Oh no...not the "slow lick" again...
December 1, 2006 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Can a dog lick themselves to the point of climax?

I have a neutered male dog whose third favorite hobby (besides eating and sleeping) seems to be licking his genitals (or what remains of them.) I imagine he does this because it feels good. However, he never gets to the "red rocket/pink lipstick" stage and there's obviously not an end goal to the activity.

If he weren't neutered, could he keep going and (presumably) climax?

(Note: This isn't exactly an easy question to Google, so apologies if I missed something obvious out there on the internet. Maybe you're braver/have better Google-Fu?)
posted by nekton to Pets & Animals (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Neutered dogs can still ejaculate, they just can't ejaculate sperm (and indeed altered dogs tend to exhibit MORE sexual behaviours than intact ones). I expect they can lick themselves to climax, plenty of dogs (especially neutered ones) masturbate in other ways (pillows, towels, paws, no kidding). You won't necessarily see an erection, either.

However, if your dog is licking as much as you're implying, get him to the vet, he might have a UTI or some other problem brewing down there, or this could be an OCD issue.
posted by biscotti at 1:35 PM on December 1, 2006


Can't answer your question, but I don't think neutering would affect that.
posted by Alt F4 at 1:35 PM on December 1, 2006


I thought that neutering dogs involved castration, not a vasectomy. If it's castration, then it certainly does effect their ability to have erections and climax.
posted by alms at 2:10 PM on December 1, 2006


My dog does that when he's bored and under-exercised, only he licks his butt. with gusto. It gets obsessive. The answer is to give him more exercise.
posted by theora55 at 2:36 PM on December 1, 2006


"Masturbation occurs in “intact” and castrated domestic dogs. Apparently, brain centers that mediate sexual behavior are not completely inactivated by castration but are merely muted." [source]
posted by squeak at 2:38 PM on December 1, 2006


I would talk to your vet. Dogs usually lick themselves (anywhere, not just on the doggy jewels) when there is something irritating their skin. Better to rule out any problem/infection/infestation than to just assume he's having a little fun with himself.
posted by fvox13 at 2:42 PM on December 1, 2006


altered dogs tend to exhibit MORE sexual behaviours than intact ones

Really? I have never observed this with 'fixed' dogs or cats of either sex. What makes you say that?
posted by found missing at 2:49 PM on December 1, 2006


What makes you say that?

Here.

If it's castration, then it certainly does effect their ability to have erections and climax.

Why would you say that? Neutering has no effect on the ability to achieve an erection, and only some of the seminal fluid is sperm. Neutered dogs have no testicles, but they still have functioning penises and prostate glands.
posted by biscotti at 3:50 PM on December 1, 2006


Male dogs don't orgasm quite like people (men) do. FWIW, none of my neutered male dogs has ever been much of a self-licker after being neutered. Second the advice to take the dog to the vet.
posted by paulsc at 4:40 PM on December 1, 2006


My neutered doog used to lick himself to climax regularly. It was really gross, and if we didn't stop him in time there would be the yuckiest mess to clean up that you can imagine.
posted by arcticwoman at 4:48 PM on December 1, 2006 [1 favorite]


biscotti, thank you for that citation. This is what your linked article says: "The study that identified a higher incidence of cranial cruciate ligament rupture in spayed or neutered dogs also identified an increased incidence of sexual behaviors in males and females that were neutered early.(5) Further, the study that identified a higher incidence of hip dysplasia in dogs neutered or spayed before 5 1/2 months also showed that early age gonadectomy was associated with an increased incidence of noise phobias and undesirable sexual behaviors.(6)"

This still sounded crazy to me, even though there it is, in black on white, on the Internets, so I looked up reference #5. It is:

Slauterbeck JR, Pankratz K, Xu KT, Bozeman SC, Hardy DM. Canine ovariohysterectomy and orchiectomy increases the prevalence of ACL injury. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2004 Dec;(429):301-5.

I read that article and found that the authors neither measured nor even mentioned sexual behaviors in the dogs they studied. The only behavioral mention that they made was as follows: “Whether ovariohysterectomy or orchiectomy affect weight gain is controversial, but one study showed no significant increase. Additionally, ovariohysterectomy or orchiectomy could affect the behavior of the dog. However, an ovariohysterectomized or orchiectomized dog most likely would become less aggressive, less active, or both, probably decreasing the risk for ACL injury. Although we cannot predict all of the effects that could result from canine ovariohysterectomies or orchiectomies, many of the effects are likely to decrease injury risk.”

That leaves reference #6 to support the point, so I looked that one up too. It is:

Spain CV, Scarlett JM, Houpt KA. Long-term risks and benefits of early-age gonadectomy in dogs. JAVMA 2004;224:380-387.

In this study, the authors actually did measure sexual behavior as one of their outcome variables. And, they found that “Among male and female dogs with early-age gonadectomy, hip dysplasia, noise phobias, and sexual behaviors were increased...” BUT, when the authors say “increased,” the comparison group is not dogs without gonadectomies. Rather, the comparison group is dogs with later-age gonadectomies (where “early” is a dog under 3 months of age and “later” is a dog between 3 and 12 months of age). In other words, the under 3 month old gonadectomy dogs in this study exhibited more “sexual behaviors” than did the 3-12 month old gonadectomy dogs. There was no comparison group of dogs that did not undergo gonadectomy. One can easily presume that dogs that did not undergo gonadectomy would exhibit MORE sexual behaviors than any comparison group that did undergo gonadectomy.

In fact, your linked expert, Chris Zink DVM, PhD, DACVP, is arguing against EARLY spay-neuter, and this second study does support his point. He is not arguing that, as you said earlier, "altered dogs tend to exhibit MORE sexual behaviours than intact ones."
posted by found missing at 5:32 PM on December 1, 2006


My apologies for choosing my words carelessly - my point was merely that neutering does not necessarily eliminate sexual behaviours.

I'm well aware of what Chris Zink (who is a she) is specifically discussing in that article (it just happened to be where I came across this), but thank you for the additional research.
posted by biscotti at 5:56 PM on December 1, 2006


Yikes. Sorry, Chris.
posted by found missing at 6:53 PM on December 1, 2006


If it's castration, then it certainly does effect their ability to have erections and climax.

Why would you say that?


Because of this and this which are the first two links on this.

But maybe dogs are different from people and they don't need hormone replacement therapy to keep getting erections after they've been castrated.
posted by alms at 9:10 PM on December 1, 2006


This is purely anecdotal, but I had my now 10-month-old puppy neutered about 6 weeks ago, and he still licks. Before the surgery, he did it at least once a day; now it's maybe 3 times a week. When he does it, though, it's no minor occurrence. He not only gets to the "red rocket" stage, but goes all the way to the full-fledged outie, with even the two bulbs at the base exposed. Needless to say, it's a disturbing sight, especially since he's a ten-pound dog and the "red rocket" is nearly as big as he is. (I exaggerate because it really is astonishing. Euhhh.) He does not, however, create a mess such as arcticwoman described above. Thank glaven.
posted by katra12 at 10:04 PM on December 1, 2006



But maybe dogs are different from people and they don't need hormone replacement therapy to keep getting erections after they've been castrated.


Dogs have a baculum which allows them to get an erection more or less at will. Incidentally, the Go Ask Alice link specifically states that with sufficient stimulation a castrated man can have an erection and orgasm.
posted by hindmost at 6:09 PM on March 22, 2007


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