RSS Feed

Ask Amy-Why Is My Dog A Licking Maniac?

Posted on
Sebastion and Mabel

Sometimes licking goes a wee bit overboard! This is Sebastion and Mabel (thanks to Copr. Esagirl for sharing!)

Dogs lick for all kinds of reasons. We like to think of those slurpy tongue-swipes as canine kisses, and certainly they can be a way for your pet to show affection. In puppies, licking can be a way to show deference to an older dog and even adult dogs may use licks to show respect to their people. It may even be a way for dogs to show their love.

Dogs also use lip licking as an appeasement gesture. These are signals that other dogs  interpret, “I mean no threat.”You may catch your dog lip-licking when he feels stressed in a strange environment at the vet, for example.

Licking also is used to self-groom, but that can get out of hand when a dog lick-lick-licks a sore such as a hot spot. Other times, dogs just lick out of boredom when it becomes a habit or they’re rewarded in some way for the behavior.

Magical-Dawg loves to lick my hands after I’ve used lotion. Or when I’ve eaten (by hand) KFC or something similar. I’ve also heard reports of dogs who lick-lick-licked a particular spot on the owner that–once examined by a human doc–turned out to be cancer! While licking has many potential reasons, from serious to innocuous, it shouldn’t be shrugged off, either.

Today’s Ask Amy describes yet another licking issue. Yes, dogs can have OCD problems. Have you ever had a dog who displayed obsessive-compulsive behaviors? Magical-Dawg is pretty obsessive about his Frisbee (he has a 6-Frisbee-A-Day habit). That’s the way I keep Magic happy–how do you know your dog is happy? How would you deal with a dog that licks everything all the time?

I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, listen to the weekly radio show, check out weekly FREE PUPPY CARE newsletter, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter with pet book give-aways!

About amyshojai

Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified animal behavior consultant (dogs/cats), award winning author of 30+ pet care titles and thrillers, and spokesperson to the pet industry.

8 responses »

  1. I love this picture Amy, how cute are they? My dog loves to lick the lotion off my legs, in fact I think he likes to hear me squeal when he does it, he really does seem to love the taste of that lotion. When he was younger he used to do this thing we called a brain lick. It felt like he stuck his tongue up our nose clear through to our brains. Now that he’s a senior citizen he doesn’t do it anymore — perhaps his tongue isn’t as limber? Or maybe he found out it really is gross. LOL

  2. We have a pug-terrier that we adopted at a year old. She licks everything and everyone. She is compulsive about it and I have no idea how to change her behaviour. She will crawl under the blanket on teh sofa and lick until the sofa is SOAKED and her tongue must be raw. We try not to let her lick us, but she would lick non-stop if allowed.

    The other strange thing she does is suck on her dog pillow. She gets it in her mouth and then kneads it with her front paws.

    We’ve assumed it was an anxiety thing. Love your shirt in the video btw.

    • Thanks so much for commenting. My German shepherd also sucks on his stuffed toys, and kneads. The kneading and suckling resemble puppy nursing behaviors so it makes sense that this could be a comforting behavior. In cats we consider kneading to be a sign of contentment.

      If this licking behavior is truly compulsive, the veterinarian could advise you about possible drug intervention that could help your dog. Also, maybe offering alternative targets like a puzzle toy filled with part of the dog’s food could give her a legal outlet for nosing and licking.

      Oh, and I love that top, too! They’re called “clown sleeves” and are too much fun!

  3. Lucky Licky. Well his name is Lucky and he’s lucky to be alive. He was nearly dead when a friend found him, took him to a vet and named him Lucky. But Lucky needed another home and that’s how we have him. All I can say there is NO Dog who can lick faster than Lucky. In fact, I’d put him up against any snake for his quickness. And he’ll lick anything. Anything. He does all you listed and more. I’ve never had a licker before. There is not stopping his licking. None. Lucky is OCD and ADD. But Lucky is the lovingest, loyal and sweetest dog. You gotta love this guy. So we just try to keep him to slowed down and assured and sure enough, he’ll lick a kiss on your leg. Hand as it hangs down. Your face if he can get to it. Deliver a bath if you let him.

    • LOL Judy! Lucky, indeed–the dog, AND you. *s*

      Hey, we could have a contest. The fastest dog-lick, but who would want to judge it? I can hear Lucy of Peanuts fame now…EEW, DOG GERMS!

  4. Pingback: The End is Near (and we deserve it). . . . Tide Detergent Cleaning Up on Black Market « Author Piper Bayard

  5. Fantastic post, I’m a huge dog lover myself.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: