Many dogs suffer from something commonly known as lick sores, also called acral lick dermatitis or lick granuloma. This is a condition that develops due to chronic licking. There is a common school of thought that the reason that animals continue to lick and lick in this manner is because the process releases endorphins in the brain, so that the dog feels good. Some animals have no underlying cause for the licking to begin while others suffer from allergies, insect bites, and mites. Other animals seem to start with lick sores when they are separated from their primary caretakers.
You will notice that your dog is licking a specific spot on their body every time they get a chance. This spot is usually on the legs and if you take a closer look you may notice that the area is moist from their licking, the hair is quite thin or gone altogether, or the skin is red or thick. These are the most common symptoms with lick sores and you may find that your dog will not allow you to touch them because they do become quite sore and sensitive and the dog does not want it to be touched, yet they continue to lick, and lick, and lick.
Lick sores can be difficult to prevent because most pet owners are not aware of them until their pet has them. The best thing you can do to stop this from starting is to make sure that your dog has healthy skin. When you ensure that they do not have mites, fleas, fungal or bacterial infections, or anything of this manner you will soon find that your dog is less likely to have any sort of development of skin problems, including lick sores. Another thing to do is make sure that when your dog is alone that they have toys to play with, as many animals start doing it when they are alone and bored.
The treatment of the lick sores will really depend on whether there is an underlying cause of the licking. If there are infections or insects the dog will be treated for these things. The thing that is necessary is to stop the licking right now. This can be done by covering the area, putting bad tasting substances on the area, and giving the dog medication. Some owners have to resort to putting an Elizabethan collar on their dog so that they cannot gain access to the area that they are focused on licking.