Do you want to know why dogs lick furniture? Well, I want to know why you humans never lick anything! Do you know how tasty the world is?
Your skin, for example, tastes kind of salty. Plus we lick you to give you lots of kisses because we love you.
But other things are super tasty, like food, or the peanut butter my human uses to get me in the bath!
Sometimes I also lick myself, but that’s usually to clean my paws or something! I’m not a cat, now they are the real weirdos. They lick themselves all the time. Ew.
But okay, okay. I can tell you why we lick furniture sometimes. You know, like when we lick the couch or the bed or the pillow or the carpet or the chair or the table or…well, you get the idea. Why do we do it?
There are actually many reasons why we might be licking your furniture, and I’m so clever that I can tell you about them all! I’ll even organize it:
- Interactive Exploration:
Okay so this isn’t actually a thing, but sometimes we’re just licking your furniture to figure out what it is!
This will usually happen if the furniture is new or it’s the first time we’re seeing it. We might give it a few licks and a sniff to figure out what it is and get used to it!
If we’re licking your furniture, we might just be bored! We dogs are really active and we get bored very easily.
If we don’t have any toys or things to do, we might just pass the time by licking the furniture instead because it gives us something to do.
Other animals do this as well! Just make sure we have something to do, and we’ll leave your furniture alone. It’s not that interesting or fun anyway…
- Anxiety and Stress:
Licking your furniture repetitively or really often can be a sign of anxiety and stress. This is because repetitive licking actually releases endorphins, and it helps us become more calm. King of like an auto-soothing coping mechanism, you know?
We can be stressed or anxious for many different reasons, such as being uncomfortable with the situation at home or different people being present, or lots of new changes in our environment.
It can also develop into a serious problem in which we need medication, so it’s always a good idea to take us to the vet (even though we hate going there).
- Obsessive-compulsive Disorder:
Do you know how some humans bite their nails obsessively? We can have a similar thing with licking. This is when we can’t be distracted from licking and it has nothing to do with our environment, we’re just ultra-focused on licking constantly.
This can be an obsessive-compulsive disorder, and you will need to take us to the vet for some professional help if it persists.
Sometimes, this OCD can be a result of previous circumstances or the environment, so any dog can end up having it!
There can be other reasons why we lick your furniture. Maybe we’ve done it so many times that it has become a habit that we don’t know how to break out of.
If you can’t figure out the reason, just take us to the vet! They’re the experts, after all!
So, to answer your “why do dogs lick furniture” question…it depends! There’s not a one-answer-fits-all, so it depends on each dog and the circumstances.
But you know your dog better than anyone, so you can figure it out!
How do I stop my dog from licking the couch?
You want to stop us from licking the couch? Well geez, okay I guess…(Nah, I understand, licking it too much can make it a bit yucky).
So how do you stop us? Well, it depends on the reason for which we’re licking it in the first place! Figure out the cause, and then remove the cause!
Because I’m super clever, I can give you possible solutions for the different causes. And then I’ll be owed treats for being good, right? Okay, deal. Here they are!
- Licking Out of Boredom:
This is actually the easiest thing to fix! We dogs need a lot of constant mental stimulation, as well as a physical activity because we get bored very easily. If we’re left without anything to do, we might start licking out of boredom.
To stop your dog from licking in this scenario, just give him something to do! Make sure your dog has plenty of toys and things to be entertained by.
You should also make sure he’s going on enough walks and playing enough so that he’s not bored! You’ll see that as soon as your dog has something better to do, the licking will stop!
- Licking Out of Habit:
If your dog has gotten used to licking the couch, he might start doing it out of habit, just because it’s something he’s always done. So how do you stop the licking?
By training your dog not to lick! Whenever your dog licks the couch, instantly capture his attention with something else, then reward. You could also try teaching a command to stop licking, like ‘no’, or ‘stop’, or ‘no licking’.
Basically, you have to make us understand that you don’t want us to lick the couch, and you have to make it worth our while by offering something positive in return!
- Licking Out of Anxiety and Stress:
If your dog is licking out of stress or anxiety, the first thing to do is to figure out where that stress is coming from. Is it something within the environment? Is something going on at home that might be stressing out your dog? Figure it out and then remove the cause.
If your dog still persists with the licking, then it might be more serious. If that’s the case, then it’s time to go to the vet! (Nooooo). But they will know what to do and might give you medication to treat the anxiety.
- Licking Out of Obsessive-compulsive Disorder:
If nothing you do stops the licking, your dog might have OCD. (Yup, we can have that too, just like you humans! We’re not that different after all, huh?)
For this, you will have to go to the vet and seek proper treatment and medication for your dog, so that it stops.
And those are the main solutions! Just pay attention to our behavior, figure out the reasons, and then take action! (But don’t overreact if we’re just licking the couch once or twice!)