Find out the possible causes of the behavior and what to do in these situations. Many tutors must have already witnessed their shih tzu spending several minutes licking their paw, scratching their ear compulsively, or biting a specific part of the body.
Know that these behaviors are very common to happen in shih tzu and the causes are varied. In addition to being uncomfortable for the shih tzu, the persistence of the behavior can also pose a danger to the shih tzu’s health, especially in the most serious and persistent cases.
Find out what could be the possible causes of these behaviors and what to do if your shih tzu exhibits one of them.
Possible causes of shih tzu licking and scratching compulsively
Allergies: Your shih tzu may have developed a skin irritation or dermatitis when coming into contact with a specific substance. The allergy can be a result of a food or environment.
Boredom and/or Anxiety: From boredom and anxiety the dog can develop an obsessive-compulsive disorder that manifests itself through incessant biting and licking.
Dry skin: A change in weather or a deficiency in fatty acids in the shih tzu’s diet (which help protect and moisturize the skin) can leave your shih tzu with dry skin. The animal may respond to discomfort by scratching the area.
Hormonal Imbalances: In cases of imbalance in the hormones produced by the thyroid or excess cortisol, the body can react with superficial skin infections, causing itching.
Pain: Excessive itching, licking, or biting can mean that your shih tzu is in pain in a certain part of the body. Check the spot the dog is focusing on to make sure there’s nothing wrong.
It is common, for example, for thorns to get caught between the fingers, and the bites are actually a way for the shih tzu to remove the object. Compulsive paw biting and licking can also indicate possible orthopedic problems.
Parasites: One of the most common causes of excessive biting and licking can come from the presence of parasites such as mites, fleas, and ticks.
Even if you can’t see it with the naked eye, as in the case of mites, or fleas that often go unnoticed, that doesn’t mean this isn’t a case of infestation.