Why Do Dogs Lick Their Beds?

As a pet owner, we know that our dog bounding into our lap and covering our face in kisses can signify affection. However, it’s hard to ignore that your dog also likes to lick furniture, specifically their bed. And while a dog licking their bed can be completely normal, it may also signify that something’s up with your dog’s mental or physical health. So, why do dogs lick their beds and is this an issue you need to be concerned about? Let’s take a look at the possible reasons for this obsessive licking behavior.

They’re Marking Their Territory

Just as a dog may urinate to mark their territory, licking is another way to stake its claim. When a dog licks its bed, especially when first climbing into it, it may just be his way of settling in and getting comfortable. He may also be looking to give the area a clean and spread his scent even more before hanging up his dog leash for the night. In this case, a dog licking his bed is not a cause for concern and is merely a sign that your pup loves its bed!

Their Bed is Tasty

dog eats bone

We can’t rule out the fact that your dog’s bed might simply be tasty, especially if you give your dog a bone or a treat in this very spot before you leave the house. In this case, your dog’s bed almost certainly smells like food, and they’re trying to lick up every last morsel of a remaining dog treat!

Dog Anxiety

Unfortunately, a dog licking its bed is a common symptom of dog anxiety. If you’ve noticed that your dog is licking his bed far more often than when he’s just settling in for the night, he may be licking as a form of self-soothing. In more severe cases, this could also be a symptom of Canine Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Licking releases endorphins, which help your pup feel better. If you notice your dog obsessively licking its bed when you’re about to leave the house for the day, then it’s probable that your furry friend is suffering from separation anxiety.

Under Stimulation

Your dog may be excessively licking its bed simply because it’s bored. When a dog is understimulated, it will often resort to behavior such as licking for no reason other than because it’s an activity. In this case, your pup may be licking its bed to self-soothe.

Age-Related Licking

Age-related licking can occur in senior dogs or, in contrast, tiny pups. Dogs who are elderly may be suffering from dementia, and bed licking is sadly a sign of old age. They may also seem disoriented, irritable and sleep frequently.

Dogs who are very young and have recently been separated from their mama may be licking the bed because they are looking for their mother and siblings. They may also be licking their bed once they come to recognize it as theirs, as licking can be associated with familiarity and forming bonds.

Licking For Attention

Do you give your dog extra attention when they lick their bed? Whether you’re giving them attention because you think this is an adorable habit or because it’s unwanted behavior, your dog will pick up on this and keep doing it. Give your dog plenty of love and affection when not licking the bed; this behavior will quickly decrease.

Allergies

Dog Allergies

Excessive licking is the most common sign of an allergic reaction. While you’ll often notice a dog with allergies licking between their toes and biting and chewing at their skin, they may also be licking other surfaces to find relief – including their bed!

Other Health Problems

An excessively licking dog is often a nauseated dog. Your dog may find comfort in licking its bed because it doesn’t feel well. While a recent change in diet may cause your pup to have an upset stomach, they may also have ingested something that their system doesn’t like (from too much grass to human food!).

Excessive licking may also result from more severe conditions, such as liver issues and inflammatory bowel disease. Your dog may also be experiencing dental problems, causing its mouth to hurt and increasing the need for self-soothing.

Treating Excessive Licking

If you believe your dog’s excessive licking results from an underlying cause like a physical or psychological condition, it’s important to consult with a vet as soon as possible. While licking may be normal behavior in some dogs, it can be the symptom of a potentially serious condition in another dog. Your veterinarian will be able to rule out or confirm any possible medical conditions that may be causing your dog’s bed licking, including allergies.

If your furry friend’s bed licking is not the result of a medical condition but is instead caused by boredom, then there is plenty you can do to rectify the issue. A well-stimulated dog is a happy dog, and it’s important to ensure that you give your dog the exercise and attention they need.

Ensuring your pup gets regular walks and is provided with stimulating toys and treats is a great way to ensure they feel happy and well-loved. Do not increase attention on your dog if they are licking their bed (especially if it’s negative attention), and feed your dog well away from their bed.

Final Thoughts

While a dog licking their bed may be nothing more than them settling in for a good night’s sleep, it may also be a sign of allergies, boredom, or an unfortunate medical condition. Any unusual dog behavior should always be addressed, even if it’s something as seemingly minor as frequent bed licking. You never know when something is causing your dog to be truly uncomfortable, which can manifest in strange or unusual symptoms.

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