My Dog Keeps Licking her Private Area - All Possible Reasons

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: December 26, 2018
My Dog Keeps Licking her Private Area - All Possible Reasons

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Is your female dog licking her private area constantly? If this is the case and you want to know if it is a normal behavior or not, in this AnimalWised article we give you all the possible reasons why a female dog may be licking her genital area. We will also be telling you what to do in each case.

There are several causes that can lead a female dog to lick her vulva, some of which are normal, due to nature. Other reasons, however, can indicate the presence of a pathology or disease. For these latter cases, the dog usually shows other signs that one must pay attention to. If other symptoms are apparent, they must not be ignored and we suggest consulting a specialist as soon as possible. Keep reading to find out why your dog keeps licking her private area constantly, as well as what to do in this situation.

You may also be interested in: Why is My Dog Bleeding From Her Vagina?

Female dog licking genital area constantly

A female dog or bitch usually reaches sexual maturity between six months and their first year of age. This comes with the arrival of their first heat. This time phrase will, however, depend on their: age, breed and size. From this moment onward we may begin to notice new behaviors in our dog that were not previously present, like humping stuffed animals, blankets, other dogs or intense licking of her private parts. This behavior is normal and part of canine nature, but why? The answer is simple: to masturbate and give themselves pleasure.

Like women, bitches have a clitoris inside of their vulvas, an organ whose sole function is to give pleasure. Being located inside the vagina, we rarely see it, but some dogs do show it as a round and reddish bump. If we see this, we shouldn't worry. You should only alarmed if practically the whole clitoris of your dog is protruding through the vulva. In addition, if your dog’s vagina is swollen, irritated or presenting abnormalities: we suggest consulting a specialist as soon as possible.

Therefore, once a dog has experienced the pleasure of licking her vagina, which can be at any point in her life, it is completely normal to see her licking it often. This licking might last for a few seconds or minutes with intensity and your female dog might also emit a kind of moaning sound. However, if this action becomes habitual or compulsive, we recommend consulting a professional.

Dog licking vagina and won’t stop

In relation to the previous point, if we observe a female dog licking her genital area extensively and does it compulsively, it may be an indicator of stress. When a dog is stressed, they try to release tension through behaviors that, in many cases, can be misdiagnosed. In the case of female dogs, one of the ways to relieve tension, stress or anxiety is by licking the vagina. Thus, it is essential to identify the situation which is causing stress in your dog: to both avoid and solve the problem. If not enough attention is given and the dog's stress is not treated, this habit may end up becoming a stereotypy, in the end making it more difficult to treat[1].

On the other hand, another reason that may explain why your dog is licking her vagina with great intensity is a hormonal imbalance. Hormonal imbalances in dogs can also cause the development of stress, resulting in the aforementioned consequences. This happens in bitches that have not yet been sterilized. Therefore, if you suspect that your dog may be suffering from a hormonal imbalance, you will have to go to the vet to evaluate the option of having surgery.

My Dog Keeps Licking her Private Area - All Possible Reasons - Dog licking vagina and won’t stop

Dog licks vagina and there is pus

If your female dog licks her vagina and private area a lot and is also experiencing whitish or slightly yellowish discharge: she may be suffering a serious health problem. This problem that must be taken care of immediately! The most common diseases and conditions that present these symptoms are the following:

  • Pyometra (infection of the uterus)[2]
  • Matrix infection
  • Ovarian infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Wounds in the vagina and/or cervix

As already mentioned before, these are not the only pathologies that can provoke the secretion of pus from the vulva. In fact, almost any infection of a bitch's lower reproductive apparatus can present this symptom. We must however, make sure, that if we observe this behavior, we understand that the female dog is probably suffering from a canine vaginal infection. This infection needs to be diagnosed and treated by a professional.

Dog keeps licking private parts: swollen vulva

If we see that the vulva of the bitch is swollen, it is generally due to her estrus period. From the first phase of this stage, the dog's vulva increases in size and we begin to see her first bleeding, which causes her to lick her genital area constantly. Thus, if you notice this behavior during her heat period, you can be sure that this is the reason for both the licking and inflammation of her vagina.

However, if your dog is not presenting typical heat symptoms , but does show symptoms of;

  • increased urination
  • crying
  • loss of appetite
  • bad mood
  • inflammation of the dog's vulva
  • frequent vaginal licking

She is most likely suffering from a urinary tract infection. Symptoms such as the appearance of: vaginal tumors, cysts in the ovaries or other pathologies, can only be diagnosed by a specialist. Therefore, if you suspect that this may be the reason for your dog licking her genital area, do not hesitate to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.

My Dog Keeps Licking her Private Area - All Possible Reasons - Dog keeps licking private parts: swollen vulva

My dog keeps licking her private area - What do I do?

Depending on the causes which are making your female dog lick her private area, treatment will differ. Thus, if it is a case of masturbation, there is no need for treatment, as it is an instinctual action for female dogs. As we said, it is something natural and physiological that does not cause any harm. However, remember, if you believe that this licking behavior is becoming compulsive, consult a professional.

If the reason your female dog licking her vagina is due to stress, you need to find out where the stress is stemming from and eradicate it. In doing so, you will notice how this licking behavior should slowly subside.

If you believe that your dog is licking her private area due to hormonal imbalances or health problems: we suggest consulting your veterinarian immediately. A veterinarian will be able to determine the exact cause and the best treatment for this problem.

My Dog Keeps Licking her Private Area - All Possible Reasons - My dog keeps licking her private area - What do I do?

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to My Dog Keeps Licking her Private Area - All Possible Reasons, we recommend you visit our Other health problems category.


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Azul Ruiz
My male bullmasive is an ok see dog , and he constantly looks at his but, and starts licking it. I say about every 20 min bot so.
Had my fur baby spayed about 6 mos ago,all went well! Dixie, 5 yr old Maltese, prior to surgery Never Licked her private area (even tho its common and normal to a degree, she just DID NOT DO IT) unless going into heat and/or during heat. Well, ever since being spayed, she compulsively licks herself!! Total change in this behavior! Help!
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Pam,

We cannot diagnose your animal, only a vet can do this. Have you considered the possibilities mentioned in the article? Are there any which might seem feasible in your dog's situation? It is designed to give you an idea, but if you are worried there is a serious problem, then the vet is the answer.
My 8 month old Shi tzu has been licking her privates for about a week now and it's pretty swollen but no pus. Her eyes however, are releasing an amount of mucus, don't know if its related. Unsure of whether it's just her first heat period or infection of some sort.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Brianna,

Shih Tzu dogs are particularly prone to eye infections. If they have pus coming from their eyes, this is what is likely the problem. However, we cannot give an accurate diagnosis, only a veterinary health professional can do this. They are also the only ones who can prescribe the right medication (likely antibiotics). The licking of her privates may or may not be related, but if one infection exists, it is possible for it to spread. Please take your dog to a vet if you want them treated.
Shirley Jean
Our 9 month old golden mountain berniedoodle has been licking her private area lots in the past few day and she has been spaded in April
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Shirely,

This is not uncommon for a dog to be licking after being spayed (some dogs will also lick more out of personal preference). However, if you feel there may be an underlying health concern, please seek a vet for advice as only they will be able to run the appropriate tests or achieve the right diagnosis.
My German shepherd is about to start her 3rd heat this month and she keeps licking but no blood or swelling. Does this mean she about to start or something
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Victoria,

We are unsure of your question. You said she is about to start her 3rd heat period and then asked is she about to start. Do you mean is it imminent? If so, it is certainly possible as it is common for dogs to lick this area due to the swelling caused by heat. However, it is important to look to see if any of the other symptoms present in case there are any other possible reasons. Check with the points in the article and, as always, visit a vet if you are unsure.
Malea Mcknight
My 7yr. Old chihuahua is always licking her private area and has a little bit of an oder, also if I try to pick her up she yelps like it hurts, she also walks kind of funny with her back sort of hunched but her butt seems to be tucked down, should this be a concern because I'm a little worried ,please help
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Malea

If your dog is in pain we suggest visiting your veterinarian as soon as possible to find out what is the problem and treat it accordingly!


M.E. Dillon
Her anal sac may be full and needs to be expressed. If this is the case and it is not soon done it could lead to an abcess which will require surgery. My Chihuahua has already gone through this. We now have her anal sac checked and expressed every couple of months. Very important.
Maria Joseph
My 4 year old chiwawa is in her estrus period. She is not eating as much. Is this normal? She just smells her food then walk away. Then later on she will eventually comes back later and eat. Please advice. Thank you
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Maria

It is completely normal for a dog in heat to experience either an increase or decrease in appetite. If for whatever reason you believe it is a problem, we recommend taking her to the vet.


Eileen Caraccia
My Maltese she is nine years old and has been spaded she keeps licking her private part and I had a urine test done and it came back fine what could be the problem and how can I stop at during turn around put them on the back turn her around
Alice Tapiol Breeze (AnimalWised editor)
Hi Eileen,
How long ago was she spayed? Have you made sure there is no pus or the vulva is swollen? There are other reasons apart from a urinary infection that may be causing your dog to lick her private area, so you should ask the vet for a closer look at her so you can determine the cause.

Hope this helps and best wishes.

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