Q: Why does my dog groom itself like a cat would? Is it because he/she grew up with a cat in the house?
A: Dogs don’t groom themselves as a cat would. If a dog is “bathing” himself or herself and licking parts of their skin, chances are that your dog has an allergic skin itch as opposed to being a self-groomer.
Dogs typically should not lick themselves for any more than a few minutes a day. Just as cats do not learn species-specific dog behaviors by living with them, it is highly unlikely for a dog to start demonstrating cat specific behaviors that are not natural to dogs.
Other causes for dogs licking their skin or pawing at their faces may include eye problems, etc.
Dr. Jangi Bajwa is a Board certified veterinary dermatologist at VetDERM Clinic in Surrey BC. He is also the dermatology feature editor for Canadian Veterinary Journal. Dr. Bajwa’s special interests include otitis and allergic disease in pets; as well as helping improve quality of life of pets and their families.