If it seems like your dog is licking excessively, you’re likely wondering if this is cause for concern. What seems like your dog licking everything in sight might be a series of completely unrelated normal behaviors that occur as a natural result of your dog navigating the world.
If you’re trying to figure out why your dog seems interested in licking everything they can get their tongue on, there could be many reasons. This behavior is seldom a cause for concern, but learning to spot when licking behavior might be a sign that something is wrong can help you intervene when your dog needs you.
Why Is My Dog Licking the Carpet?
There are several reasons why your dog may be licking your carpet or rug. Considering the circumstances surrounding the pattern of behavior will often help lead you to the answer.
Someone Spilled Food
While it’s gross to see a dog rooting for the garbage, it’s easy to understand why they would be poking around for chicken bones. It’s very strange to see your dog licking the carpet, but the same concept may apply.
If the carpet is in an area of your home where you eat or where young children may have been snacking, your dog might be routinely checking the spot for delicious crumbs.
Children can be messy eaters. It’s important to work with your children to develop better habits, but these things happen in their own time. In the meantime, limit snacks to designated areas and check the carpet after mealtimes. If you have a robotic vacuum, let it run after dinner to capture stray crumbs.
Your Dog Is Bored
If your dog is licking, chewing, or digging at the carpet in a particular spot, this could be a sign that your dog is lacking stimulation. If your dog doesn’t have enough fun toys or doesn’t get an appropriate amount of exercise, damaging your carpet may have become a “fun” hobby.
Give your dog some puzzle toys to entertain themselves with. Allow your dog to run free in your fenced back yard to their heart’s consent when the weather is appropriate. Try to keep your dog active and engaged. Eventually, your dog will be too content and too tired to dig up the carpet.
Your Dog Is Unhappy
There are lots of reasons why a dog may be unhappy. Loneliness is a common culprit. If you work long hours and your dog has appropriate access to relieve themselves during the day and an adequate amount of food, water, and toys, it still may not be enough.
Consider hiring someone responsible and trustworthy to walk your dog in the middle of your workday to provide social stimulation and exercise. You can also bring your dog with you to adoption events to see if they can make a friend to play with. If your dog makes a meaningful connection with another dog, consider formally making them siblings.
Why Is My Dog Licking Me?
If you’re the subject of your dog’s licking behavior, there’s almost always a rational reason why. You can choose to dissuade your dog from licking you, or you can embrace the situation, depending on the context. Just make sure you wash yourself up when your dog is done giving you “kisses.”
Out of Love
Dogs lick each other as a form of grooming, and grooming is an act of care. If your dog licks you while you’re playing, petting, or cuddling, this could be your dog’s way of returning your affection in a way that makes sense to them.
If the behavior doesn’t bother you, there’s no reason to make your dog stop. It’s a healthy form of communication for your animal. Just be sure to wash your hands when you’re done spending time with your dog.
If you find the behavior offputting, you can apply bitter spray to your skin. Bitter spray is usually all-natural and won’t harm your dog. After a few licks, they’ll look for a different way to express their affection to you. Your skin will taste yucky to your dog, and they’ll remember that.
Because You Ate Something Tasty
If your dog is licking your hands or your face, consider what you just ate. If you’ve recently enjoyed a piece of pizza or some fried chicken, your dog can smell the oils on your skin. In this case, your dog licking your skin is equivalent to licking your plate clean. They’re lapping up the residual traces of the “people food” they know they aren’t allowed to have.
Wash your hands and face, and brush your teeth. Your dog won’t perceive you as tasty anymore. Make sure your dog’s food dish is full just in case they’re attempting to signal to you they’re hungry.
Because You’re Sweaty
It seems strange to consider that a dog would lick you because you’re sweaty, but it happens more often than you’d think. If you’ve been working out or if it’s really hot outside, there’s a good chance you’ve built up a layer of sweat on the surface of your skin. Your dog might like the unique salty flavor of your sweat.
This isn’t necessarily an urgent problem, but a lot of people find it gross. Most people don’t like to walk around covered in sweat and dog slobber. A quick shower and a change of clothes will usually eliminate your dog’s interest in your salty skin.
Why Is My Dog Licking Themselves?
It’s normal, natural, and even necessary for your dog to lick themselves. In the majority of cases, this is grooming behavior. If you don’t notice any warning signs or risk factors that would imply otherwise, it’s usually not a cause for concern.
Your Dog’s Skin Is Irritated
If your dog’s skin is irritated, your dog may be licking the area to soothe the irritation. Flea bites and allergies often contribute to skin irritation.
Check your dog for fleas. If you see fleas, begin appropriate treatment immediately. If there are no fleas, closely examine the area where your dog is licking.
If the area is visibly red, scaly, or patchy, bring your dog to the vet to be evaluated for potential allergies.
Wash your dog’s bedding with a dye-free, fragrance-free detergent suitable for pets. If you’ve brought new plants into your house or yard, don’t allow your dog to access them unless and until you know they’re safe.
In the interim, you can use a topical soother like VETCBD Hemp CBD Balm to nourish and protect your dog’s skin while it’s healing.
Your Dog’s Joints Hurt
Older dogs sometimes lick or obsessively groom stiff or sore joints. Ask your dog’s vet to examine the situation. Canine arthritis or unnoticed injuries may be the culprit, and these cases will require appropriate and immediate treatment.
Sometimes, joint mobility issues are simply a part of getting older. Adult humans often experience similar aches and pains. Follow your vet’s advice regarding the treatment of joint mobility issues.
Ask your vet if a solution like VETCBD Hemp CBD would be a valuable addition to your dog’s wellness regimen. CBD works to support overall joint health in dogs, as well as normal brain health, normal gastrointestinal health, and occasional environmental distress.
Put Your Pet’s Wellness First
The VETCBD Hemp team includes veterinarians and pet owners. We love our dogs, and like any other pet owners, we believe our dogs deserve the best. Getting licked by an excited dog can be yucky to some, but to us, it’s a sign of love.
When licking behavior could be a sign that something is amiss, talk to your vet. When appropriate, our triple third-party lab-tested CBD products can become an important part of supporting your dog’s wellness, happy-licking included.