Why Do Dogs Lick Themselves After A Bath: An Explanation

Do you ever wonder why your furry friend licks themselves after a bath? It’s a common behavior among dogs, and there are a few reasons why they do it.

One reason is that they are trying to get rid of the unfamiliar scent of the shampoo you used on them. Another reason is that they may be experiencing skin irritation due to the new product, and licking helps to soothe the discomfort.

While it may seem strange to us, licking is a natural behavior for dogs. It’s a way for them to groom themselves and keep their fur clean. 

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs lick themselves after a bath to get rid of unfamiliar scents and soothe skin irritation.
  • Licking is a natural behavior for dogs and can help to ease anxiety or boredom.
  • If your dog is excessively licking, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue or boredom, and addressing the root cause is essential to prevent further health implications.

Understanding Why Dogs Lick

Why do dogs lick themselves after a bath?

Dogs are known to be avid lickers, and they have a variety of reasons for doing so. Some of these reasons are instinctual, while others are learned behaviors. Understanding why dogs lick themselves can help you better understand your furry friend’s behavior.

Instinctual Behavior

Dogs have a natural instinct to groom themselves. This behavior is rooted in their evolutionary past, where self-grooming was essential for survival in the wild.

Licking is a way for dogs to clean themselves and remove any dirt or debris from their fur. In addition, licking can help to stimulate blood flow and promote healing in areas that may be injured or infected.

Post-Bath Behavior

dog always licks herself after a bath

One of the most common times that dogs will lick themselves is after a bath. There are a few reasons why dogs may do this. First, licking can help to dry off their fur.

The action of licking stimulates the flow of saliva, which helps to remove excess water from their fur. This is especially important for dogs with longer hair or thick coats, as it can take longer for their fur to dry naturally.

Another reason why dogs may lick themselves after a bath is because of the scent of the shampoo or soap used during the bath. Some dogs may enjoy the taste of these products and will lick themselves to get a taste.

However, it is important to note that some shampoos and soaps can be harmful to dogs if ingested, so it is important to choose products that are safe for your furry friend.

Addressing Excessive Licking

If you notice your dog excessively licking themselves after a bath, it could be a sign of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Here are some steps you can take to address this behavior:

Veterinary Consultation

If your dog is licking themselves excessively after a bath, it could be a sign of a medical condition. Some medical conditions that can cause excessive licking include hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and trauma. It’s important to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any medical issues that may be causing your dog to lick excessively.

Your veterinarian may recommend a physical examination, blood tests, or other diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of your dog’s excessive licking. Once the underlying cause is identified, your veterinarian can recommend appropriate treatment options.

Behavioral Training

If your veterinarian rules out any medical issues, your dog’s excessive licking may be due to behavioral issues. In this case, behavioral training may be necessary to address the issue.

One way to address excessive licking behavior is to redirect your dog’s attention to a toy or treat when they start licking themselves. You can also provide your dog with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to help reduce their anxiety and stress levels.

Another option is to use a deterrent spray or collar to discourage your dog from licking themselves. These products can be effective, but it’s important to use them in conjunction with positive reinforcement training to ensure long-term success.

By consulting with your veterinarian and implementing behavioral training techniques, you can help address your dog’s excessive licking behavior and improve their overall well-being.

Health Implications

After a bath, it’s common for dogs to lick themselves. While this behavior may seem harmless, it can have health implications for your furry friend. In this section, we’ll discuss the potential skin conditions and allergies that can arise from excessive licking.

Skin Conditions

When dogs lick themselves excessively, it can lead to skin irritations and infections. The constant moisture on their skin can create a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast, which can cause a range of skin conditions, including:

  • Hot spots: These are red, moist, and itchy patches of skin that can become infected.
  • Acral lick dermatitis: This is a condition where a dog licks the same spot on their skin repeatedly, resulting in a thickened and ulcerated area.
  • Interdigital cysts: These are painful, fluid-filled cysts that can form between a dog’s toes.

If you notice your dog excessively licking themselves after a bath, it’s important to monitor their skin for any signs of irritation or infection. If you notice any issues, consult with your veterinarian for proper treatment.


Licking can also be a sign of allergies in dogs. Allergies can cause itching and discomfort, leading dogs to lick themselves as a way to alleviate the symptoms. Common allergens for dogs include:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold
  • Certain foods

If you suspect your dog is suffering from allergies, it’s important to take them to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. Your vet may recommend allergy testing or prescribe medication to help alleviate the symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do dogs go crazy after a bath?

Dogs may go crazy after a bath because they are trying to dry themselves off. They may also be feeling energized after the bath and want to play. Additionally, some dogs may not enjoy the sensation of being wet and are trying to shake off the water.

Why does my dog lick my other dog after a bath?

Dogs may lick each other after a bath because they are trying to remove the unfamiliar scent of shampoo. Licking can also be a way for dogs to bond and show affection towards each other.

Why do dogs lick themselves after peeing?

Dogs may lick themselves after peeing to clean themselves and remove any remaining urine scent. This behavior is natural and helps keep them clean.

Why do dogs lick after showering?

Dogs may lick after showering to remove any unfamiliar scents from the shampoo or conditioner. Licking can also be a way for dogs to groom themselves and stay clean.

Do dogs feel good after a bath?

Some dogs may feel good after a bath, especially if they have skin irritation or allergies. The warm water can help soothe their skin and make them feel more comfortable. However, not all dogs enjoy baths and may feel stressed or anxious during the process.

Are dogs supposed to lick themselves clean?

Dogs are capable of grooming themselves and keeping themselves clean through licking. However, it is important to ensure that they are not excessively licking themselves, as this can be a sign of an underlying medical issue or behavioral problem. It is also important to regularly bathe and groom your dog to maintain their hygiene.