We all love it when our dogs lick parts of our body like our face, arm, or legs as this reminds us of the adoring love and bond they have for us. But what about when our furry companion does this excessively and/or goes beyond licking our bodies to inanimate objects? Is it something to worry about? Let’s find out in this article.
Dogs lick furniture commonly due to pica, among other reasons. Pica is a condition when dogs have a craving for inedible things and like to chew them up. You should treat this behavior with urgency by visiting a veterinarian.
In this article, we will look at pica and the other reasons causing your dog to lick the furniture or things associated with furniture. We will also share how you can put a stop to your dog from licking the furniture, such as by retraining your dog or adding things to the lifestyle of your furry friend.
But before then, let’s see why your dog licks the floor and furniture.
Why Do Dogs Lick The Floor And Furniture?
Apart from pica, dogs lick the floor and furniture because of stress, boredom, separation anxiety, or a nutrient deficiency.
Floor and furniture cover a wide range of items which you may likely see your dog licking. Here are some of the common items.
One main reason behind dogs licking the carpet often is because of the small amounts of food crumbs left on it.
Dogs will find these crumbs because of their wonderful sense of smell and will lick them off the carpet. You should make sure that there are no crumbs on the carpets and try as much as possible not to feed them there.
An allergy is another reason for dogs’ behavior to lick the carpet. Some dogs suffer from food allergies, such as dairy products, grains, beef, chicken eggs, or gluten. These allergens can cause intestinal problems to these furry companions. Hence, they will lick the carpet to relieve any stomach discomfort.
Switching from a diet of chicken and grain to a diet of beef and potato stops this licking behavior in some dogs. You should talk to your vet about a possible food allergy and the best food formula for your furry friend.
Other reasons can be behavioral issues at play. Your canine buddy may be getting nervous or anxious. Hence, they will lick the carpet because it calms their feelings.
Your dog can lick the baseboards for various medical, behavioral, or social reasons. This may be contrary to our expectations when one expects that baseboards should have no smell of ours and our pooch shouldn’t be licking them.
Due to medical conditions, dogs may lick unchewable objects like baseboards, and this can be an indication of a disease like pica. Pica is when your dog craves and chews things that are of no nutritive value.
It can also be behavioral, as a way of cleaning surfaces. This can happen if the baseboard is stained or has dirt.
Finally, social problems may also affect your pooch. For example, boredom, and separation anxiety can lead to licking behavior in dogs.
Your dog licks fabrics because they retain your smell and have not been washed for some time. This smell triggers your pooch’s licking behavior as a way to have you closer and to maintain a bond with you even when not present.
This is especially the case when your clothes are dirty or sweaty and retain your pheromones. They will lick off the dirt out of the clothing fabrics.
In extreme cases, dogs will lick fabrics because of medical reasons, such as nausea, cognitive dysfunction, gastrointestinal ailments, pica, or stress.
In the situation of stress, licking fabrics may be a way to soothe his feelings.
Other causes are social problems. For example, boredom, and separation anxiety can lead to licking behavior in dogs.
Pillows And Blankets
The reason why your dog licks your pillows and blankets is because of the strong pheromones found in your beddings.
Your pillows and blankets have more of your body prints than other fabrics. For example, they contain more hair and sweat.
As a good scent detector and natural cleaner, your pooch will get attracted and will lick it till the taste of salt from the night sweat is out of your pillows and blankets.
More so, licking your blankets and pillows can be due to drowsiness. When they are drowsy in your bed and have no intention of falling asleep, they will lick your bedding to keep them active and awake.
If you notice your pooch licking the couch especially right after feeding it some drinking water, his taste buds are likely to be stimulated after drinking. Hence, it is naturally inclined to licking salty things.
The couch is one of the places where you or dog owners will be spending most of the time on. Thus, be it leather or regular fabric, the couch will retain a lot of your sweat and smell or pheromones. This translates to several “salty” spots on the couch where it comes into frequent contact with your hands.
Also, your pooch can lick the couch for other reasons. For one reason, you may spot your dog licking the couch because of boredom, or a bad habit it inadvertently mastered over the years. For instance, licking the treat left on the couch as a way to clean it will have formed this habit.
It can also be that you recently got over the spot of that couch and he loves the smell. It can also be a sign of health issues.
Why Is My Dog All Of A Sudden Licking Everything?
If your dog began licking everything unusual to his behavior, it can be a sign of separation anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, pica, or gastrointestinal ailment.
It can also be a result of a sudden change in your pooch’s normal routine. To pinpoint the change, you should consider the following questions:
- Have you been spending less time with your furry friend than usual?
- Has there been a sudden change in your pooch’s diet?
- Have you been inadvertently encouraging your canine buddy to lick anything? For example, giving your canine buddy treats when it’s licking something can make it think that it will always get a treat whenever it licks something.
We will look at other reasons why your dog is suddenly licking everything in the next section.
During training, you may notice your pooch licking its lips. Your pooch does this to show submission to you.
Younger dogs like puppies will lick their mother’s lips when they want to regurgitate food from her mouth.
Doggies love salty things, like human skin. Because of this, they will lick some parts of your body, like your face and legs.
For Affection And Bonding
Your canine buddy will also lick their lips as a way to bond or show their affection to you. This is common when you return from a place after several hours. Your pooch will likely welcome you by liking its favorite spot in your body.
As A Sign Of Stress Or Boredom
When your pooch is stressed, it will lick different things to keep itself occupied. This behavior releases endorphins that soothe their body.
Older dogs do lick the furniture at times, contrary to what we expect from them. This is because of dementia which usually affects aging dogs. Dementia affects senior canines in the same manner as it affects the elderly people. It eventually leads to cognitive dysfunction.
Apart from medical conditions, your older dog can also lick furniture because it is a behavior that it has mastered from its younger days and has failed to unlearn.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Licking The Furniture?
To stop your furry friend from licking things, your pooch should have things added to its lifestyle like toys, training, and exercises. In addition, you should keep the living spaces clean and get rid of dirty laundry, such that they do not favor your pooch’s unusual licking behavior.
Here are some other methods you can rely on in curbing your dog’s licking behavior.
Set Up An Exercise Routine
Your dog can be licking the couch because of boredom. Always ensure that your pooch has plenty of exercise. A dog typically requires at least 60 minutes of exercise every day, and you can split the duration into two sessions held at specific times of the day, morning and evening.
Less frequent sessions for physical activity can also make your pooch suffer from separation anxiety or be less mentally stimulated, resulting in increased licking behavior.
Get Your Furry Friend Some Toys
Doggies will lick almost anything when bored to keep themselves occupied. To break this streak of boredom and idleness, you should consider getting him some toys.
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Don’t Encourage The Behavior
While licking almost anything, your dog will not know if it is right or not or the extent to which it is licking things. You should control this behavior by training your dog not to lick furniture, fabrics, and other inappropriate objects.
A method to discourage licking is to give your pooch a special treat any time it goes straight for its toys after being caught licking.
Use Of Sprays
You should get sprays or fragrances that remove your body pheromones from fabrics and couches to avert them from sniffing and licking them.
Alternatively, you can also get harmless dog repellent and bitter lemon sprays available to prevent them from tasting the couch.
Keep Your Furniture And Rooms Clean
A primary reason that dogs will be found licking the furniture is because they want to self groom or clean up surfaces of places that they have previously been at.
To prevent them from doing the cleaning themselves thereby insulating bad behavior, you should keep your furniture and rooms clean.
Keep Your Fabrics, Blankets, And Pillows Out Of Reach
It will be very difficult to stop your pooch from sniffing and licking your clothes, blankets, and other things that remind them of you, especially when you are away. For this reason, you should always keep your fabric materials away from their reach.
Provide Your Pooch With The Right Diet
At times, licking things can be an indication of a particular nutrient deficiency in their diet. Providing your furry companion with healthy food having sufficient calories and is rich in proteins, multivitamins, and essential minerals will stop any inclination towards a licking behavior.
Consult A Veterinarian
Many reasons can lead to inappropriate licking behavior in dogs. Some reasons range from medical issues like obsessive-compulsive disorder, gastrointestinal issues, nutrient deficiency, and pica.
These medical conditions are best diagnosed by a veterinarian. When diagnosed, your vet will give you the appropriate treatment measures to help your furry friend.