My lifelong buddy Max licked everything from me to furniture. While I was never skeptical about this because he was not obsessed with licking.
However, I have seen plenty of other dogs licking everything like crazy. If your dog is sleeping with you in the same bed, there’s more chance of licking because of your smell.
But that’s okay. It’s their primal and natural behavior that runs in their blood. Bed licking can be annoying as it can soak the bed and make you feel uncomfortable.
So as an owner you need to know the reasons behind such acts before you can come to a solution. As far as my experience with dogs I can see 7 reasons behind bed licking.
7 reasons why dogs lick bed.
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Pure affection for the owner.
Dogs as we all know they have superior loyalty to their human owners. That’s probably the foremost reason behind keeping a dog at home.
And this particular trait can be seen in wide forms of behavior from your dog. Licking can also be a good sign of loyalty and love for their owners.
When you and he share the same bed, there will always be your smell on it. Believe me, your dog just loves your smell. That’s the reason it licks the bed. In this way, the smell becomes more prominent and identifiable.
Try not to punish him. Just give your attention and a reward for stopping the behavior.
Obsession has no name.
Obsession can happen to anyone. Even human beings have obsessions for different things. For dogs that lick without any particular reason and keeps doing it repeatedly, it may have Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
And that’s not good news!
The behavior might initially start from a likeness to a particular smell. This may come from any type of lotion or deodorant you are using.
But with time, if the behavior persists even if there is no apparent smell, then that’s obsessive behavior. You can become sure if your warnings and endeavor of stopping it no longer work on the poor dog.
While there is nothing to panic about the issue but you should consult your vet as soon as possible.
Marking his territory.
If you own a cat, you must have seen how he licks his paws, his bed, and his surroundings. It’s their natural way to keep clean.
The same goes for your dog. Feline and canine both lick their surrounding areas before they sleep. It makes them calm and sure about the cleanliness of the place.
While they lick the bed, they are also spreading their own smell. In this way, they mark their territory. As long as the smell is present, they feel safe and comfortable.
It’s a good sign of good pets and nothing to worry about.
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Fear of separation.
Dogs develop high loyalty to their pack once they start living with it. If you have a dog at home, he might get too much attached to you and your family members.
So it’s best to give him more time and take him out with your often. If he is prone to be left alone often separation anxiety might develop.
This might start as early as puppyhood or at a later stage of life. And licking can be a sign of this anxiety.
If you notice he is licking when you are about to leave or preparing to leave, the separation anxiety is causing him to do it.
Lack of stimulation.
Yes, stimulation! And your dog needs a lot of it.
Dogs love to live an active life with lots of fun and running around. My dogs hate boredom, so I take them out to play often. When I can’t, I make sure there is someone else to take care of that. Hence, I never saw them licking around.
Some dogs need fewer activities, your dog might need more. So you got to understand how much he needs to exercise or play. It can also depend on the dog breed as well.
Give more brain exercises that he can solve and remain busy. In that way, the licking can reduce considerably.
For relieving stress and anxiety.
One of my friends has a dog named Thor. They moved in near us just a few months ago. And I have since seen the dog lick just about everything. I talked about it with my friend and got to know that this problem never occurred before.
After moving here, the dog got skin allergy, and it seems to relieve the tension by licking the bed and all surroundings. Even the people that came in their home were not saved from his licking.
Physical pain and stress can cause such issues in dogs. You need to identify the issue and take care of that. Hopefully, the licking will reduce over time.
Different types of medical issues that are not visible might cause your dog to lick. Licking acts as a natural pain killer that releases endorphins. Some of these medical issues might cause licking:
- Infections from bacteria and fungus.
- Gastrointestinal issues.
Your dog’s licking can be a sign of pain. So, if you can’t find out the reasons behind it get in touch with a vet. Because things might worsen if left untreated.
Solution for licking.
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Give them more activities: Idle dogs become irritated and also bored. The more he gets occupied with meaningful work, the less time he gets for licking. Try brain games like the treasure hunt, hide and seek, etc. He will be happy to be doing so. And regular exercise should be just about perfect.
Keep them with you often: Lonely dogs do licking often. Their belongingness to the pack doesn’t allow them to remain lonely for too long. Get more time for him so that he can socialize and be with you.
Provide chewy food: Chewy foods can also help. Bones and other stuff are healthy and also act as a stress reliever.
Train yourself and become a more assertive leader: If you get yourself trained to become a more assertive leader and bring in positive reinforcement in your dog’s life, his licking will reduce. Dogs can sense the change of behavior in their owners, and that’s what you need.
Relieve her pain and stress: Give your dog medications and treatment for any pain or disease he might have. If that cannot be identified meet your vet ASAP!