Bored Dog Licking Penis or Health Issue

by Laurie Ragsdale
(Oldtown, Id, USA)

Reader Question: Dog Cleaning Penis and Anus

Hank is a German short-haired pointed, neutered and approximately 5+ year old (rescued). Within the last few months, Hank excessively cleans both his penis and his anus more than 20 times a day.

Hank goes on frequent walks (3x a day) and is able to spend time in a fenced in backyard; he is also a house dog. We live in a rural area, so Hank will sometimes ingest deer poop before we know what he is doing.

Is there a possibility of worms/parasites causing this issue?

Veterinarian Suggestion On Dog Penis Related Behavior


Because Hank’s behavior is a change from what has previously been normal for him, it is important to first rule out any medical causes for it. If he were my patient, I would want to perform a physical examination (including a digital rectal exam), urinalysis, fecal examination, and perhaps some blood work. Any problems that were revealed should be addressed and Hank’s behavior monitored to see if it returns to normal.

Once you are confident that Hank is healthy, you need to determine whether his behavior is significant enough to warrant intervention. Boredom can result in obsessive-compulsive type symptoms, and in these cases increased amounts of physical exercise and mental stimulation (e.g., food puzzles) can be a tremendous help. When lifestyle changes are not sufficient, medications will sometimes help reduce the anxiety that is at the root of many canine behavioral disorders.


Jennifer Coates, DVM

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