Dog Licking Its Crotch – What Does It Mean and What to Do?

Dogs can be a source of amusement most of the time. However, they can also be a source of embarrassment when they start doing weird things. Among the weird things include licking their privates. It’s not only embarrassing, but it also seems disgusting. Thus, many pet owners wonder about it.

You may see your dog licking its crotch, but what does it mean and what to do?

A dog licks its crotch primarily because of grooming purposes. Thus, it may mean your pet is cleaning the area since it itches or is dirty. Another reason is that it causes irritation and other complications. For this reason, consulting a vet would be necessary if the licking persists.

In the canine world, moderate licking is a typical part of grooming. Thus, a dog that licks his crotch usually means it’s cleaning the area. However, if the licking doesn’t stop, it can mean irritation. In this article, we’ll tackle everything you need to know about this behavior, and how to deal with it.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Why does my dog keep licking his crotch?

If your dog keeps on licking his crotch, it’s not something to worry about for your pet. It’s his way to clean his genitals, especially if it itches.

While it seems disgusting, licking is their way to clean their body parts, and even cats do it too.  In fact, both animals do quite a bit of licking to clean themselves.

Of course, it would be a different case if your dog continues to do so for days. If you see your pet continue licking his crotch, you may want to check it yourself.

Constant licking can mean that your pet may be suffering from rashes or fleas.

Another thing is that dogs may lick their genitals due to health complications. Take a look at the following issues.

Urinary Tract Infection

Bladder infections can be quite common for dogs. Thus, it’s one of the main causes of excessive licking. The great thing is that such a complication comes from bacteria that usually respond to treatment with antibiotics.

Thus, it’s an issue solvable by a variety of antibiotics. Additional supplements and special diets may help your pet deal with this kind of complication.


Another reason why your dog may lick his crotch is due to allergy. Some allergies get triggered in many ways, and it may cause itching in the genitals. Among the usual reasons are food allergy, or even inhalant allergies.

Food allergies get triggered when your pet takes in food with allergic ingredients. Such an issue is solvable by giving your pet a unique hypoallergenic diet.

In general, both food and inhalant allergies need medical therapy. It also needs avoidance therapy for prevention.

Skin Infection

Skin infections can also lead to excessive itching, forcing your dog to lick the area.

Such an infection is quite noticeable by the presence of pustules or red bumps. It also indicates a bacterial infection and requires antibiotic therapy.

Anal Gland Impaction

Anal gland impaction often leads to infection. Thus, it usually forms an abscess that ruptures the skin to the outside area.

Such infections need treatment with both topical and oral antibiotics. Still, you can help your pet by relieving discomfort using warm water and pain medication.

Is it different when a female and male dog lick their crotch?

Both male and female dogs lick their crotch for grooming purposes. Thus, they don’t differ in intentions when they lick those areas.

While it may seem gross and embarrassing, it’s their way of cleaning their genitals.

As I said earlier, moderate licking is a typical part of grooming. Thus, a dog that licks his crotch usually means it’s cleaning the area.

Of course, if the licking doesn’t stop, it can mean a different thing. It can be a sign of infection or an underlying health complication.

Still, regardless of the gender, dogs would lick their crotch since it’s their way of grooming themselves.

licking dog

Should you stop your dog from licking its crotch?

Although it’s embarrassing for us to have our pets lick their crotch, it’s not something we should stop.

Dogs lick their crotch primarily because they find it either dirty or itchy. Thus, if you stop your pet, it may feel uncomfortable. Or, if it’s due to rashes, it may get worse.

Instead of stopping your dog from licking, you may want to get closer and have a good look at the area. If there’s any rash or redness, then contact a vet immediately and have your pet checked.

Constant licking of the genital area may be a sign of a medical problem. Thus, you need to check your pet for the following symptoms.

  • Swollen penis, vulva, or anus
  • Pustules or red bumps on the skin
  • Skin discoloration
  • Straining to urinate
  • Frequent urination than usual
  • Rubbing or scooting the area on the ground
  • Foul odor between eliminations
  • Presence of discharge

If you see any of the following symptoms, it would be best to contact a vet immediately.

Do puppies also lick their crotch?

Like adult dogs, puppies may also lick their crotch, and it’s for the same reason. Crotch licking is a part of the self-care of dogs.

While it’s the usual case, it can also happen that dogs would do so as an effect of an underlying health problem. If it’s for grooming purposes, it should only take a few licks.

However, if your puppy continues to lick the area even after a few days, then it may be something else. If so, it would be best to consult a vet and have your puppy checked.


It may seem gross and embarrassing for us to see our dogs lick their crotch. However, it’s a part of their grooming and they will do so now and then.

Still, it’s not something to tolerate if it continues for days. As much as it can be a simple grooming behavior, it can also be a sign of a complication. Thus, if you notice your pet continues to lick excessively, you may want to observe the area.

If you think something is bothering your pet, it would be best to contact a vet. This way, your pet will receive proper care and treatment.


Image credits – Canva

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