Dogs are one of the most popular pets in America. They are loyal and loving, but there is no denying that they can be a little weird sometimes or exhibit behavior that we're unfamiliar with. One of the most common behaviors that we see in dogs is licking. It's common, but it can still be quite mysterious to figure out why your dog licks.
There are several reasons why you might notice this behavior in your pup. Sometimes it can be out of habit, while other times, it can indicate a more severe issue that you'll want to have checked out by your local veterinarian. In this article, we'll cover the top reasons why your dog might be licking so much.
To Soothe Or Calm Themselves
Dogs are pack animals, and they understand the hierarchy of their social group. If your dog is stressed, scared, or upset in some way, they might use licking as a calming tool. Sometimes this is an attempt to simply soothe themselves when no one else is around to give them affection. If it seems like they tend to lick themselves when they're trying to relax or before falling asleep, it's likely just a way to soothe or calm themselves down.
Out Of Anxiety
On the flip side, dogs can also lick out of anxiety. If you notice this behavior more often when your dog is left alone or thinks that they're confined in some way, it could be a sign that they are feeling anxious.
Sometimes these anxieties can increase if you give your dog too much affection before leaving them alone for the day, so give them a little time to adjust and break up the amount of attention you're giving them before leaving. Other factors that might contribute to anxiety licking may be thunderstorms, construction, or other noise that might bother them.
To Show That They Care
Some dogs like to show affection in their own ways. If you notice your dog licking your face or other parts of your body, it's possible that they are doing it because it seems like the most natural thing to do to show that they care. A simple lick when your pup greets you is just them showing that they love you, so don't be freaked out if you feel a wet smooch on your face!
Enjoy The Taste
Some dogs are just happy to lick anything. If you notice your dog licking more things than usual or they seem excited to lick something specific, it could be because of the taste. It's possible that some kind of food has been spilled on the item, so they are drawn to it for this reason alone. Again, this type of licking is not anything to worry about. However, you should investigate what liquid or food they're trying to lick to ensure that they don't consume anything that could be harmful to them.
Out Of Habit
Did you know that sometimes licking is just out of habit? If your dog licks in the same manner, such as when they're grooming themselves or playing with their toys, it's simply a habit. However, you should watch out for signs that there might be something more serious going on if this licking seems excessive or out of the ordinary.
If your dog doesn't seem to be licking out of anxiety, habit, or to soothe themselves and this behavior is new and persistent, it could be a sign that they have allergies. When dogs lick excessively, it's usually because of an itch somewhere.
You should also look out for symptoms of swelling, redness, or scabbing where they are licking. If you notice anything like this, it's essential to bring them to your local veterinarian so that they can provide treatment for any allergies your pup might have.
If your dog has recently undergone any type of surgery, it's possible that they are licking because of pain. Suppose you notice them licking their stitches or other parts where they previously had surgery. In that case, it's important that you take them to see a veterinarian just in case there is underlying pain that needs to be addressed.
Even if they have not undergone any surgery, they may still lick to indicate they feel pain in their body. If you notice them constantly rubbing their face or body on the ground or furniture, avoiding using a part of their body, and licking in the same area repeatedly, they might have pain that needs to be addressed.
If your dog continues to lick the same spot on their body, it could mean they have an infection. If you notice any swelling, redness, or discharge in the area of their skin where they are licking excessively, you must bring them to your local veterinarian so that they can receive treatment for this infection.
If your dog is constantly licking their butt or genital area, it might mean that they have bowel issues. There are a few different reasons why they might do this, such as excessive thirst and feeding, eating too fast, or eating things like a string that could get stuck in the digestive tract. It would be best if you watched out for signs of discomfort in conjunction with behaviors such as loud noises when they pass stool or strained bowel movements.
When is Licking Too Much A Problem?
If you notice that your dog is licking more than normal, it could be a sign of stress, anxiety, or fear. Suppose you catch them doing this in conjunction with the symptoms mentioned earlier, such as avoiding using their body parts, sticking to things like clothing and furniture, and sleeping more than usual. In that case, it's essential that you take them to see a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Dogs licking things excessively can be a sign of boredom, stress, anxiety, allergies, or pain. By understanding the underlying reasons for why they are licking so much, you can provide them with relief and give them your love and affection in the way that is most loved by your pet.
While our pets tend to have silly habits, they're usually things we love the most about them.