Many dog owners might not think twice about those sweet licks and kisses from their furry best friend. But have you ever wondered why dogs lick you, other dogs, items around the house, or even themselves? Learn how dogs lick, when licking is a problem, and what you can do about licking behaviors.
Reasons Why Dogs Lick
When Is a Dog's Licking a Problem?
Not all licking is the same, and just as your dog might simply have an instinctual need to give your face a good lick, in some cases, licking can be a sign of underlying health or behavioral problems. Anxious dogs can lick more as a self-soothing tactic to help calm stress. Likewise, dogs with an infection, arthritis, an allergy, a gastrointestinal issue, or an injury may increase how much they lick out of discomfort.
What to Do About Obsessive Licking?
If you're concerned, it's always best to rule out any medical issues to ensure your dog isn't experiencing a serious problem. So, if you see any worrying signs of licking problems, the first thing you should do is contact your vet. After you rule out potential health problems, then it's time to grab that bone and get ready to start digging into behavioral causes and solutions for licking.
1. Consider Positive Reinforcement Training
Training your pet to stop licking can help reduce how often your dog licks and give you an opportunity to reward him or her for healthier behaviors. You can have a go at DIY positive reinforcement training by giving your dog a treat when you say a command like “leave it.” Keep the command consistent, and be sure to give your dog praise for following the command.
2. Play with Your Pup
If your dog is bored and has high energy, keeping your dog fit can help decrease boredom and the licking habits associated with it. Consider taking your dog on routine walks, out for playdates, or to the local dog park to keep your dog stimulated. An interactive treat toy or game of fetch can also add some indoor fun to a dog's routine on days where it's just too wet, hot, or cold to go out.
3. Use a Licking Mat
Many of our customers have reached out to us to let us know that they appreciate licking mats because their vets recommended them to get a licking mat for licking problems. With that, here are a few of our bestselling licking mats:
Until next time--