Slurp, slurp, slurp… it’s a noise that makes your stomach turn especially after the fourth minute straight.
Licking is your dog’s way of getting to know the world around her through taste. However, it can be excessive. Your dog might lick her paws until she gets pink, raw patches of skin. She might lick your face until it stings. She might lick your sheets, leaving wet spots on your bed.
There’s many reasons why your dog might lick everything.
Common Reasons Dogs Lick Everything
- Nausea – especially if your dog is licking the air and swallowing.
- Skin allergies – especially if your dog is licking their skin until it’s red and raw
- Anxiety – especially if it occurs after a stressful situation
- Dental pain – may be paired with bad breath
- Pica – diet lacks nutrients, so dog may seek them from random surfaces
- Hunger – especially if it occurs before mealtimes
- To get attention – especially if your dog is licking your hands or face
- Neurological disorders – seizure behavior, OCD
Why Licking Gets More Intense At Night
If your dog’s excessive licking gets intense at night, it could be because of their recent dinner. Their food might be causing an upset stomach. Or, it may be many hours after they have eaten, if the licking is caused by hunger.
In either case, you may want to change up your dog’s diet or food routine.
A tummy-friendly bedtime snack can help soothe nighttime licking.
Plain yogurt with probiotics can help your dog’s digestion. Many dogs do not digest dairy well, so you will want to keep servings very small and watch for signs of a tummyache.
Ginger can also soothe your dog’s stomach. Peppermint is also known to soothe nausea. You can make homemade treats with either of these ingredients to give to your dog before bedtime.
Some dogs seem to suckle at blankets at night like a puppy at a teat.
Changing Your Dog’s Food
If you suspect your dog isn’t digesting their food well, you can try a different food to see if that solves the problem.
Make sure the new food is made with a different protein (for example, salmon instead of chicken) and a different grain or vegetable (peas instead of brown rice).
You can take your dog to the vet to get an allergy test for a clearer view of what ingredients they may be allergic to.
When Your Dog Won’t Stop Licking You
If your dog is licking your hands and face, they may be trying to get your attention. An anxious dog might lick to try to appease you.
In this case, you’ll need to pull your hands or face away. Gently nudge your dog away. You may want to keep petting your dog to show them that they do not need to lick you to earn your affection.
If Nothing Helps Excessive Licking
A simple dietary change should help stop the licking if it is a food issue.
If not, see your vet and let them know you are concerned about your dog’s licking habits.
Excessive licking can be caused by a serious illness such as liver disease, an adrenal disorder or a nervous system issue. When in doubt, see a vet.