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Acral Lick Dermatitis in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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The acral lick dermatitis in dogs is also known as acral granuloma or acral furunculosis. It is a chronic disease that can be produced by various causes, but all together. They all have something in common, the dog can not stop licking the affected area and this means that it can not be completely healed.

If you think that acral dermatitis by licking is the problem that affects your dog. Keep reading this complete article in which we explain the causes, symptoms, and treatment that should be applied to dogs suffering from this ailment.

Acral Lick Dermatitis In Dogs
All About Acral Lick Dermatitis In Dogs

So in this article, We provide all the information about Acral Dermatitis in dogs. Discover all about acral dermatitis in this article and do not forget to comment to share your case. Continue reading now…

What is Acral Dermatitis and How is it Produced?

Acral dermatitis usually begins with a bacterial infection. The presence of fungi, external parasites (mites or fleas), an allergy or different types of diseases. It can also develop from a stereotype or simple boredom.

From a wound or symptoms of discomfort in his dermis, the trigger, the dog begins to lick compulsively and tirelessly. Usually on a specific area of the body that is usually a leg.

Causes of Acral Lick Dermatitis In Dogs

When the cycle begins it is very difficult to stop. The dog feels relieved each time it licks the affected area since the wound secretes chemicals that produce pleasure and an analgesic sensation in its brain. If left untreated this situation can worsen and cause secondary problems such as infections.

Are there Dogs more Predisposed to Acral Dermatitis?

We could determine that dogs suffering from severe stress situations are more prone to acral granuloma. For example, Dogs that live in a kennel may suffer from this problem. However, some dog breeds seem to be more affected

  • Neapolitan Mastiff
  • Spanish Mastiff
  • Great Danish
  • German shepherd
  • Doberman pinscher
  • Labrador retriever
  • Golden retriever
  • others.

Symptoms of Acral Lick Dermatitis

It is not usually very difficult to detect acral dermatitis. If our dog suffers it will be very likely that we will surprise him by licking (and even nibbling) the affected area. With the passage of time, the area usually enlarges and hair loss, sores, ulcers, inflammation or hyperpigmentation may occur.

Symptoms of Acral Lick Dermatitis

Proper Diagnosis for Acral Lick Dermatitis

Before thinking about applying a treatment, we must be sure that it is about acral dermatitis and not trauma or a parasite infestation. For this reason, we recommend going to a specialist to help us analyze our specific case.

The veterinarian should analyze that. In fact, it is an acral granuloma for the following causes that are observed in the dog:

  • Concomitant pyoderma
  • Excessive Licking
  • Typical location

Once the disease is confirmed, the veterinarian must determine the cause that acral dermatitis has produced. Whether it is an ethological problem (behavioral and animal welfare problems), the presence of bacteria, yeast, mites, allergy … Only identifying correctly the cause that has produced dermatitis then we can start the treatment.

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Acral Lick Dermatitis treatment

To start treating the acral granuloma effectively, we must act on the cause that caused dermatitis. For example, bacterial infection should be treated with antibiotics, and an infestation by parasites with proper deworming.

The second step of the treatment will be to avoid the licking that the dog may cause in the wound. Generally, a collar or bandage is usually placed while maintaining constant supervision of the dog. We must try to avoid their discomfort and for this, to practice different activities is a good tool like training, long walks or games of intelligence are some examples to which we can resort.

Treatment for Acral Lick Dermetitis

On the other hand, we must act before the itching and discomfort for a quick recovery of the wound itself. The topical use of antiseptics and creams is recommended and our veterinarian will advise us the best for our case.

Finally, and if the problem is due to a behavioral cause. We recommend going to a professional such as canine ethologists or educators. Offering a healthy, positive and appropriate environment for the dog is usually enough but in some cases, we will need the advanced help of a professional.

How can we Prevent Dermatitis?

We must act mainly on the cause that originated the granuloma. Especially if it is a behavioral problem we must seek a substantial change in the life of our dog. Provide enrichment, exercise, obedience, games, and company are some proposals.

On the other hand, if it has been caused by the presence of parasites or bacteria. We should make sure to improve the hygienic and deworming routine of the dog.


Hence, you got all the details about acral lick dermatitis in dogs and how they cause in dogs. Along with the important symptoms and treatment to cure the disease in the dogs. We hope you like the article and willing to share it with friends and families at social media networks. Feel free to ask your questions in the comment box below. Stay tuned to Dogsfud for more awesome dog related stuff.

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