Is your Dog always LICKING?

By Donna Stanley
In August 26, 2016

Is Your Dog Always Licking?

(A recent study has shown that ELS (Excessive licking of surfaces) is a telltale sign of gut disease in dogs.)

If your dog seems obsessed with licking objects…and themselves, they could have ELS, which is usually accompanied by inflamed skin, hot spots, and or acral lick dermatitis.

Veterinarians usually tell owners they have an obsessive-compulsive habit like OCD, but holistic veterinarians have known for years that animals that lick like this almost always have GI issues.

A recent Canadian study showed the ELS is indeed very often health-related rather than behavioral and that almost 75% of dogs with ELS has some form of GI disease. (University of Montreal Veterinary Teaching Hospital) Identified disorders included:

*Eosinophilic and/or lymphoplasmacytic infiltration of the GI tract

*Delayed gastric emptying

*Irritable bowel syndrome

*Chronic pancreatitis

*Gastric foreign body

*Giardiasis (Giardia)

Hopefully, these findings will motivate more conventional veterinarians to evaluate dogs with ELS for potential GI conditions rather than labeling them as behavioral. Hopefully, any pet parents reading this will consider a diet change and some simple supplements to resolve any and all GI issues.

When I come across a dog with GI disease, I always come from a holistic perspective and do not recommend drugs unless giardia is present, and in that case, recommend treating the pet with Metronidazole.

In my experience, the overuse of antibiotics and corticosteroids in veterinary medicine is the root cause of many GI issues.  Either that or it’s nutritional. And since most veterinarians only get a few hours of nutrition education in vet school, a change in diet is usually not even considered or is one of the last issues addressed.


I highly recommend, whether your pet has GI disorder or not, that you feed a species-appropriate, non-GMO food that is either raw/paleo diet or if a kibble, one that contains the least amount of allergens and includes GUARANTEED live probiotics in it. Life’s Abundance Grain-Free All Life Stages.

Or, better yet, I recommend a species-appropriate, anti-inflammatory diet.

Many people don’t realize the healing modalities also available to them in the form of things such as herbal and essential oils in assisting to create a healthy gut. These can create LONG-TERM change, and also provide good long-term solutions to many syndromes that are diet-related. Canine Digestive Blend.


We also have digestive blends for cats and horses!


  1. My lab mix, my sweet 8 1/2 yr. old (?) rescue, has been having digestive, licking, excessive panting and weight issues for years. We have gone to many Vets. trying to find
    out what the problem is and they couldn’t figure it out. Just last week, she wouldn’t eat her breakfast and then started to violently vomit. It came to the point where she
    couldn’t stand anymore, and just layed in the snow dry heaving. We took her to our Vet ASAP, and they ran BW which showed she was having an acute pancreatitis
    episode. Luckily, after IV in office and anti-nausea meds, we were able to take her home. They put her on antibiotics, Pepcid, anti-diarrhea meds. and RX dogfood which she ate for about a week but will no longer touch. We got a version of her Blue Buffalo with a lower fat and protein % and tried to wean her onto that but now she is eating grass on and off and won’t eat until evening. She is totally off of her meds and this is just not her. I just know this has been the problem all along and am just sick about it. I don’t
    trust these Vets. and I want so desperately to help my Bella. I don’t think I can do a raw diet for her, as I am disabled and would be worried I couldn’t keep up with it. I would appreciate any info. or suggestions you could give me. By the way, awesome article, I wish I would have known all of this info. about 6 yrs. ago. Better late than never, and again, I appreciate your help. Maybe this will be the start of a great 2017 for Bella. 😊

    Please feel free to email me directly.

    Happy New Year


    1. You may want to try our Digestive Blend…but it sound like stress to me too…perhaps add the “Anti-Anxiety blend”

    2. Sorry to hear you are going through this. I DO actually believe you can do a raw diet if you go with a really high quality commercial one. I only use and recommend B.A.R.F World’s multi-mix patties. Its Dr. Ian Billinghurst’s original recipe–the vet who did 40 years of research on raw. You’d love his book “Give your Dog a Bone.” Also, use coupon code #1079 to get 10% off, and also, if you use their autoship feature, you get another $25 off each order. Also, only feed about 1/2 of what is on the bag by weight as that would be for a highly active dog. By then you are down to a VERY affordable raw diet. Learn more here: (Start with the Lamb recipe) And I can tell you from experience, even with dogs with pancreatitis, they bounce back and make a full recovery if put on this diet alone.

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