Top Reasons Why Your Dog Licks Everything

Dog Tips

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Why Do Dogs Lick Everything?

Dogs and licking seem to go hand in hand. Whether your four-legged friend is licking the floor after a meal or giving you lots of big wet kisses, licking is very normal dog behavior. Some dogs lick things out of boredom, others find it soothing, and others do it out of anxiety or discomfort. It might even align with their zodiac. In most cases a dog licking everything around them is perfectly normal, but you should monitor their licking behaviors because some instances of licking can be a sign of a health or behavioral issue.

Why do dogs lick?

No one knows exactly why dogs lick, but there are many theories. Dogs explore the world with their mouths, so licking is the best way for them to learn more information about their environment. There are many different things dogs tend to lick, and there may be different reasons behind each one of them. Some of the common objects dogs lick and the reasons behind them are listed below.

People

Dogs instinctively lick to groom themselves. Just as mothers will lick to clean their pups, dogs may feel the need to lick their owners. It could be a sign of love, to get your attention, or simply because they’re attracted to whatever’s on you that may smell good. Licking can also be a sign of respect and your dog’s way of letting you know that they trust you as the pack leader. Either way, it is very common for dogs to lick their owners and it is usually not a worrisome behavior. If you are not a fan of your dog’s licking, make sure to avoid consistently rewarding their licks with praise. When you give positive reinforcement for a behavior like this, your dog will learn to do it to get your attention. To retrain them, keep your face away from them when they try to lick you and wait for them to settle down before praising them. Make sure everyone in the household starts doing this so that your dog isn’t receiving mixed signals.

The Air

Dogs also frequently lick the air. Sometimes this is because they smell something good or are licking their lips in anticipation of food. However, excessive licking of the air can be the result of a neurologic or compulsive disorder or a dental disease. Other symptoms of cognitive issues include pacing, sleeping more the usual, or becoming withdrawn from people and activities. If your dog is frequently licking the air and you suspect they are experiencing cognitive issues, it may be a good idea to have them evaluated by a vet.

Furniture

Have you ever wondered why your dog frequently licks your couch or your carpet? This may be because leftover sweat or food found in these areas can attract them. Keeping your furniture clean and clear of crumbs will help prevent your furniture from being licked. If their licking is becoming a compulsive habit, try to keep them stimulated throughout the day and make sure they are getting enough exercise. Pent up energy can cause them to engage in these compulsory behaviors that end up destroying your nice furniture!

Toys

Dogs may lick their store-bought or DIY toys for a few reasons. The first is that it may smell good or have a tasty covering. The second theory is that it is comforting to them. Many dogs develop a strong bond with their favorite toy and them to be a gift. Licking their toys or games may provide them with a soothing sensation.

Other Dogs

Dogs love to lick their furry best friends! Most of the time they are doing this out of comfort or to communicate with their companion. Other times it could be a sign of an infection, such as conjunctivitis or gingivitis. While their behavior may seem very sweet, keep an eye on it. If your dog is licking another dog excessively, it can lead to new infections or further existing ones.

Themselves

After the puppy fear stage, it should be concerning when you notice something amiss you’re your pet. Many of our canine companions spend much of the day licking themselves all over. This is usually a sign that they are grooming themselves to stay clean. If they are doing it to a specific area excessively or if you notice the area is red or missing hair, consult your vet. It could be a sign that your dog is experiencing skin inflammation. The most common skin infections that dogs experience are caused by allergens found in their environment. Your vet can provide you with oral medications to reduce inflammation or give your dog the infamous cone to prevent them from making the area worse.

When should you be worried about your dog’s licking habits?

Even though many dogs like to lick everything, including their paws all the time, you will probably be able to tell when their licking habits are unusual. Every dog is different in how they communicate with their owners, so if you see their normal licking habits changing it may be best to consult your vet.
Any changes to your dog’s environment or routine can change their behavior and create anxiety. If your dog is prone to anxiety, pay special attention to their licking habits if anything in their environment has changed recently. A new pet in the house, a baby, or even a slight change in schedule could throw them off.

What can you do about excessive licking?

If your dog won’t stop licking, you should visit your vet to see if there is an underlying issue that you aren’t aware of. Your vet can help figure out the root cause of the problem and recommend treatment that will fix the issue. Consistent licking can create irritations to the skin, so it’s best to take care of the problem as soon as you notice it.

If your dog is excessively licking things like your furniture, try distracting them with toys, treat-filled puzzles, or long-lasting bones. Also make sure that they are getting enough exercise and attention throughout the day as they may be doing this to get your attention or to release pent up energy.

Here at Spot Pet Insurance, we do our best to provide helpful dog info. We care deeply about your dog’s health and want to be with you every step of the way. For other helpful info about pets, check out our Spot Pet Insurance webpage! Here we provide you with educational materials that can help you with the best foods, toys, safety, and care tips for your dog. We also offer personalized pet insurance plan options to help keep your dog protected in case of unexpected accidents and illnesses.

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