Every dog possesses a licking behavior. Mother dogs lick their puppies to groom them, and the puppies lick their siblings when they roll around. There are several reasons why dogs love to lick everything around them or you. Some dogs lick things when they feed bored, while some lick out of compulsion as they get a calming sensation. Though licking is viewed as a self-stimulating activity for dogs, it might seem like a sign of discomfort or anxiousness. Some reasons that can be quoted for licking are:
When something itches
When dogs feel itchy skin, they lick, and it stops their scratchy feeling. Dogs might feel a scratchy feeling because of allergies, flea bites, or some other skin issues.
When something is ouchie
Dogs, by their natural behavior, lick to soothe their irritated skin, and it can be the result of an allergic reaction, injury, or a skin problem. Again, it can also be a method to handle the pain that arises from conditions such as arthritis.
If you find that your dog is licking everything, then you can assume that it is a sign of gastrointestinal upset or infection. In this case, it is important to take your dog to the vet as he can determine whether or not your dog is suffering from an underlying health problem. You must take this issue seriously as too much licking behavior of your dog can result in secondary infections, self-trauma, or undesired destructive behavior.
Though some dogs do lack the magic powers of grooming, they continue to find their tongues significant for a fast bath. A few dogs groom their fur more as it can result in irritated skin and bald patches. Over-grooming can be the outcome of a health condition, and at times, it becomes the reason for boredom, frustration, or anxiety.
Dogs also lick if they suffer from allergies as allergies create itchiness and make them bit, scratch, and skin. When the licking behavior of your dog is localized to some parts of the body, you can assume that your pet is suffering from some kind of allergies. As seasonal allergies are common, you must look for other allergy signs, like skin problems, ear infections, sneezing, and nose or eye discharge.
When dogs become dehydrated or thirsty, they lick to combat their dry mouth, throat, or tongue. The licking of dogs helps stimulate their salivary glands.
If dogs feel something strange or unusual in their mouths, such as a gum injury or a chipped tooth, they might be tempted to lick that spot. Dogs suffering from dental disease or gingivitis lick to ease their pain. If you are a pet owner, you can solve this problem by brushing the teeth of your pet regularly. Alternatively, you can also schedule the annual cleaning of your pet at the vet’s office.
Suffering from pica
Dogs suffer from a condition known as pica. In pica, pets develop an uncommon obsession with licking things that they can’t invest properly, like rocks, feces, grass, sticks, and plastic. Most often, pica is caused by some health condition connected to anemia or a shortage of zinc. If you find your dog to be licking excessively, you need to observe it and take it to your veterinarian.
How can you stop your dog from licking everything?
If your dog licks compulsively, then chances are that it would get into a potentially dangerous situation. Sucking or licking can ruin your rugs and furniture. At times, people do not love the fact that their puppies are trying to kiss them. Following are some suggestions to stop your dog from licking everything he comes across:
Distract the attention of your dog
If you find your dog has been licking everything and too much, you must distract its attention. You can toss a toy or a ball. When your dog watches this, he will begin to play in place of licking. When you do this habitually, your pet will use its toys to satisfy its licking urges, leaving behind your furniture.
Command your dog
Dogs find it tough to lick something ignoring their master or mistress commands. You can command your dog to lie down or sit. This way, it will stop licking momentarily.
Every time you see your dog licking, you must clap and command it to stop at once. You need to be consistent in this. Whenever you find your dog to be doing this, you must repeat this. Hence, your dog will connect its licking habit with your disapproval or an undesired noise.
Move your pet away from the place
When you have a puppy or a small dog, you can pick it up and move it to a different spot. It turns particularly effective when your pet seems to lick the same place repeatedly. It will reinforce that it must not lick the same spot.
Buy an Elizabethan collar
When your dog undergoes surgery, you must stop your pet from chewing or licking their stitches. An Elizabethan collar is a plastic cone that a dog wears after surgery. When your dog licks, then it might be an outcome of a medical procedure. Don’t make your pet wear the Elizabethan cone to prevent general licking unless your vet suggests you do so. Most dogs find these cones to be uncomfortable; hence, you must use them for a brief period only.
Take care of your little friend
Do you spend your day with your furry friend licking their feet or taking care of themselves? It is common for dogs to lick their skin when growing, but this could also indicate allergies or other skin conditions. This is especially true if there is redness, missing hairs, or any abnormalities. These signs could indicate dermatitis or skin inflammation. Most skin infections are caused due to an allergen in your environment, leading to more severe skin conditions that need immediate treatment. Your vet may prescribe oral medication to prevent further irritation of infected areas. Your dog may constantly be licking an area, but if your veterinarian does not notice any irritation, this could indicate joint pain or arthritis. Trust you vet’s judgment. It is best to consult with your veterinarian immediately if you notice any of the activities.