Does your dog offer sloppy wet kisses left and right?
Whether you’re excited, upset, or slightly concerned, you surely have the same burning question on your mind: Why do dogs lick everything in sight?
Why Do Dogs Lick?
There are many reasons a dog will lick you – you might be showing affection or getting your attention. It can also be a sign of stress and anxiety. Dog licking may seem simple, but it’s such a complex behavior with so many different meanings. And if you’re concerned that your dog is licking you (or yourself) too much, you should consult a veterinarian to determine if there is an underlying condition.
1. Show affection
We all wish we could have a decent conversation with our canine companion. Since words are not an option for your pup, they had to find another way to convey feelings to you. The drooling dog kiss is just her way of showing affection and making your day better. This is a great way to tell how much you mean to them when your dog licks you.
2. Attention seeking behavior
If you’ve always paid attention to loving licking your dog, don’t be surprised if this is the first choice if your pup wants to keep your eyes on them. This is just your dog saying, “I love you, but I need something from you.” And because it’s not always obvious why dogs are licking, you usually need to investigate the behavior further. Maybe the water bowl is empty or you are hungry and want some goodies. Solve the puzzle and your dog will reward you with plenty of tail wagging.
3. Stress or anxiety
If your dog is licking excessively, it may also indicate stress or anxiety. Loud noises, moving house, or fear of separation can cause the puppies to be stressed enough to look for ways to calm down. Licking releases endorphins that help the dog calm down in stressful situations. If you’ve ever wondered why dogs lick feet, one of the reasons is that for some reason their surroundings have become unstable and they are looking for comfort.
So, if you see your dog grooming or licking you more than usual, look for ways to distract them from their problems. Go for a walk together, spend some time playing with a favorite toy, or treat them to a nice meal full of delicious things they love. If that doesn’t help, consider a visit to the veterinarian for a treatment plan.
4. Skin allergy or infection
Dogs lick their feet to solve skin problems too. These could be allergies or sores that require your attention as excessive licking can sometimes cause even more damage. Redraw spots or lack of fur are some of the tell-tale signs to watch out for. If licking becomes the norm, don’t wait long before taking her to the vet.
Some dog owners have watched their canine companions lick pretty much every surface in the house. If you’re wondering why my dog is licking everything in sight, you’d be surprised to find out that this strange behavior is actually a condition called “pica” that makes dogs crave non-food items. If there are no nutrients in their diet, this may be enough to keep your pup looking for them in the least obvious places, and sometimes it’s just a behavior.
A visit to the vet is enough to determine whether the missing nutrient is due to the diet or a parasite, and which treatment is more appropriate so that your dog no longer licks everything.
6. Cognitive dysfunction
Repetitive behaviors like licking can also indicate neurological disorders. Cognitive dysfunction in dogs is a dementia-like condition in humans and one of the first symptoms is excessive licking. Whether a certain point on your body, the floor, or a wall, the reason your dog is licking more than usual could be a sign of this serious condition. Be sure to check for any other symptoms associated with this behavior and schedule a visit to the veterinarian to develop a treatment plan.
When should dog licking worry you?
You may be able to tell when your dog’s licking is unusual. Because every dog is different in the way they communicate with their owners, excessive dog licking is usually in the “eye of the beholder,” meaning that there are no strict rules for determining what to look for Are malaise in a dog. However, if your dog is suddenly licking everything and you cannot simply stop the behavior, you should consult a veterinarian to rule out serious illness.
Remember, changes to a dog’s routine can create anxiety in more sensitive pooches. Is there a new pet in the house, a new baby, or a change in schedule? Any new events can disturb your pup’s rest. So, if you are wondering why your dog is licking your feet so much, try to consider what changes have happened recently.
Learn more about Attention-seeking behavior in dogs and discover how to deal with it when it goes too far.
And find out why dogs bark and what it means.