Does Your Dog Lick Things Obsessively?

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dog lickDoes your dog lick things obsessively? A dog licking various objects is considered pretty much normal among pet owners and experts. But when a dog obsessively and abnormally licks the floor, or brick walls, or other objects…that is another story. This type of odd behavior might be caused of either a neurological or physical illness. It is one of the hardest of odd canine behaviors to properly diagnose and treat.

The usual reason for dogs licking at things is that they are curious by nature, and they want to investigate things around them. They use it to gather information from whatever they are licking. But when the licking habit comes to the point where you cannot stop or distract him from doing so, then that is where the abnormality comes.

Does Your Dog Lick Things Obsessively?

The cause of obsessive licking could be caused by many illnesses or diseases, or it could just be a bad habit. Therefore it is important to have a check-up with your local veterinarian first to diagnose your dog and explain things, especially when the licking habit started all of a sudden.

  • The first possible cause is lack of nutrients. Because of this, some dogs subconsciously try to cure the deficiencies by licking various inanimate objects around them. So make sure that your dog gets the right nutrients in his daily meals.
  • Your dog may have Cushing’s disease or Hyperadrenocorticism, in which his adrenal gland produces excessive glutocortisoid which can harm or affect many organs in the body such as the kidney and liver. It is also known to cause the excessive floor licking.
  • Liver failure also causes this weird licking habit. The liver failure might have been caused by Cushing’s disease or some other illness.
  • Some neurological diseases can trigger this odd behavior in dogs, as they interrupt some of the normal functions of the body and organs. Examples of such are obsessive-compulsive disorders, in which dogs like to repeat a certain activity or behavior over and over again. Don’t worry though – medical treatment is available for it, and can usually cure this cause.

If no medical disorder or illness was found by the vet, then the problem could be in the dog’s behavior. Perhaps he might have been stressed by a certain event, such as moving to a completely different environment, someone losing a job or getting pregnant, someone dying. Basically, any major event in your life or the dog’s can cause anxiety in your dog. To deal with this, you should maintain a normal physical routine for your dog, and make sure he gets regular exercise, walks, and outdoor games.

Note that this is emphasized by Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer) in an answer on his website:

…keep this in mind — dog anxiety is usually caused by a lack of exercise or release of energy. In order for Gina to stop her obsessive licking, she needs to be properly exercised and fulfilled. She has become fixated on licking, and you need to help Gina redirect that frustration into dog exercise and ultimately, balance.

You will probably have to do some detective work yourself. For instance, there may cases where when the obsessive licking only occurs at certain times, such as when visitors come to your house. This may be a symptom that your dog may be poorly socialized, or just has a nervous personality. You can soothe him with some good music and a DAP diffuser to calm him down. His own crate or room can help relieve your dog’s stress. Determine what the dog’s fears are, and take appropriate action.

Boredom can also be the root cause of this licking. Maybe he needs more exercise, play time, walking around the neighborhood, or anything to keep him busy. Dog toys and chew toys can also work. You can also take him to different places such as parks and beaches, or you can go trekking or swimming.

Does your dog lick things obsessively? Overall, you just need some good diagnosis of the problem and the right communication with your best friend to eliminate this odd behavior.

Have you ever experienced this behavior with your dog? If so, please share below how you cured it.

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  1. My Zoey is a very obsessive licker but after reading the article I hope it’s only anxiety not that I want that for her although I am going to have her checked Zoey just loves the vet HA HA HA anyway I love you ZOEY YOU and all ANIMALS ROCK ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

  2. My 16 yr old yorkie x has done this all his life. He licks the bed sheets, sofa, me. When he does this, I try to take him out & 9 times out of 10 he needs a poo, because of this I’ve assumed it’s probably to do with anxiety about wanting to go for a poo! We rescued him as a 5 mth old from a dogs home, so maybe it has something to do with his past as a pup in rescue centre? He’s very aggressive towards other dogs also but not sure if there is a connection? Great to hear I’m not the only one with a dog with this problem though. Also heard that probiotic can help with settling a dogs tummy.

  3. Yes please answer if probitics worked or not. My Yorkie has started licking the floor all over and got real sick. She vomited 3 times. Hair was in the second two rounds of vomit. Lits of fuzz and all sorts of things. It started when I came back after leaving her home for four days to visit sick relative.

  4. My family and I have a 4-year-old West Highland/Cairn Terrier we adopted as a puppy of 3 months old. Full of energy and love for all five family members and one year later we purchased a rottweiler puppy 3 months old. They grew up together and the rottweiler follows and does everything my terrier does. Now the rotti is actually drinking the urine of the terrier and it has gotten to point that our terrier will not go out in our backyard because the rotti won’t leave him be, oh yes, they are both males. But what is more of a major problem, the rotti has now started stalking our terrier day and night…he is CONSTANTLY trying to lick him, etc. in the house, everywhere. We have to keep them separated! What type of behavior is this? Please help!

  5. Our dog started doing this 2 nights ago. There was a dog show on TV that he was interested in, he kept standing in front of the TV watching the other dogs. Then he started obsessively cleaning the doona on the couch with his front teeth. He couldn’t be stopped. If we physically got in his way to stop him, he’d start cleaning us. If we moved the doona away, he’d do it to the couch. He only does this in the lounge room, not the laundry where he sleeps. I sat in the laundry with him last night after he’d been cleaning in the lounge room, and he didn’t touch me. He doesn’t do it outside either. He hasn’t been having doggy playtime lately as he got expelled from doggy day care for being too noisy. I think he does miss playing with other dogs, and seeing dogs on TV he couldn’t play with started this behaviour and he’s gone a little bit neurotic. I think (and hope) that’s all this is. I think we’ll try having a treasure hunt in the lounge to distract him next time he comes in so he can associate being in the lounge with good things. Any tips would be welcome. He seems to quite enjoy cleaning obsessively, wagging his tail with excitement while he does it.

  6. Can someone help me pick the right food for my dog. My toy poodle doesn’t stop chewing on everything and licking everything. He chews on rugs and all over his body to the point where he bleeds and even pulled out a nail. I have to keep cone on constantly. Thank you.

  7. I’ve a dog that obsessed with licking firewood, walls and his bed. If anyone has any info or reasons for this, could they let me know please?

  8. HI, I was wondering why my beagle (Snoopy) licks his stuffed bear, i understand that he really enjoys it but after it broke he was really upset by it. so upset that i had to go to build-a-Bear to make him an exact replica of the original bear. he takes this bear to bed with him, always has it with him and when he’s playing with it he rips the stuffing out and licks the bear 23 to 40 times, whenever I’ve tried taking him out for a walk he refuses to go because he wants to stay with his bear the only way i can get him to release the bear is to give him treats and that distracts him enough for a couple of seconds and when we get outside he realizes that Bear isn’t with him and he freaks out and tries to get back inside so sometimes he walks with bear in his mouth even though its just a head now and he worships it I’m not sure its a illness or anything but i find it pretty odd

    • My dog has never been that obsessive to want to take his toy out of the house with him but he has a Halloween themed dog shaped like a pumpkin that he holds and licks consistently. Never chews it or pulls at it. Just lays on the floor with him holding it and licking it all over. If he wants it and I take it away he cries until I give it back.

  9. I’ve got a dog that just started licking our sheets, bedding, pillows, couch, and of course she also licks us. I just started researching this and read somewhere that probiotics helped with licking, and also with scratching, ear infections, and a few other things. I’m going to give it a try and hope that it helps!

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  12. I have a pikoneze and she licks all four of her feet every night before we go to sleep. I think she is just cleaning them. I also have a chi/ pom and every night before sleep she bites her nails, i never have to clip them. I have a chi and she is my obsessive licker, no health issues but if we are in bed she is either licking the sheets or comforter or me, if we are up if she isnt walking around she is licking whatever she is near. My babies are happy and so am i, even with a big wet spot where my pik cleans her feet, and with the bed shakimg a bit with my chi/pom clipping her nails and my chi wetting my sheets and giving me a lick bath. Lol. I love mybabies :-)

    • I have a pekingese to b and she acted like maybe she had something caught in her teeth or mouth but then she just started kicking,she was acting fine before that. Making an appointment tomorrow.shemail seems to be calmer now. So scary, all I want to do is help her and cant.

  13. I retweet many bloggers for an large audience of primarily R+ trainers and dog guardians , on 4 tweeter accounts and a few facebook accounts. I have retweeted many Dogington Post articles without a problem until today, and your unnecessary reference to Cesar Millan’s post. His answer was a good one until he added “Be sure to only give her the appropriate affection and attention when she is in a calm-submissive state; which reflects Cesar’s underlying philosophy.
    WE will not support a P+ Internet Newspaper. Please choose a side to support and be consistent with your position. I guess you already have and so have WE. Most of your articles are R+; I hope one day you make all your articles based in positive reinforcement so that I can repost your articles once again.