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Why Dos My Dog Lick Everything?

There are many reasons why dogs might lick people or the things they have in their environment, but sometimes, these reasons can be of a medical or behavioral nature.

In today’s article, we are looking at some of the most common causes of constant licking in dogs. As sweet as a slobbery kiss from your canine friend might be every now and then, it can also be a worrying sign if it happens a little too often.

5 Reasons Why Your Dog Seems to Lick Everything

Anxiety or stress

Some dogs can be a little more anxious than others and there are pets that can experience severe stress when they are taken to the vet clinic, for example. You might notice that this behaviour shows up specifically when a stressful event is about to take place.

On the other hand, some dogs can develop chronic anxiety if they are left alone for a long period of time during the day (such as when you go to work) or if they have to live with someone else when you travel.

Moving houses, weird and loud noises, or the addition of a new canine member to your family can all cause excessive licking in dogs.

Since chronic anxiety calls for medication, you should take your dog to the vet to seek proper medical assistance and a possible prescription to manage the symptoms better.

Besides prescription medication, your vet might also recommend some calming chews and essential oils or other alternative ways of dealing with your dog’s anxiety. Usually, spending more time with your pooch, going out for long walks, and making sure you play with your pet for at least 30 minutes per day can solve the issue.

Pica

If your dog licks almost everything in your home, including the paint on the walls, then something is definitely off. The name of this condition is Pica, but dogs can mostly develop it as a result of not getting the right nutrients from their food.

On the other hand, there are dogs that do eat good quality food but still suffer from malabsorption or a drop in amount of pancreatic enzymes in their system, which will make them ravenous and wanting to lick unnatural things.

Another potential cause of Pica is the presence of intestinal parasites. Your vet can perform a number of tests that can determine the exact cause of this medical issue so your canine friend can receive the proper treatment.

Allergies

Skin problems such as allergies and infections can be at the root of the problem, too. However, the dogs that have one of these conditions mostly lick their own skin rather than things around the house or their owners.

If your pet does have a skin health issue, excessive licking can make it more severe. Dogs can develop rashes and infect their skin lesions. Red spots, itchiness, as well as alopecia (missing fur) are not uncommon in animals that have this condition.

Sampling or liking the taste

If you have been a dog parent before, you probably know that this type of behaviour is particularly common in puppies.

Typically, it should go away on its own by the time the pup gets to the age of 9 months or a year, but if it doesn’t, something else might be happening, so you should contact your veterinarian.

Cognitive dysfunction

Canine cognitive dysfunction is a disease that affects geriatric patients. It is, therefore, more common in senior dogs as they can develop a form of what we, humans, would call dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Pets that have cognitive dysfunction can develop repetitive behaviours, one of which can be licking. Other symptoms that you might notice if your mate has this health problem includes failing to remember commands to general confusion, unexplained anxiety, and hiding away for hours behind the furniture.

Unfortunately, like its counterpart in humans, canine cognitive dysfunction cannot be completely cured. Some types of drug therapy and significant environmental changes where there’s nothing that might stress the dog in their living space can improve the clinical signs.

 

When should you be worried?

As you probably know by now, every dog is unique. So while there are several reasons why your pooch might exhibit this behaviour, you shouldn’t necessarily consider it a medical emergency from the get-go.

When it does happen day in and day out and your dog is also showing other symptoms, it’s definitely time to go to the vet. Try to think of anything that might have been changed in your home recently. Have you had a baby? Did you move houses? Have you brought in a new pet that your dog now has to compete with for your affection?

These are all questions that can help you understand why your dog might be licking you and everything in your living space.

Also, ensure that you deworm and deflea your dog once every several months. Intestinal parasites can cause pica in dogs, especially in puppies, and fleas can cause dermatitis which can make your dog develop a range of symptoms, one of which is excessive skin licking.

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