Why Is My Golden Retriever Crying And What To Do About It
If you love your Golden Retriever, then theres nothing more heartbreaking than listening to its forlorn cries get louder and louder. It can be really hard and frustrating not knowing what your dog is trying to communicate to you and how to correctly handle your dogs whining to get it to stop and help them be happy and healthy. Here are 7 reasons your Golden Retriever might be whining.
When To See A Veterinarian
Vet visits can be very expensive so to avoid burning a hole in your pocket you can start by ruling out some of these causes. Looking for stressors, giving your dog water, looking for patches of itchy skin, or looking in their mouth for material that could cause irritation are great places to start. However, if the behavior continues and you can’t solve the problem yourself your next step should be to take them to the vet.
It can be helpful for your vet if you videotape them licking their lips or the air. You should also log how often they do it and what the circumstances are like if you had company over when they were licking the air or if you had just finished a walk. Dont put off going to the vet for too long. The quicker the problem is taken care of the better.
Is My Goldens Bad Behavior Just Because Theyre A Puppy
Theres no question about it, golden retriever puppies can be a little on the naughty side.
For one, they dont know right from wrong yet.
They dont know that theyre not supposed to pee in the house, or what theyre not supposed to chew.
You have to kindly and patiently teach them what you want them to do.
Puppies also love to have fun.
Of course, your idea of fun and their idea of it might be completely different
Chase is one of most puppies favorite games and if they grab your socks and you chase them, thatll encourage them to keep doing it.
This goes back to the, what are you reinforcing? question.
Be sure to not give in to their games and accidentally reinforce bad behavior like stealing socks.
Another thing is puppy biting.
Puppy biting is actually very important for their development, so even though it seems like bad behavior to us, its actually necessary.
When they bite its not that theyre being aggressive, its just that theyre puppies and its what they do.
Eventually, your puppy will stop biting around four months old, then theyll get into their rebellious teenage years, then theyll finally calm down around two to three years old.
You can learn more about the golden retriever puppy timeline here.
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When Should I Worry About My Dogs Paw Licking
Its totally normal for your dog to lick their paws occasionally as normal self-grooming, especially after a muddy walk or whenever their paws might be dirty. However, licking paws excessively is cause for concern and can indicate a number of health issues which should be addressed quickly, before the licking behavior causes a hot spot or skin infection between the toes.
Look out for these signs of harmful paw licking:
- Lick granulomas or hot spots extreme licking can cause these painful lesions, which often result in a secondary infection
- Limping can indicate a wound or foreign object in the affected paw
- Paw chewing chewing feet beyond normal grooming habits
- Red and irritated skin particularly paws red between toes
- Bleeding paws licking paws until they bleed is a red flag
Any of these symptoms require further attention and possibly a vet visit!
Bailey was licking her paws all the time, making them red and inflamed, until her mom tried Paw Soother.
What Else Can I Try To Prevent My Dog From Licking His Paws
Besides the ideas we already suggested , you can have your dog wear an Elizabethan collar or cone to prevent him from licking. Play with your dog frequently to keep them distracted to avoid boredom. If their mind is occupied, they will be less likely to develop obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
If you see symptoms such as inflammation, bleeding, redness, and pain in the area, do not hesitate and take the dog to the vet as soon as possible to address the issue.
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The Root Of The Behavior
Sometimes, we need to discover when something is wrong with our dog by observing their daily activities. If your dog is chewing on their paws, there is a valid reason for it and most times, that reason is because of pain or discomfort. Depending on the breed of dog you have and your dogs sensitivity level, there may be different reasons for it. Firstly, allergic skin disease may be the most common reason dogs create a chewing habit and secondary infections from that disease as well as yeast bacteria will contribute to their discomfort. Sammy may chew and lick his paws because of a basic allergic reaction but his habit may continue because it feels good on his paws. In fact, his habit can become obsessive until his pain dissolves. Sometimes, your dogs discomfort also comes from lick granulomas, which is a wound caused by constant licking of the feet and lower limbs. Dogs may also chew on their paws because they are bothered by foreign items that are stuck in their paw, a wound, or they have a fractured claw or toe.
Rover Has A Hormone Imbalance
When a dog doesnt produce the required thyroid hormones in cases of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism it can result in hair thinning, shedding and loss.
Dogs are more likely to lick exposed skin which results in more common lick granulomas.
Lick granulomas can become large in size and appear like open wounds. Whilst a dogs instinct is to lick a wound, and we know their saliva has antibacterial properties that can aid healing, there is fine line between allowing them to keep a wound clean and actually making it worse.
In consultation with your veterinarian, it is often best to keep a lick granuloma covered so it can heal.
Often when the hormone imbalance is treated, licking behavior will stop.
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So Why Do Dogs Lick In The First Place
Letâs start with the most basic behavior, grooming. Youâve probably noticed your dog licking their paws before a snooze on the sofa, and thatâs completely normal. When this behavior intensifies, thatâs a problem, and the cause is often environmental.
âThe most common cause of paw licking is generally environmental allergies, also called atopic dermatitis,â explains Dr. Flynn. âOther causes of licking paws can include ectopic parasites such as fleas or mites, referred pain from arthritisâlicking the feet or limbs since they canât reach the painful joint.â
The good news here is that many of the causes of a dogâs paw licking can be resolved at home, and those that canât often are treatable with the help of allergy medications prescribed by your vet.
When To Consult The Veterinarian
As Gomez shares, you will want to immediately consult a veterinarian if your dogs incessant paw-licking is causing a break in their skin.
Dr. Stephanie Austin, DVM, a veterinarian in NYC and advisor/contributor to Dog Spotted adds, It is not abnormal for a dog to lick their paws when grooming. However, this shouldnt be excessive, but rather once or twice a day . Dr. Austin clarifies that the following licking behaviors warrant a vet consult:
- One paw excessively
- A particular area on the paw
- Their paws multiple times a day
- After a pet parent has told their pet to stop multiple times
These are all reasons to have pet seen by a veterinarian, Dr. Austin adds. Additionally, if you notice that the skin is red between the paw pads, see saliva staining , or you see a particular wound, these would also be reasons to have your pet evaluated by a veterinarian for paw-licking.
Next up, experts dissect why dogs have a tendency to eat poop.
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Is It Normal For My Dog To Lick His Paws
First of all, you should know that its normal for your dog to lick his paws now and then. However, when it seems that its the only activity theyre interested in, it’s time to get a check-up at the vet’s office. This is because there may be an underlying problem.
A few things to look out for when this behavior starts: Did it begin suddenly and has continued for an extended period? Is there bleeding, swelling, or limping? Is there any odor? Be sure to tell your vet about everything youve observed so she can give the most accurate diagnosis.
One of the main reasons to go to the vets office as soon as possible is that behaviors like these tend to become obsessive. Your dog may become addicted to licking his paws, and then it will be a habit thats difficult to eradicate. In addition, excessive licking can cause light-colored dogs to stain their fur, and the moisture can create the ideal setting for infections.
If your dog’s paw gets inflamed and infected, it will itch even more, causing more discomfort and licking. It’s an endless cycle that will impair the healing process.
Your Dog Has Fleas Or Ticks
Tick infestation is a growing problem in the US and UK with dogs at risk who walk frequently in areas with lots of wildlife .
Not only can some dogs be allergic to fleas and ticks, the irritation caused by an attached flea or tick can cause a dog to lick themselves. The saliva of fleas or ticks causes an immune mediated response which results in an itch sensation.
Your dog will either scratch or lick the site firstly in a hope to remove the pest and secondly in a hope to soothe the area. Even as humans, as much as we know we shouldnt scratch a bite we all know how satisfying it is.
Use flea and tick repellents on your dog and if you notice him scratching or licking himself more often than usual, check his coat with a flea comb.
Keep you home flea and tick free with regular vacuuming and frequently wash soft furnishings and rugs.
If you are concerned your dog has a serious flea or tick infestation seek advice from your veterinarian.
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Your Golden Retriever Is Showing You Affection
When your Golden Retriever licks you he is showing you affection. This is probably the most common reason that we think about when wondering why our dogs lick us. It was also the most common answer I got from owners when I asked them for reasons why they thought their dog licked them.
Just like we give kisses as a show of affection our dogs give licks! It stems all the way back to their puppyhood.
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Like we talked about earlier mothers lick their puppies to show them love and affection so your dog has learned that this is one way to show you he loves and cares for you. When your Golden Retriever licks you it could be a sign that he is trying to groom you, which is also a form of affection and care.
Your Golden Retriever Is Stressed Or Anxious
You will be able to tell if your Golden Retriever is stressed by paying close attention to his body language. If you notice your dog has whale eyes , tucked ears, tucked tail, and a lot of lip-licking this is is a sign of stress. Your Golden Retriever may start to lick as a coping mechanism in order to calm himself down.
Licking can be very self-soothing to dogs, it releases chemicals called endorphins that trigger a positive feeling and lowers stress. Some Golden Retriever owners told me that their dogs like to lick themselves before curling up in a ball to go to sleep it was somewhat of a ritual to them and it seemed to help them calm and fall asleep more quickly. Licking may also remind them of when they were young and their mother licked them a lot. It brings them to a place of comfort and calm.
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Upset Stomach/ Gi Issue
Any pain or issues your dog is having with their digestive system can also cause a dog to lick the air. Sometimes a dog will lick their lips or the air before they vomit so this can be a good warning sign for you especially when accompanied with other unusual behavior like drooling and panting.
An inflamed esophagus can be caused by food allergies, certain medications, or too much acidic stomach fluid. This can make it hard for your dog to swallow and can cause them to start licking the air.
Any problems with their intestines could cause itchiness and pain for you dog. Intestinal blockage and intestinal infections arent common problems dogs have but should be looked at if accompanied by pain in their abdomen, a decrease in appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Many intestinal infections are due to parasites.
Pancreatitis can also cause digestive problems. The pancreas produces digestive enzymes that help the dog digest its food and it also produces insulin which helps with their energy. Symptoms of pancreatitis include a swollen abdomen, lack of energy, arched back, diarrhea, and restlessness.
Take A Trip To The Vet
This tip is naturally a given, as the professionals are always the best to seek advice from. If your golden retriever seems to be itching a lot, and it doesnt seem to be letting up, you should probably take a trip to your pups veterinarian.
Your vet can take a look at your golden and conduct tests to see whats the culprit of all that scratching. Veterinarians can conduct blood tests, skin tests, and even allergy tests to really zero down on whats causing the issue.
They can also, of course, prescribe any necessary medications for your golden retriever and treat any issues with other remedies.
According to Henry Cervy, DVM, your veterinarian may treat skin allergies and issues with some of the following methods and medications:
- Medicated rinses, shampoos and conditioners
Your veterinarian will be your biggest help in figuring out how to properly treat any bad skin patches, rashes, skin discoloration, or just skin allergies in general for your golden retriever.
Vet visits can get expensive, and different tests and medications can add up. Thats one of the reasons why its so important to keep an eye on your golden to see if you can glean more information about what might be a trigger to his or her scratching.
You may be able to eliminate the problem yourself , but you may also be able to help your vet figure out whats wrong more quickly and with less testing .
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Special Concern Related To Paw Licking: Lick Granuloma
A lick granuloma is a potential concern caused by excessive licking in dogs. Lick granulomas are caused by repeated licking, causing skin irritation. Lick granulomas are a stubborn disease, different from hot spots.
If you have any concerns about your dogs paw licking, especially if it is sudden, excessive and persists for a long time, it is important you contact your veterinarian. You know your dog best and are in the best position to identify an abnormality. Paw licking can lead to a serious condition, so dont hesitate to contact your vet if you suspect your dog has an underlying condition or home remedies are not effective.
Has your dog experienced excessive paw licking? Were you able to get the condition resolved? Please share your experience with the rest of the Canine Campus community by leaving a comment below
Environmental Allergies And Triggers
Just like you, your golden retriever can develop allergies from things in the environment. Likewise, things in your goldens environment can be a trigger of allergic reactions. Excessive scratching can be a side effect of environmental allergies your dog is around.
Environmental allergies and triggers can be a large number of things because of that, it may be harder to narrow down exactly which environmental factor is causing your golden retriever to itch so much.
Environmental allergies or allergy triggers could include:
- Household cleaners
Your golden retriever could be having an adverse reaction to any of these environmental factors, causing her or him to scratch excessively.
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Your Golden Retriever Has Separation Anxiety
How to Tell: Constantly jumps and whines for you to touch them pet them or cuddle them. Cries or howls when you leave them alone destroys things when you are gone, is overly excited when you return.
Ask Yourself: How much exercise has my dog had today. How long have I been gone? Have I trained my dog to be ok without being near me every hour of the day?
What to do: You need to teach your dog that its not a big deal when you leave. When you leave, make it subtle and no fussing or kisses goodbye. Make your return no big deal and ignore your pup until they are calm.
When they are puppies its best to start with small increments of absence like 5 minutes at a time until they learn to stop crying then moved to longer times.
I always say a tired dog is a well-behaved dog. Giving them something to do while you are gone like this chew toy or this puzzle toy from Amazon can help a lot.
Try not to leave your dog alone too long if you can manage it. If you need to be away for more than 3-4 hours and your dog does not do well then its a good idea to find someone that can come and let them out and give them some attention and exercise during your absence.