While it may be natural for a dog to lick a wound, it is not always helpful. In fact, excessive licking can cause further damage to the wound and even infection. According to PetPlace.com, a dog's mouth is not sterile, and licking can introduce harmful bacteria into a dog's wound or sore. Moreover, excessive licking can even slow down the healing process; therefore, it is essential to prevent your dog from licking its wound, and fortunately, there are a few ways in which to do so.
Apply a topical product to the area around the wound to prevent licking, suggests PetPlace.com. Place cayenne pepper, hot sauce or lemon juice to the fur around the wound; however, be careful to not let the substances touch the wound, as they may cause severe pain and, therefore, upset your pooch. Once your dog gets a taste of the unpleasant substance, it will likely avoid licking near the area. In addition, your veterinarian may carry prescription products designed to prevent licking, some of which are safe to use on the wound.
Cover the wound. If the wound is on the torso or abdomen areas, placing a shirt over the dog can be helpful. If the wound is located on the foot or leg, the dog could benefit from having a light bandage applied over the wound; however, the presence of a bandage encourages some dogs to bother the wound more, as they try to remove the bandage. Furthermore, some wounds require air to completely heal, so the use of a bandage would be contraindicated. Consult with your veterinarian as to whether this is an advisable prevention and, if so, how to apply the bandage.
Place a neck collar on the dog to prevent licking. Elizabethan collars, often called cone collars, resemble a lamp shade and make it practically impossible for a dog to reach a wound, as it surrounds the dog's head. While effective, Elizabethan collars are often uncomfortable and take a while to get used to, states Vetinfo.com. Roll collars, similar to a neck brace, sit only on the neck and prevent the dog from turning its head. This type of collar may also be helpful and more comfortable for the dog, as the collar doesn't surround the head, like the Elizabethan collar does. Many pet stores and veterinarians will carry these types of collars. Speak with your veterinarian as to which collar will work best on your dog.