How to fight naturally against psychodermatoses in dogs?

Canine psychodermatoses or psychological dermatoses result in dermatological lesions, generally associated with a profound behavioral disorder caused by anxiety . This article considers these various clinical manifestations, mainly due to a stressful and anxiety-inducing environment .

Psychodermatoses in dogs, what are they?

These dermatoses of psychic origin have been studied in humans before being studied in dogs. The researchers became interested in this canine phenomenon, when they realized that a particular clinical entity, lick dermatitis , could be a model of obsessive-compulsive disorder (or OCD) in humans. Other clinical entities have been added over time to form what is called ” canine psychodermatoses “.

The role of anxiety in canine psychodermatoses

Environmental factors such as stress, the change of season, a conflictual situation that the dog can not resolve, boredom… thus plunge the animal into a state of anxiety, of which these psychological disorders become a clinical sign . Studies have correlated the fact that certain canine psychodermatoses, and in particular the licking sore, strongly coincided with forms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in men. Anxiety is therefore the major cause of psychodermatoses.

Anxiety is defined as a characterized reaction state; a succession of triggering emotional reactions similar to those of fear, in response to any variation in the internal and external environment. This results in a disorganization of the self-controls and therefore a loss of adaptability to any variation in the environment .

Licking dermatitis

Licking is the cause of local alopecia with the formation of an erythema . When it becomes chronic, alopecia spreads with hypermelanization and lichenification of the skin. When fibrosis appears and the lesion becomes firm and raised, it is called a lick granuloma .

Bacterial infections do not often appear on the surface of the lesion because licking keeps the lesion “clean”. On the other hand, pus can indeed develop in fistulas or under the scabs. The presence of local lymphadenopathy is rarely noticed, however, in very advanced cases the licking may be the cause of a periosteal reaction, arthritis or ankylosis of the underlying joint. Over time, these licking disorders intensify, causing the lesions to evolve.

Spinning with tail mutilation

The animal turns in a circle on itself, the nose glued to the base of its tail. Sometimes the dog grabs it and bites it violently. This activity is often associated with growling, aggression, as well as frantic barking. It sometimes happens that the dog stops in its course, takes a position and stabilizes for a while.

We classify dizzy spells in the psychodermatoses of self-trauma . First, there is partial and then total alopecia of the dog’s tail . Then, an area of ​​hyperpigmented induration appears. The animal can bite its tail very violently, which can lead to serious wounds.


The dog bites its fingers , especially the thumbs, and bites its claws. In addition, the mutilations are sometimes very important . The animal can amputate its phalanges and, as a result, limp.

The lesion of the pacifiers

The dog frequently catches and sucks only one of its pacifiers. This grows, ignites and the skin lichenifies. This problem mainly affects females but it can also be found in males. Castration could nevertheless stop this habit .

Are there natural treatments to fight canine psychodermatosis?

Action on anxiety of Hawthorn:

  • Sedative and anxiolytic action, reduction of aggressiveness, agitation, nervousness, excessive sensitivity to stress.
  • Calms the anxiety of apprehension and anticipation, as well as reaction anxiety with cardiovascular manifestations.

Sedative and hypnotic action on the central nervous system of lemon balm :

  • Chronic administration of lemon balm reduces anxiety-like behavior, improves circadian and exploratory activities.

Anxiolytic property of Rhodiola :

  • Rhodiola has an effective anxiolytic activity.

Antidepressant and anxiolytic properties of St. John ‘s Wort :

  • Non-specific inhibition of monoamine reuptake (mainly serotonin, but also dopamine and norepinephrine). This inhibition is not competitive, unlike what is observed for synthetic antidepressants such as fluoxetine. This results in an increase in the activity of serotonin.
  • Repeated administration of H. perforatum induces an anxiolytic and anti-panic effect, and exerts an anti-stress effect in the defensive mode.

Anti-stress action Wamine serenity (plant complex):

  • Wamine Serenity contributes to the management of stress and nervous states in dogs and cats. This pet food supplement is formulated with plants known for their soothing action.


Medical bibliographic sources and clinical trials :


Clementine. M.
Naturopath – Aromatherapist / Herbalist – Phytotherapist
Consultant in Clinical Phyto-aromatherapy and Ethnomedicine

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