Why is My Dog Licking Things?

Licking in dogs can be normal behavior. But when it becomes too much and that your dog never seems to stop, even when it is distracted, you could become worried.

Should you be? How much licking is excessive?

If you’re uncertain if it’s an issue or not, don’t worry! You’ll learn the possible reasons why your dog is licking and what you can do to keep this behavior in check in this article. 

7 Likely Reasons Your Dog is Licking Things

1. Admiration

dog kissing his owner

Believe it or not, what you term bad behavior may simply be your pet’s way of showing admiration and respect. Pets often lick people they love because they find the act comforting or simply in the hope of sharing their food. 

Some dogs like the salty taste of sweat on the skin, which may be another reason your dog may be overly invested in licking you after a gym session. If the pet is sure it can get your attention through the act, dogs may lick to distract you and steal your focus.

2. Exploration

A common reason dogs lick furniture is to explore the environment in search of new exciting activities. Try offering the dog toys to see if playing a game can keep its curiosity in check. You don’t want your pet to be so bored that it starts to lick the furniture and destroy it in the process!

Sweat from your body or crumbs from the night before may be hiding somewhere on the couch too. Cleaning your furniture after every late-night snacking session can help prevent licking caused by exploration. 

3. Clean up

If your dog is licking the carpet, that may be its innocent attempt at cleaning up a mess. This becomes a problem when the dog begins to chew on the carpet or destroy other things though. Licking can quickly become a compulsive habit if you do nothing to redirect the behavior. 

Keep your floors clean, so your dog doesn’t pick a scent that pushes it to lick the floor and chew it. Chew toys also come in handy here. Give some to the dog to keep it entertained and away from the carpet. Remember that the floor can contain toxic foods that could harm your pet.

4. Communication

dog licking behavior

Ever seen your dog licking another dog? It might look weird, but dogs can lick other dogs they consider their companion. They communicate with this act or simply find comfort in it. Dogs may also lick the ears, mouths, and eyes of other dogs as a way of exploring. 

Some dog parents find this cute to watch, while others simply panic because of what they consider the potential dangers of the act. 

For one, bacteria can quickly spread from one dog to the other through this and cause infections. If your dog already has an infection, prevent it from getting licked by another dog, so the infection doesn’t worsen.

5. Comfort

This is often common with toys and is one of those reasons pet parents shouldn’t worry about. If your dog can’t stop licking its toy, it could be that it provides a pleasant sensation that your dog has just noticed.

If it’s a favorite toy that got lost, your dog may begin to lick its covering after they are reunited to show familiarity. This typically calls for zero concern as dogs tend to find comfort in familiar personal items or surroundings. 

6. Infection

Not all licking in dogs is behavioral. Excessive licking can be a symptom of an infection or something worse. Have the pet see the vet if you suspect that your dog’s licking is a sign of a health problem. 

If you notice an area on your dog’s skin looks abnormal, and the dog keeps licking that part, it is time to reach out to your vet.

7. Relief

Soft tissue injuries or gum infections can make your dog lick things excessively. It is hurting and seeks relief by licking toys or the most unusual things. Ensure the dog gets better dental care if this is the case. 

Conclusion

Whatever the cause of the licking is, avoid punishing the dog for the habit. Monitor your pet for signs that can lead you to the answer.

And you should consult the vet if it is taking you too long to understand why. The earlier you discover the reason for the behavior, the quicker you can find a solution. 

Last Updated on October 12, 2022 by Shepped Team

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