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Bichons Frises, like many dog breeds, are prone to biting their paws and licking themselves a lot. This usually isn’t cause for concern – a small burst of biting or licking is normal. But what if you notice that your dog is biting and licking itself excessively?
For owners of beloved furry friends, it is often hard to know what is classed as normal, especially when things vary so much from breed to breed. So it’s important to do all the necessary research to figure out exactly why your Bichon Frise is biting himself.
Should You Take Your Bichon Frise to a Vet If It’s Biting Itself?
In most dog breeds, a sudden burst of biting their paws or elsewhere on their body is usually just a sign that they’re itchy. They can’t always reach their itches with their paws, so a nibble or a lick is an easy way to resolve the discomfort.
However, if you start to notice that your Bichon Frise is biting itself more than usual, or very suddenly, then you might need to pay a bit more attention. The first thing to do is to check the area where they’re biting for any visible causes of irritation. If you can’t see any, then it is time to call the vet.
Alternatively, if your Bichon Frise has bitten themselves so extremely that they’ve pulled out fur or that they’ve developed an infection or irritation of some sort, you should definitely get the site seen by a vet to reduce the risk of any further issues.
Why Do Bichons Frises Bite Their Paws?
There are six typical reasons why bichons frises and other dogs bit their paws.
1. Allergic Reactions
Just like humans, dogs can and often do develop allergies and sensitive skin. Bichons Frises are especially prone to these, and so often they bite their paws and the rest of their body to relieve itchiness after coming into contact with an allergen.
It is important to note when you notice your Bichon itching, and see if you can find any patterns in the places you have been or things they might have been in contact with. They might also sneeze or cough, so keep an eye out for that too.
2. Build Up Under the Fur
Since Bichons Frises are hypoallergenic, their fur catches dander and moisture. That means that if left without a bath for a long period of time, there can be a build-up of dander, bacteria, and moisture which can cause irritation for your Bichon Frise.
This means that they will then experience discomfort, redness, and itchiness, and will subsequently chew their paws more. If they do start to do this, it can lead to cuts in the skin, which could lead to further problems.
You might also notice that your Bichon Frise has red or inflamed paws, that they are rubbing their paws on the floor, or that there is an odor coming from their paws/wherever they are licking and biting.
3. Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks are a known problem among furry friend owners. They are parasites that attach themselves to your pet and then cause inflammation, and itchiness and can also cause pain in some places. It is likely that your Bichon Frise would be chewing at the area around a tick or flea in order to relieve some of the discomforts.
When you check over the area where your dog is itching, you will be able to spot fleas or a tick fairly easily using a torch. You might also notice that your pet smells or is inflamed around the area that they’ve been itching.
Bichons are relatively intelligent dogs and so they need quite a bit of mental and physical stimulation. Without it, they are likely to get bored and this might lead to them chewing themselves. It is very similar to when we pick at our nails!
Being left alone a lot or being given insufficient exercise may lead to your pet biting themselves, which can develop into a soothing or obsessive behavior if not stopped. You will likely also notice that your Bichon Frise is whining or crying more, they are more destructive than usual or they are showing disinterest in their toys.
Bichon Frises are prone to anxiety and stress, and when they feel this way they may well turn to chewing as a way to relieve the tension they are feeling. This can cause irritation and sore, inflamed skin.
If your Bichon Frise is crying, whining, or whimpering when you leave, is suddenly not toilet trained, shaking, pacing, or acting nervously, then it is possible that they are experiencing separation anxiety. It is likely that much of this behavior will occur when you are away, too.
6. Food Issues
Many pet owners aren’t aware that certain ingredients in dog foods can cause rash and itchiness, such as grain.
If your dog is having an issue with their food, you will likely notice that they are biting their paws or skin, itching their ears, refusing to eat, vomiting or experiencing diarrhea, whining, and may have dry skin.
Why Do Bichons Frises Lick Their Bottoms?
Most dogs will lick their bottoms as part of their regular grooming. It is relatively normal and is their instinctive, natural way to ensure that they are clean. But sometimes, this usual licking can change to something more obsessive or excessive – that is when it is cause for concern.
If your Bichon Frise is licking their bottom much more than usual, it could be a sign of an anal gland issue. This could be that they have an impaction or an infection, and they might also scoot themselves across the floor to soothe the pain and itchiness that come with this.
Alternatively, your Bichon Frise might have a skin infection around the anal area. Fungal and bacterial infections are common, especially when the skin is damaged, and then each bowel movement will worsen the discomfort. They may lick at this to attempt to soothe said discomfort.
Your Bichon Frise may also be licking their bottom as a result of having whipworms, tapeworms, or roundworms. These can come out in the dog’s feces if they have an infection and can cause discomfort around the anus.
Why Could Your Bichon Frise Be Licking Other Parts of Its Body?
If your Bichon Frise is licking other areas of their body, it may just be grooming or a calming behavior, both of which are common within the breed. But if you notice that they are licking their body excessively or obsessively, it is worth taking a look at the site.
Check the area for fleas, cuts, irritation, or ticks, and handle any issues there. If you need to, take your Bichon Frise to the vets. If there are no issues, book a vet appointment to discuss the possibility of an emotional cause such as anxiety or frustration.
4 Things to Do If Your Bichon Frise Is Licking and Biting Itself Too Much
If you think your dog is licking itself too much, here’s five things you can do.
1. Redirect with Training
If you notice that your dog chews themselves when bored, redirect that behavior with regular training. Each time they go to chew their paws, instruct them otherwise and offer a reward when they listen to the command.
2. Keep Them Stimulated
If your Bichon Frise bites or licks out of boredom, keep them constantly stimulated and well-exercised. Regular walks, enrichment toys, and plenty of playtimes will help to ensure that they are not bored.
3. Regularly Check Them
When it comes to fleas and ticks, regular treatment and checks can really help to ensure that your furry friend isn’t struggling for any length of time. Monthly flea and tick serums can work wonders to prevent the critters from attaching to your dog.
4. Avoid Allergens
Once you spot a pattern in your Bichon’s itchiness, try to avoid the items that you determined to be allergens. This will help to avoid the discomfort for your Bichon and subsequently will reduce how much they lick and itch themselves.
If your Bichon Frise occasionally itches by biting or licking their paws, bottom, or body, it’s not a big deal.
But if that behavior suddenly becomes more prevalent, or if you notice that they suddenly start to do it, then it is worth checking them over. Ensure they are not subjected to allergens, keep them busy, and if need be, visit the vet for a check-up.
After all, better safe than sorry.