Licking in dogs is an instinct in dogs. If your dog comes to sit beside you when eating, and it begins to lick its tongue, that means it is hungry and wants to have a bite from the food. We could understand why they display various behaviors by carefully studying our dogs.
There are various reasons why your dog licks everything. It could be a result of boredom; it can be a compulsive behavior that provides a calm and soothing sensation. It could also be a result of discomfort or anxiousness, to groom themselves, it is hungry, seeks attention, or has cognitive issues.
Dogs cannot communicate like humans, so they make different gestures to signify various things, and you need to understand what the gestures mean for you to care for your dog.
Why Does My Dog Lick Everything?
There are various reasons why dogs lick. But, when it comes to licking everything they see around – from licking you to the furniture, toys, or even themselves, then you begin to get curious as to why. There are two major reasons why your dog is probably licking everything. It could either be a result of behavioral issues or health issues.
When you find your dog licking everything it sees, it is probably a way of it trying to make itself feel good. Sometimes, your dog may become bored or even anxious; due to this, it could resort to licking everything it sees around to feel good.
If the reason your dog is licking itself is due to behavioral issues, you do not have to become worried too much. It is probably just trying to ease boredom or needs some attention. However, it is best to ensure you do not encourage this behavior.
If you do, your dog might someday lick harmful objects such as hair and fibers, which could cause life-threatening problems. So, instead, you could provide it with some dog toys to keep its company as a way of discouraging licking.
If the licking is due to anxiety, you can engage it in exercises and mental stimulation. However, if you cannot address the behavioral issues, you could reach out to a veterinary doctor for professional advice.
Unlike behavioral issues, which you can easily control your dog from doing, it is often difficult to control when the licking results from health challenges. Gastrointestinal upset or an infection could be a reason why your dog licks everything.
These health issues are meant to be addressed and taken care of quickly, as they could lead to secondary infections or unwanted behaviors. So, it is best advised that you quickly take your dog to the vet for a checkup and treatment whenever you notice its licking is not controllable and displays some signs of infections.
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Why Does My Dog Lick Everything Excessively?
Licking is a behavior common to all dog breeds. You would have probably caught your dog doing this a few times. It could be a form of communication that your dog wants some attention, or it wants to have a taste of what you are eating. So, you do not need to be worried.
However, when your dog begins to lick everything around excessively, you need to pay attention to the dog. The reason for such an act is probably beyond attention or food. Some dogs are allergic to certain things. When they contract these allergies, it could cause itchy skin and pains, causing them to excessively lick their body.
Allergies in dogs result from a change in the environment or food. For instance, if you notice the itchiness is from the dog’s leg, it is likely due to coming in contact with an allergy from the environment. Dogs’ digestive systems are sensitive and may be intolerant to certain foods.
As mentioned above, health issues could cause a dog to lick things it sees around. An example of a medical condition that could cause a dog to lick excessively is gastrointestinal upset.
Why Does My Dog Lick Pillows And Blankets?
No matter how gross this will sound, your dog is attracted to your sweat drops as well as crumbs from your meal. So, if they perceive any of these on any piece of furniture, a blanket, or a pillow, they will go to it to lick it. Dogs are inquisitive animals, aided with their enhanced sense of smell.
Your pillows and blankets contain sweat and dead skin cells, and your dog will lick them for the salt. Human sweat contains lots of sodium ions, making it salty, and dogs find this saltiness tasty. Dogs have an unusual appetite for salt, and they satisfy this appetite most weirdly.
When dogs taste salt, they are reminded of the savory taste of their meals. The human body also secretes oil, and when this is mixed with your swear, your dog has found a delicious treat. Also, salt triggers dogs’ desire for water, so they drink enough. If your dog drinks lots of water, it has a habit of licking anything with salt.
Other reasons why your dog licks your blanket and pillow are because it perceives your scent on them. Suppose there is a change in its diet. In that case, it loves the taste of your skincare product, it is experiencing separation anxiety, and it has an underlying health condition (known as obsessive-compulsive disorder).
More to learn: Why Does My Dog Suck On Blankets?
How Can I Get My Dog To Stop Licking The Couch?
If your dog has a habit of licking the couch, it is a result of any of the following; it likes your scent and taste, it could have an underlying health issue (tooth pain, behavioral issues, pituitary gland disease, and anxiety issues), it could be bored, or it has developed a bad habit.
There are simple procedures to follow when you want to stop a dog from exhibiting bad habits. Some people believe aggression is the best way; this is not true; dogs do not learn when you are aggressive towards them.
One of the most impactful ways is positive reinforcement, rewarding the dog for good behavior instead of punishing for bad ones. Another way to stop your dog from licking the couch is by spraying bitter-tasting sprays on the couch. The sour taste discourages the dog from licking the couch.
Finally, you should ensure your dog has enough exercise. This might look ineffective, but it helps a great deal. A dog with excessive energy or experiencing boredom will ease itself by licking the couch. But when a dog exercises frequently, it will not lick the couch to ease itself.
Related post: Why Does My Dog Chew His Paws? Main Reasons Why
Does My Dog Licking Mean My Dog Is Anxious?
Have you ever noticed your dog whenever it is stressed out or anxious? If you have, there are chances that you would have seen it licking. Licking releases endorphins, and this helps to keep dogs calm. So, what your dog is simply trying to achieve is to calm itself down.
Although, you should understand that not always your dog licking would mean that it is anxious. The reason for the licking could be based on other behavioral or health issues that we have discussed earlier.
However, if it results from anxiety, you can keep the dog calm by spending more time with it, getting it toys to play with, or taking it out for exercise. When you do this, and the dog persists, you should consider taking the dog to a vet or seek behaviorist advice.
Also read: Why Does My Dog Lick the Blanket?
You should show lots of concern to your dog by paying close attention to its habits and behaviors. Half of the time, your dog does something; it is trying to communicate with you; dogs love people who understand them and meet all their needs at different times.
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Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.