How to Keep a Dog From Licking a Wound
Whether a surgical incision or a cut incurred by romping around the yard, chances are your dog will want to lick its wounds. Dog saliva kills certain germs, but presents the opportunity for many more to infect the injury, according to The Clinical Textbook for Veterinary Technicians. Dogs lick to clean the injury and ease pain. Prevent your dog from licking its wounds to reduce the chance of infection or further injury.
Place an Elizabethan collar around your dog's neck. Sometimes called an E-collar, these resemble large cones and prevent your dog from licking at wounds on the rear its body. The Elizabethan collar is one of the most cost-effective, readily available options, according to the Clinical Veterinary Advisor.
Spray the area around the wound with bitter apple spray. This spray tastes sour and discourages a dog from licking or biting at a wound. Bitter apple spray is applied around, but not on, the wound. If applied directly to the wound, excess and unnecessary pain results. Bitter apple spray is harder to find than an Elizabethan collar and may not work for every dog; some dogs enjoy the taste.
Place a muzzle on your dog. Use a style of muzzle that does not allow your dog to open its mouth. Impractical for minor wounds, a muzzle should be used when your dog has incurred serious injuries. Not only does a properly fitted muzzle prevent your dog from licking a wound, but also prevents injury to the owner or health-care workers who may need to tend to the wound, particularly if the dog is panicked.
Put on a restricted head movement collar. A brand name for this type of collar is the "Bite Not" collar. These collars are flexible and padded, providing the same effect as an E-collar without as much irritation. The collars consist of a wide base and may or may not have an added strap to keep the collar properly positioned.