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Why Does My Dog Lick Everything?

Everyone loves a welcome-home lick from their puppy, accompanied by a wagging tail. But licking is not always a good thing. Some dogs will lick their privates and embarrass you in front of company. Others will lick air, which is harmless for the most part, but can get out of control. Dogs licking their lips can actually be a sign of a medical condition such as dehydration. And if your dog has a wound and is licking pus, it could lead to healing complications.

A licking habit shouldn’t be ignored. If your dog has recently started licking everything, all the time, you might have a problem on your hands. Please continue reading to find out some of the reasons for your dog licking everything and what you can do to put a stop to it.

Why is my dog licking everything excessively suddenly?

Occasional licking is harmless and may even be welcome, for example, if your dog licks the floor after a messy meal. But excessively licking everything can be a sign that something is wrong and needs to be addressed. Possible reasons for your dog licking everything include:

Behavioral issues

Some pups will compulsively lick everything to soothe themselves. This habit typically develops over time and takes time to break. You should delve a little deeper into what might be causing it, for example, stress or anxiety after a recent change in routine. Your dog licking everything could also be from boredom. Try distracting your pup with a toy or a game of fetch to see if the extra stimulation prevents this behavior.

Health issues

Health problems, such as allergies, injuries, gastrointestinal bugs, or dehydration, can cause dogs to lick everything. If you’ve noticed that your dog has recently started licking, talk to your veterinarian to determine if there’s an underlying health issue. Ignoring the licking behavior is not a good idea because it can lead to skin irritation, wounds, infections, and other destructive behaviors.

What does a dog licking different things mean?

If your dog tends to lick specific things rather than everything, here’s a brief overview of the possible reasons:

  • Dogs lick themselves instinctively to groom themselves. This is normal behavior unless your dog licks a specific spot all the time.
  • They lick other dogs to communicate, bond, develop friendships, or show submission. Again, this is not concerning and is normal canine behavior.
  • Dogs lick people to show affection or obtain comfort. If your dog gives you sloppy kisses and you respond with joy, this can lead to excessive licking to get your attention.
  • Dogs might lick their lips at mealtime or if they’re hungry. This can be ignored as long as it’s not excessive. Review your dog’s eating routine with the veterinarian if you think the licking is out of control.
  • Dogs might lick a specific body part, such as an ear, to relieve discomfort, for example, from an ear infection. This, of course, should be evaluated and treated by the vet.
  • They may lick air due to dental issues or compulsive behaviors. Again, a vet can get to the bottom of things.
  • Dogs might lick fabric, carpets, and couches as exploratory food-seeking behavior. Keeping your home clean can help discourage this type of licking.

When should I worry about my dog licking things?

Remember that licking is normal canine behavior. Mother dogs lick their puppies to clean them, and this is something pups learn at a very early age. But when the licking is compulsive or excessive or your dog licks the same things again and again, it’s time to investigate and address the habit.

There are no hard and fast rules to say how much licking is too much licking. You are the best judge of what is normal or abnormal behavior for your pooch. If the licking has started suddenly and is new, it might be temporary and fade over time, or it may get worse and require something be done to stop it.

How do I stop my dog from compulsive licking?

How you stop your dog from compulsively licking everything depends on the cause of the licking.

If, for example, behavioral issues are causing your dog to lick everything, you may need to crate train your dog for a while. This can not only stop your dog from licking everything, but also discourage other bad habits like chewing on things. Crate training or kennel training relies on a dog’s natural instincts to find a quiet, comfortable, safe place to rest, and can be especially useful if your dog licks everything because they are over-stimulated. It may have a calming effect if your dog is licking everything due to stress and anxiety.

If it seems like your dog is licking everything for no apparent reason, it’s a good idea to consult the veterinarian. They can rule out any underlying health problems that might be causing your dog to lick excessively, such as allergies, painful injuries, dental problems, or mental health issues.

19 February, 2024