Cat licking excessively due to AllergiesPets often use their tongue and licking as a normal part of their grooming behavior (especially seen in cats). But in many cases the licking behavior is a manifestation of itching- a little is OK, a lot is not! What’s too much? If you are seeing areas of baldness occur. Remember, excess licking (or any type of itching) causes trauma to the skin and further increases inflammation. This commonly leads to secondary infection (bacteria & yeast overgrowth) on the skin’s surface. Secondary infection also worsens inflammation and itching leading to a type of type of vicious circle.
The pattern of licking is important. Observe what areas your pet licks (the legs, feet or belly?) and what time of day it occurs. See if you can observe any association with going outside or exposure to certain foods. All of these details can be important. Listed below are common causes. Although most commonly caused by itch, licking can also be a sign of pain or less commonly a sign of behavioral disease.
- Environmental allergies (Atopic Dermatitis)
- Flea allergy/Hot spot
- Food allergy
- Acral Lick Dermatitis (Lick Granuloma)
- Bacterial infection (Pyoderma) or Yeast infection (Malassezia dermatitis)
For additional information please see the following articles: