, dogs are neophiliac, meaning that they seek novelty easily, therefore toys should be rotated for maximum enrichment – preferably with quieter activities mixed with high-energy ones.

Dog enrichment activity does not necessarily have to entail complicated puzzle toys, rather it must be fun for your dog and fit your dog’s particular needs in order to be helpful to his or her health and well-being.

Hormonal Imbalance

Hormonal imbalance can be caused by thyroid dysfunctions, low cortisol levels, or an imbalance in hormones related to reproductive functioning such as estrogen and androgen.

It can manifest as itching on the surface of your pet’s skin. According to Pet MD, alopecia, and dermatitis are two skin and hair disorders that are caused by an imbalance in your little pup’s hormonal levels.

Get this checked with a veterinarian for more information and detail.

External Pain

When dogs are experiencing any kind of external physical pain they are very likely to bite themselves. This is especially true when you try to touch that area causing them more discomfort and pain.

For dogs, biting and chewing on the area temporarily numbs the pain providing them with some relief.

A way to examine this is to look at the area that they are nibbling on. If it is near their paw then there is a possibility that they may step on a thorn or nail. If you observe this then you can check for the objects in their paws.

According to PetMD, sometimes compulsive chewing or liking can also be due to an underlying orthopedic condition like arthritis or hip dysplasia in dogs. AKC states that hip dysplasia is caused due to many reasons like genetics, improper nutrition, lack of exercise, and so on.


If your little pet strains or sprains its little leg playing or running around, it might tend to get sore. To deal with it your dog may constantly give that area more attention by chewing or biting it. Soreness may also occur due to features, injuries, dislocations, or ligament trauma.

If you see your dog suddenly limping, constantly chewing itself, or swelling in a particular area, you should talk to your vet immediately.

Psychological Reasons

If you do not shower your little pet with a lot of attention and do not spend time with them, they are likely to feel alone and depressed. To deal with this, they may start chewing on themselves to either get your attention or to deal with your lack of attention.

A study in Science showed that when pet owners looked into their pet’s eyes, the levels of oxytocin rose up to 130% in dogs and about 300% in humans. This just goes to show how much effect good quality time with your pet can have on both yours and the well-being of your pet.

Thus, make sure you spend quality time with your little canine pet so that they do not feel left out and depressed and they don’t end up chewing themselves due to lack of love.

Allergic Conditions

A variety of allergic conditions affect the skin and cause mild to severe itching, often chronic. Seeing your vet is the best way to identify whether an allergic disorder is causing problems. Contact dermatitis results from exposure to an environmental irritant and may leave your dog biting and chewing herself. Plants in the yard, cleaning products you use in your home and grooming products are likely culprits. Food allergies also cause itching. Your vet can help you design an exclusion diet to get to the bottom of possible food hypersensitivities. Seborrhea and other skin conditions are other causes of biting. Again, your vet can best advise you on managing the condition. He’ll usually recommend a specialty shampoo, fatty acid supplements and other remedies.

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