A dog in the wild can't take antibiotics when he's injured, so licking wounds is his way of cleaning foreign matter from the wound. It's not without risks, but it's all an animal in the wild can do. In his domestic setting, though, your pup has access to a vet's help. To speed healing and avoid complications, see a vet and ensure that Scout leaves his wound alone.
For your dog, a wound is an annoyance; he wants to lick it to soothe it. When your pooch licks the wound that you or the vet cleaned up, he's introducing bacteria, hindering the healing process. If Scout's wound is bandaged, try spraying the bandage with a natural lick deterrent, such as bitter apple spray, to discourage his attempt at self-comfort. The problem with topical lick deterrents is they can't be used on a wound itself, and many wounds aren't dressed because they heal better without bandages.
Though Scout may not approve, the best lick deterrent is a collar that keeps him from reaching his wound. The Elizabethan collar, which looks like a cone around your pup's neck, is the most common type of collar. Two variations on this method are a padded cone for improved comfort and a clear cone, which allows better peripheral vision. Other options are easier for him to wear while keeping him from accessing his sore spots. The Pro Collar, Soft-E-Collar, and BiteNot work in different ways to provide a more comfortable way to separate Scout from his healing wound. Though he may not like it, a collar is the most natural and effective lick deterrent.
- Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images