One dog licking the other dog's back

This is NEW behavior in the last couple of months in a pair of dogs I’ve had for seven and 10 years.

I have two dogs and three cats. All are neutered/spayed. All are rescues. Sweetie is a short-haired female dog that I’ve had about seven years. Buddy is a long-ish haired male that I’ve had about 10 years. When Sweetie wandered up and joined the household, both dogs instantly got along great with each other.

Lately, in the last couple of months, Sweetie (female dog) has taken to licking an area on Buddy’s back below his “waist” and around his haunches, but still on his back. (IOW not his private parts, belly, or face, but just that one area on his back.) Sweetie will just lick and lick and lick as though she’s cleaning up something. She doesn’t lick or groom any of the other animals. Anyway, this doesn’t look like grooming exactly, which I do actually get to see a fair amount of. For one thing, she licks against the grain, fluffing up Buddy’s fur.

Buddy DOES groom one of the female cats. And the male cat grooms Sweetie and any of the other cats that will stand for it. Yes, we’re a licking kind of household. :rolleyes:

Buddy will be going to the groomer soon now that the weather is getting warm, and I will be curious to see what the haircut reveals, as well as to see if the behavior continues when Buddy’s fur is short.

Any theories on what this is all about?

Have you dug around in that area at all? It could be a tick or a small wound from a bug/mosquito bite/scratch or even something as simple as some food* stuck in his fur (though that’s probably not the case if it’s been a few months).

*food, or something that Buddy picked up rolling around outside.

This. There is something going on there. Take a comb and gently comb the fur back, about a quarter inch or less at a time, and see if you can find out what it is. I would guess it is a wound or infection. Do you know what “hot spots” are? His long hair could be covering up a significant problem.

I agree with all of the above. Dogs commonly lick sore spots on their bodies to relieve themselves of some kind of irritation. Buddy probably can’t reach that spot on his back, or else he’d be licking it himself. Sweetie is probably relieving Buddy of his soreness.

Grooming is a sign of affection in the family group.