Why Do Dogs Lick Furniture?

We got a new puppy recently, and one of the first things we noticed is that she licks everything! Our faces, her toys, the floor. But one of the weirdest things she often licks is the furniture. With two messy kids at home, I know she licks the floor to score delicious treats, but why does she lick the furniture there’s no way it tastes good, right? POPSUGAR spoke with two veterinarians to get to the bottom of why dogs do this and how frustrated dog owners can get them to stop.

“Some dogs will also lick furniture if they are bored or anxious,” Ruth MacPete, DVM , veterinarian and co-founder of VetDerm Solutions Moisturizing Pet Shampoo, told POPSUGAR. “If your dog isn’t licking furniture constantly and can be easily distracted from that behavior, it is a good sign that they may be bored and looking for mental and physical stimulation,” Dr. Glass told POPSUGAR.

Why does my dog lick fabric?

DEAR BARBARA: Believe it or not, fabric licking — or obsessive licking — is not unusual in dogs. It could be a sign of illness, of stomach upset or a behavior linked to anxiety. … Dogs often will lick fabric if they have an upset stomach — it apparently is their version of Pepto-Bismol.

Why does my dog lick the furniture and carpet?

Sometimes when dogs are feeling anxious, depressed, or stressed they can act out in terms of licking. Boredom, too, can be a reason that your dog has taken to licking the carpet. Other factors for constant floor licking could be canine dementia, physical discomfort, or neurological problems.

Why does my dog keep licking everything?

A dog’s excessive licking of surfaces is most likely a result of a medical condition leading to nausea or gastrointestinal distress. It may occasionally be a result of anxiety or conflict leading to displacement behaviors and eventually an actual compulsive disorder.

Why do older dogs lick furniture?

It could be a sign of the onset of a medical condition or dementia. Licking can also alert you to neurological conditions or anxiety as your older dog becomes disorientated. Excessive licking is linked to nausea, seizures, loss of sight and hearing as well as an obsessivecompulsive disorder.

Your pooch’s quirkiness is part of her charm, but sometimes odd behaviors become concerning. While your furry friend naturally explores with her senses of smell and taste, obsessive or compulsive licking indicates a problem. If your dog compulsively licks couches, carpeting and beds, you should figure out why.

Allergies, parasitic infections, digestive disorders, pain and other problems can all prompt your pooch to do strange things, including lick your floors and furniture. Start by assuming the problem is too little stimulation and socialization, because it’s the most probable explanation for your dog’s weird licking behavior, and because there’s no downside to increasing attention and activity.

If boredom and loneliness were causing her to obsessively or compulsively lick the couches, carpet and beds, the behavior should quickly fade away with these sorts of remedies.

Dogs are not equipped to do most of the nervous actions humans have, like biting nails or drumming their fingers. So they sometimes lick a lot. But thats not the only reason for licking.

If your dog is left alone in the house and starts to get bored with his toys, he may try to occupy his time until you (his favorite person) return home. The sensation of licking soft fabric might help the dog to cope and relieve his feelings by keeping himself occupied.

The possibility of your dog having sniffed out some microscopic food particles ingrained in the fabric is always there. To stop this excessive behavior, you can simply redirect your dogs focus by providing an alternative activity to keep him busy. You can also try Positive Reinforcement training by rewarding the dog when he stops licking at your command.

Be aware that you have to stop this behavior because this pure licking can sometimes change into biting or tearing your blankets. As your dog naturally explores things using his sense of smell and taste, compulsive and obsessive licks for carpets, blankets, couches, and furniture may be an indication of a serious health condition. Additionally, some bacterial and fungus infections may cause itchiness, which would lead to excessive licking.

The licking releases endorphins, which is the bodys natural pain- killer that helps to soothe the pain. Accordingly, consulting your vet will be required to diagnose and get the suitable treatment for your dogs condition. Walls, colors, wooden furniture, and even pillows might contain essential minerals that the dog is lacking.

Alternatively, consuming weird and unusual things is a dogs way of curing him of abdominal pain and feeling generally unwell. Maybe you began spending more extended periods outside the house, leaving your long alone for a longer time, causing anxiety. Alternatively, maybe drink, or food has got stuck to the blanket, or unintentionally rewarding your dog when he does this behavior.

The dog may like the salty taste of your sweat or dead skin cells on the blanket. In that case, you will help your vet or dog behaviorist figure out the suitable treatment options. If you tend to give your dog the things he wants, such as treats, toys, or even attention when he licks your blanket.

Your dog will be ingesting fibers from the fabric, your hair, as well as his own, in addition to dust particles and other dirt and debris that may lead him to get an intestinal blockage. Give your dog more time to exercise and play; you can even get him some new toys, take him to the park more often, or enroll him in doggy daycare. If loneliness and boredom were causing his compulsive licking behavior, it should quickly fade away with these sorts of remedies.

We all know that dogs have a particular affinity for licking things in general. Dogs will lick random objects, you, and even things around the house, such as the sofa or carpet.

And because the dog has no other means to get the deficient vitamins in their diet, they will get it by any meanseven if it involves licking your furniture. Furthermore, if your dog doesnt have access to grass, they will find a substitute such as licking your furniture.

If the licking isnt constant and you can make your dog stop at the moment, then its probably nothing to worry about. You may be surprised to know that stress and anxiety are also reasons that your dog will start obsessively licking furniture. There are some circumstances of excessive licking that may lead you to believe that your dog has OCD ( Obsessive Compulsive Disorder ).

To help paint a clearer picture, imagine if it were a person that constantly bit her nails when she felt anxious. A veterinarian will be able to determine the best course of action if he or she thinks that the anxiety is mild and can get treated with distraction tactics. If none of those methods work and you still feel like something isnt quite right, think about getting your dog examined for dementia, or GI (gastrointestinal) issues.

If the vet doesnt think that theres an underlying health problem, they may start your dog off on some basic anxiety medication. Dogs generally tend to lick things as a method of exploration and to learn their new environment.

Why do Dogs Lick Furniture?

Mostly likely, your dog licks furniture for the same reason she licks anything — it simply feels or tastes good. A common cause? Spilled food.”I have certainly caught my dogs with their noses between the sofa cushions or standing on the table cleaning up after my kids,” Antje Joslin, DVM, veterinarian for Dogtopia, a dog daycare, boarding, and spa franchise told POPSUGAR. “We sometimes sit on furniture after a good sweaty work out and our smell and salty sweat residue may pique the interest of some dogs. This sort of behavior can be easily remedied by training and/or more frequent exercise.”However, that’s not the only reason your dog may be licking at couch cushions or chair legs. “Sometimes licking furniture is behavioral, it can be a response to boredom or lack of exercise and is a way for dogs to occupy themselves,” said Dr. Joslin. “Dogs are naturally inclined to like the texture of wood; therefore, it is not uncommon to catch dogs licking or chewing on table legs or couch ends if they are bored and have nothing to occupy themselves with. Again, this is a behavior that can easily be stopped by training, exercise, and environmental stimulation.”Another reason dogs may lick furniture is because they are experiencing gastrointestinal discomfort or may not have a well-balanced diet. “Dried kibble lacks a lot of the essential proteins and vitamins dogs need due to the cooking process, since they’re cooked at very high temperatures. Thus, it loses the nutritional value as a result,” said Aziza Glass, DVM, expert veterinarian for FreshPet.Obsessive licking, however, could be a behavioral issue. “Some dogs will also lick furniture if they are bored or anxious,” Ruth MacPete, DVM, veterinarian and co-founder of VetDerm Solutions Moisturizing Pet Shampoo, told POPSUGAR. This behavior can release endorphins, which helps your dog to self-soothe. “If your dog isn’t licking furniture constantly and can be easily distracted from that behavior, it is a good sign that they may be bored and looking for mental and physical stimulation,” Dr. Glass told POPSUGAR. “Meanwhile constant or obsessive licking is a sign of deeper forms of anxiety and stress in your dog.”

Obsessive/Compulsive Behavior

Your first concern is to decide whether your four-legged friend’s couch, carpet and bed licking qualifies as an obsessive or compulsive behavior. Difficult as it is to believe, your dog may have a perfectly good reason for licking these surfaces. Crumbs on the furniture and floor are obvious inducements. If you use a lotion or other topical product with a yummy smell that lingers after you get up off the bed or couch, that’s another. However, if your pooch licks for no apparent reason, if she does it often or aggressively and in a repetitious way, if she seems completely spaced out while licking or if you can’t interrupt or stop her, it’s an obsessive or compulsive behavior.

Causes

Obsessive and compulsive licking in dogs have a few standard causes. Your dog probably singled out the couches, carpet and beds for “acceptable” reasons before the behavior became obsessive or compulsive, and it has since escalated. The most likely explanations are that your pooch is under-stimulated, under-socialized or experiencing stress and anxiety. Canine cognitive dysfunction, which is basically dementia in dogs, and other neurological problems also cause obsessive and compulsive licking, as can other illnesses. Allergies, parasitic infections, digestive disorders, pain and other problems can all prompt your pooch to do strange things, including lick your floors and furniture.

Increase Stimulation and Socialization

Start by assuming the problem is too little stimulation and socialization, because it’s the most probable explanation for your dog’s weird licking behavior, and because there’s no downside to increasing attention and activity. Of course, put in a call to your vet, to see if he wants to schedule a checkup. Exercise and play with your pooch, get her some new toys, enroll her in a doggy day care, take her to the park, set up pup playdates with a friend’s pet, get a compatible second dog or otherwise find ways to stimulate and socialize your dog more. If boredom and loneliness were causing her to obsessively or compulsively lick the couches, carpet and beds, the behavior should quickly fade away with these sorts of remedies.

Why Do Dogs Lick Blankets And Furniture?

Dogs have been given tongues to lick things. If you have an affectionate dog, licking would be something they do quite often.Sometimes, you find a damp patch on your sofa, indicating that your dog probably has been licking the furniture in your absence. While he gives you an innocent expression on his face, you may wonder why he did that!Although licking is part of a dog’s charm, the excessive and unusual licking becomes a concern and a sign of an underlying problem. This may indicate a medical or behavioral reason.

Licking Blankets:

The behavioral reasons for dogs licking or grooming themselves, furniture or other surfaces are usually more common than having medical reasons. Dogs may start the habit of licking because they like the salty taste of their owner’s skin or the blanket’s taste, which is a sign of affection or out of habit or boredom.If your dog is left alone in the house and starts to get bored with his toys, he may try to occupy his time until you (his favorite person) return home.The texture of whatever he is licking might remind him of licking your skin and might give him comfort in your absence. If this happens excessively, it might be a sign of stress or anxiety.The sensation of licking soft fabric might help the dog to cope and relieve his feelings by keeping himself occupied. Of course, this might be a good feeling for him, but not good for your soft furnishing.The possibility of your dog having sniffed out some microscopic food particles ingrained in the fabric is always there. These food particles could be anything. The dog could find the scent irresistible; however, he is unable to trace its source, so he would lick away at the furniture, hoping to find whatever tasty had left its mark there.This licking behavior can also be calming or soothing, just like humans sometimes receive a relaxing massage to calm down.We can sum up the complete list of behavioral problems in:To stop this excessive behavior, you can simply redirect your dog’s focus by providing an alternative activity to keep him busy. You can also try “Positive Reinforcement training” by rewarding the dog when he stops licking at your command.Be aware that you have to stop this behavior because this pure licking can sometimes change into biting or tearing your blankets.

Why Do Dogs Lick Couches?

If your companion is licking furniture, there may be several logical reasons as to why. For example, if your pet was at home alone bored with their toys, then licking the furniture just may have been something they did to pass the time until you arrived home.Something to consider is the texture of the sofa, chair, or whatever piece of furniture that they are licking. Licking these surfaces may remind your dog of licking your skin, and it provides comfort until you return home.However, if your dog begins to lick the furniture too much, it could be that they are nervous or stressed. The feeling of licking the soft fabrics may help your dog cope with feelings that may be troubling them. That can be good for them but obviously not for your furniture.Here are a few other reasons, explained in more detail:

Scents

Dog’s have the amazing ability to sniff out the smallest particles of food. It could be that your dog found some small pieces of food lodged in the fabric of your couch.Maybe he was driven by an enticing scent to seek out that morsel of food. So your dog licked and licked the furniture while being able to track down the source of the irresistible smell.

Vitamin Deficiency

You may want to consider that your dog is missing something essential in its diet.Dogs are known to lick at furniture when they have a vitamin or mineral deficiency in their diet. And because the dog has no other means to get the deficient vitamins in their diet, they will get it by any means—even if it involves licking your furniture.

Sickness

When dogs do odd things, it could be your dog’s attempt to cure themselves of abdominal pains or just feeling sick in general. Dogs eating grass are an example of this.Furthermore, if your dog doesn’t have access to grass, they will find a substitute such as licking your furniture.

Boredom

Make sure that your dog isn’t licking your furniture out of pure boredom. Be sure to provide your dog with stimulating activities and toys that they are interested in.If your dog is bored, there is a good chance that your dog can resort to something like licking the furniture to simply pass the time. If the licking isn’t constant and you can make your dog stop at the moment, then it’s probably nothing to worry about.

Anxiety

You may be surprised to know that stress and anxiety are also reasons that your dog will start obsessively licking furniture. If you just moved to a new house or in a new neighborhood, even brought in a new pet, they may be telling you that they’re uneasy about the change.Much like us, dogs are used to routines and they develop habits and attachments along the way. This can get remedied by adding in a little more physical exercise, socialization, and other forms of stimulation for your pup.You could, you’re up to it, try playing with them a little more. They will enjoy puzzles, playdates with other dogs, and just good old-fashioned running around in circles.Exercise is known to be an effective stress reliever and it’s a remedy that’s good for your dog even if they aren’t experiencing any stress or anxiety.

Does My Dog Have OCD?

There are some circumstances of excessive licking that may lead you to believe that your dog has OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). If you find that you’re unable to distract your dog from licking the furniture, or they lick aggressively and intensely, almost in a routine fashion, it may be OCD.To help paint a clearer picture, imagine if it were a person that constantly bit her nails when she felt anxious.A veterinarian will be able to determine the best course of action if he or she thinks that the anxiety is mild and can get treated with distraction tactics. In more severe circumstances it might require corticosteroids. Either way, the best solution will always include your continued love and support.