4 min read


Why Do Greyhounds Lick Themselves



4 min read


Why Do Greyhounds Lick Themselves




The Greyhound is tall and lanky and often they are not the first breed that comes to mind when people think of canine friends to cuddle. The Greyhound is a breed that is an excellent racer, they can easily outrun a horse in a sprint, and they do love to snuggle. Although they may have been bred to race, they prefer quiet and soft-spoken people and don’t do well in an environment with a lot of tension. One of the habits of the Greyhound is to lick himself. To some people, this might only mean one thing, that he is trying to clean himself. Although that is the widely believed theory, there is more than a single reason why greyhounds lick themselves.

The Root of the Behavior

When a Greyhound licks, what is he trying to tell you? Let us discover what they are communicating to us nonverbally. When a Greyhound licks his feet and legs, there is a good possibility that he is suffering from arthritis. Eroding cartilage and joints lead to pain, as well as the lack of synovial fluid. Imagine having arthritis yourself. This is exactly how your dog feels. Allergies cause itching and this can also lead to your Greyhound constantly licking himself. There are two ways for dogs to get allergies and they are through food or through the environment. Food allergies are something not uncommon in Greyhounds and some of its tell-tale signs are shedding, licking, diarrhea, itching, as well as pink skin and eyes. White dogs tend to be more susceptible to food allergies. Environmental allergies are less common in dogs but they do happen. It is important to know what changed in your dog’s environment because there is a very big possibility that that will be the cause.

Greyhounds run a lot and can run fast, and because of this they always suffer from nail jams on their toes. Check your Greyhound’s toe if there is some dried blood in the nail bed. A fractured toe is another reason for licking and again this is because of running. Your Greyhound will usually limp and keep licking the area where it hurts. If you catch the fracture right away, put some ice on it. The fracture will eventually calcify and will form a bump on your dog’s toe. One of the most pleasant reasons why your Greyhound licks others, not himself, is to show affection. It is their way of displaying their love for their humans. When your Greyhound licks you, his brain releases endorphins, also called the happiness hormone, which leads to calmness and reassurance. 

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Encouraging the Behavior

If your Greyhound is licking himself due to arthritis, you can give him joint supplements, so he can feel better. Some of the most common supplements for dogs are MSM, chondroitin, glucosamine, and Vitamin C, which must be given daily at the correct doses. However, you must consult your veterinarian so he can prescribe the right medicine. Do not give your dog any medications or supplements without your veterinarian's approval. It is also normal for veterinarians to prescribe supplements even for young dogs to prevent future arthritic problems. If allergies are the cause of the constant licking, you should start feeding your pooch raw foods as it is generally much better. 

Experts have found that processed foods with grains are the usual culprits when it comes to food allergies. Environmental allergies can easily be fixed by changing to a new laundry detergent or by avoiding pesticides on the lawn where they run around and play. If your dog is constantly licking himself due to itching, a visit to the veterinarian may be necessary. The underlying cause of itching must be established so that the right course of treatment can put a stop to all the licking. Antihistamines will be prescribed by the veterinarian and when the allergy is under control, you will see that the licking will stop and your dog’s condition will improve. 

Other Solutions and Considerations

Another factor to consider when your Greyhound is excessively licking himself is stress or boredom. This usually happens when their humans are away and most of us are not aware of the problem until the situation becomes really worse to the point that the dog has already worn through his fur and have already hit his skin. It is a must to discover the cause for boredom or stress and change the environment. Exercise is a good way to deal with both problems. Exercising high energy dogs such as the Greyhound gives him something to do so he is not tempted to lick himself. He won’t be bored and he will spend his energy on more worthwhile things. 


It is vital to be aware of your dog’s behaviors, so you can catch the problem before it worsens. Excessive licking is more a symptom of other conditions rather than a condition itself. So if you see your dog displaying it, you must also be on the lookout for other signs. With love and care, your Greyhound will grow to become a happy and healthy dog. 

By a Chow Chow lover Jhoana Carla de Toro

Published: 04/19/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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