Many dry dog foods are notoriously high in starches and low in essential fatty acids. A teaspoon of flaxseed oil per day in his food could do much to improve his skin health and get rid of the malodorous condition. Provide him with regular physical activity outdoors, and bathe as needed -- but do not bathe more than once a month after his odor is improved. Your weekly bathing could cause skin problems by disturbing the normal, healthy dermal surface cells and bacteria, leading to loss of natural oils, excessive secretion thereof and skin infection. Gentle daily grooming instead and periodically rubbing some diatomaceous earth or plain, unscented baby powder into his coat outdoors (and then brushing it out) will also help. A dog bed stuffed with cedar shreds will create a more agreeable atmosphere.
Dear Dr. Fox:
I am at my wits' end with regard to my 4-year-old English springer spaniel. Ever since she was 2 years old, she has experienced "licking frenzies," in which she frantically licks anything in her path, including rugs, walls, furniture and floors. During this time, she also tries to consume anything that's not bolted down, such as scatter rugs, pillows and newspapers. I have sometimes pulled objects out of her mouth to keep her from choking. Her licking is continuous even when she is on a leash in front of me to keep her out of harm's way, and her breathing is rapid and heavy. These "frenzies" are not short-term and often last up to three hours; she will not accept food or water when they occur. They happen at random, and last week she had two episodes. I found no common element such as food, activity, outside noises or time period.
Her diet consists of Science Diet dry small bites, occasional table scraps and a few recipe dog treats. Playing ball and going on walks are daily staples.
She is an "only child" and confined to the kitchen while I'm at work. She has fresh food, fresh water, toys and her "haven," a crate with a blanket and an open door. She has been to the vet for extensive testing, all of which came up negative. They have no answers for her behavior. I would appreciate any suggestions you might have.
I am sorry to hear that you and your dog are victims of a borderline psychosis. Your dog's obsessive-compulsive disorder probably has genetic and environmental roots. You can't change the dog's genetics, but you might influence some genetic processes involving the neurochemistry of your dog's brain.