Although a dog can lick itself for grooming purposes, to communicate, or show affection, excessive licking can be the result of boredom, anxiety, a response to pain and a symptom of a medical problem. Excessive licking in dogs could also be a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorders, relates WebMD.
Some medical problems that can cause a dog to lick itself excessively are skin allergies, skin infections and parasites, according to WebMD. In response to pain associated with an injury or arthritis, a dog may exhibit this symptom. Dog owners should have their pets checked out by a veterinarian to address or treat any medical conditions. Excessive licking could also lead to canine acral lick dermatitis that cause complications like serious skin infections, states Mercola.
In cases where the licking behavior is related to boredom, then the dog may need more stimulation through exercise and play. Stress, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders also may require treatment that can include behavioral medications, suggests the ASPCA.