Excessive licking in dogs is not confined to breed and is often a sign of anxiety or boredom. Certain breeds, including dachshunds, are prone to developing compulsive behaviors such as licking in response to stress in their environment. Licking may also be a response to skin irritation or pain.
Excessive licking is just one of many symptoms a dog under stress may exhibit. Other dogs may compulsively chew leather items, tear up newspapers or scratch wooden doors until they leave deep scars in the wood. These are self-stimulating behaviors that give the dog some momentary relief. Dogs left along for long hours will exhibit these behaviors, whether out of loneliness or attempting to pass the time with a solitary activity.
Excessive licking can also be in response to an irritant on the dog's skin. If the irritant is not cleared away by licking, after a time the licking itself will irritate the skin. The dog will continue to lick to relieve the pain, even though it spreads the irritation over a wider area. This leads to an ugly condition called acral lick granuloma. A dog displaying a granuloma will have a patch of raw, reddened skin where the fur has worn away from licking and chewing.
Joint pain can also cause excessive licking. The dog will lick the joint to relieve the pain, but since the pain is inside the body, it will react compulsively and try harder and harder to make the pain stop.