Natural Remedies to Discourage Dogs from Licking After Surgery

Updated July 20, 2017

Pet owners are well aware that dogs normally like to lick–whether it's people, other dogs, the floor, or themselves. There are, however, times when you may not want your dog licking itself. One of these times is after surgery. There are simple and natural ways to remedy this desire in your canine.


The most popular method to keep your dog from licking itself after surgery is to fit a device around its neck. These devices are known as cones, lampshades, or e-collars. They are items promote the natural healing process, by allowing the wounds to heal untouched.

There are other methods which may also work, depending upon the particular dog and injury.

Bandaging The Wound:

Often times simply bandaging the wound will keep a dog from licking in that area. Some dogs will simply use their teeth to remove the bandage and begin to lick the wound. Dogs have also been known to pull the stitches out.

Making Your Dog Wear a T-shirt:

Depending on where the wound is located, a T-shirt can be pulled over your dogs head and front legs and worn over the body. This material stretches and can cover and protect a wound. Your dog may look silly, but if it keeps them from licking the wound as it heals it may be worth it.

Licking Repellent:

Pet stores sell flavoured sprays such as Sour Apple. These sprays can be used directly on a wound or on a bandage. You can also make your own versions of these sprays at home by using essential oils of sour apple or cinnamon. Additional repellent methods include rubbing the wound with bar soap and applying a cayenne pepper paste. Both could cause the skin to become irritated, so check with a veterinarian first.

Diet and Exercise:

Diet and exercise are effective in calming dogs and reducing licking. They are most effective in regards to general licking than for the licking that occurs after surgery.

Why is licking bad?

While it is natural for a dog to lick its wounds, after surgery it can be dangerous to do so. Licking can introduce bacteria into the healing area. Excessive licking may also damage the skin and prevent the wound from healing properly.


Owners should understand that their pet may have trouble eating and drinking while wearing the protective cone. This can often be remedied by elevating the dog’s food and water dishes. By observing your pet, you will insure that it has the best chance to get healthy and stay healthy.

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About the Author

Jimm Day has taught middle school language arts and history since 2000. He recieved a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Chico State and received his teaching credential in history from Eastern Washington University in Cheney, Wa. Prior to teaching, he spent time writing screenplays and was represented by agent David Phillips of Corner of the Sky Entertainment in Hollywood.