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If you’ve noticed that your dog is constantly licking the furniture, you probably have some questions. Such as, is this normal? Will the constant licking damage your furniture? And is this the cause of an underlying medical condition? Thankfully, incessant licking is a relatively common and treatable issue. It can happen for various reasons, including stress, boredom, odors and crumbs, nutritional deficiencies, and even a wide variety of underlying health issues.
And while licking furniture isn’t likely to harm, leaving the underlying issue unaddressed may lead to long-term health consequences. In this article, we take a look at 4 reasons why your dog is licking the furniture.
4 Reasons Why Your Dog Licks the Furniture
1. Your Dog is Bored
If you notice what seems to be an obsessive compulsion to lick the couch, carpet, or other furniture, boredom may be a cause. While the behavior usually starts because your dog needs to self-soothe or smells something tempting, it eventually becomes automatic when your bored dog is looking for something to do.
To fix boredom-rooted obsessive compulsive behavior, you’ll need to focus on providing more stimulation for your dog, including exercise and toys. This will help them put all their energy into positive behavior, like playing, rather than choosing to lick furniture.
2. Your Dog Smells Something
Did you notice your dog compulsively licking the floor or furniture like they’ve found a tasty treat? With their incredibly sensitive noses, they’re talented at finding crumbs and other treats you wouldn’t ordinarily spot. If this is the case, you can usually address the issue by keeping your furniture clean of crumbs with household rules or a handheld vacuum. You can also use deterrent sprays to help break your dog’s bad habits.
3. Your Dog Has a Nutritional Deficiency
While it might seem strange, a poor diet can sometimes drive dogs to lick and gnaw on things obsessively that aren’t food. This results from pica, a disease caused by certain nutrient deficiencies. To address this, you should ensure the food you’re giving your pup is well suited to the breed and age of your dog. You should also make sure they don’t have food allergies. You may need to consult your veterinarian to resolve the issue entirely.
4. Your Dog is Coping With a Health Problem
In some cases, serious health conditions can cause your dog to engage in strange behavior, like licking the furniture. This can result from neurological issues stemming from diseases like dementia and canine cognitive dysfunction. However, it can also be a coping method for dogs who suffer from chronic pain.
How to Get Your Dog to Stop Licking Furniture
Regardless of what’s causing the issue, it can be challenging to manage a dog who compulsively licks furniture. Luckily, there are methods you can try to effectively resolve and control this obsessive behavior by redirecting their energy and attempting to understand why they’re suffering from compulsions.
Dogs like to explore the world around them. If they’re not given alternative outlets, it’s not surprising that some dogs are tempted to explore the house with their sense of taste. If a lack of stimulation is the issue, it’s easy to resolve. With regular playtime and walks and exposing them to a variety of exciting sights, smells, and sounds, you’ll find that they find better ways to occupy their time. And while they’re at home, a dog with a licking problem will likely enjoy chewing toys to entertain them.
Get Your Dog a Check-Up
In many cases, taking your dog to the vet is one of the best ways to address the issue. While many home remedies are effective, it doesn’t hurt to be sure that your dog is in good health and to have the best advice for your situation. Veterinarians may be able to identify neurological or other issues that can cause compulsive licking behavior and may also be able to provide alternative remedies like prescriptions for anxiety.
Reduce Stress and Anxiety Triggers
Boredom, stress, and anxiety can significantly contribute to excessive licking behavior. The best way to address this strange dog behavior is by providing your furry friend with alternative outlets. You should ensure that your dog receives adequate stimulation, including socialization, playtime, and regular outdoor walks. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, you may also need to investigate prescriptions that can help alleviate particularly anxious temperaments.
Spray Your Furniture With Lick Deterrent
Lick deterrent sprays are commonly available online and at most pet stores, and they’re an incredibly easy, safe, and effective way to address issues with licking furniture. They generally leave behind a bitter taste and are sometimes also scented. The sprays are usually pleasant scents like citronella or lemon, ensuring they make the house smell pleasant while repelling dogs.
An excessively licking dog can be worrying – not to mention disruptive. Luckily, the problem is simple to address. And while excessive licking can sometimes indicate a serious issue, your veterinarian can guide you on how to best resolve the issue and keep your pup happy and away from the furniture!
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Welcome to Spike’s Dog Blog by Acme Canine. Throughout the site, you will find a variety of helpful dog training articles, insightful dog behavior tips, and truthful product reviews from nationally-recognized canine trainers and professionals.