Dogs love to lick things, including their paws, furniture, and your hands and face. You may have noticed that your dog tends to lick the bed frequently, but you are not sure why. There doesn’t appear to be anything flavorful on it — so why does your dog lick the bed daily?
Licking the bed might indicate a dog’s depression, anxiety, or even a health issue. It also may be a compulsive behavior. However, a dog may lick the bed simply because they are bored or lonely, and it is a behavior that temporarily satisfies them.
Let’s explore why dogs lick the bed, and why many of them do it so frequently. We’ll also look at what serious issues it can be symptomatic of, and ways to prevent them from doing it.
Why Does My Dog Lick The Bed?
Dogs use their tongues a lot and for different purposes. They use it to self-groom, to taste something, or to show affection to people. So a dog using their tongue to lick the bed isn’t particularly unusual and isn’t considered abnormal behavior.
However, if licking the bed becomes quite frequent or even obsessive, it might indicate a more serious condition. Dogs show their feelings and emotions differently than people do; therefore, paying close attention to their behavior is critical to understanding what your dog may be trying to express or communicate.
Here are some reasons why your dog keeps licking the bed:
Anxiety Or Depression
Anxiety or depression might lead to a dog’s obsessive licking of the bed. If your dog has changed environments or is feeling anxious, stressed or depressed, that may prompt them to exhibit new behaviors. Licking the bed is one example of your dog showing that they are stressed or anxious.
Anxiety and stress can be caused by a change in the dog’s routine or the people who accompany them daily, tension between members of the household, or specific fears.
Dogs who have separation anxiety may also lick the bed as one of their coping mechanisms. However, dogs with serious cases of this disorder will also usually exhibit many other extreme behaviors (pacing, barking, whining) when you are about to leave the house and shortly after.
Repetitive licking of the bed releases endorphins and leads to the dog’s self-soothing. This behavior can become a vicious cycle and develop into a habit.
Boredom Or Loneliness
By licking the bed, your dog may be showing that they are bored or lonely, and in need of attention. If you have suddenly become busier or more absent from home, they might feel neglected, and licking the bed is their way of expressing and coping with those feelings.
They might also have become bored of the same routine every day, so this would be their way of saying that they want something new.
It’s important to not only pay attention to a dog’s change in behavior, but also to address it. So you might try exercising your dog more or engaging in play with them. Providing interactive toys can help stimulate their minds and tire them physically.
The good thing about adding new exercise, socialization, and mental stimulation activities to your dog’s life is that even if it doesn’t help resolve the licking the bed issue, your dog will still benefit from it and live a more full life.
By licking the bed and other furniture, some dogs are exhibiting obsessive-compulsive behavior. To determine whether this is the case or not, you can try to distract your dog from the licking. If your dog cannot be distracted and even possibly shows some aggression towards you while licking, that’s a strong sign that this is compulsive behavior.
To compare it with a person’s obsessive behavior, we can use the example of biting fingernails. People often tend to bite their nails when they are stressed or anxious, and they find it very difficult to stop the habit, even when they are determined to do so. The same applies to dogs — if they cannot stop, they are likely expressing compulsive habits.
This kind of behavior can occur in all dog breeds, i.e., it is not particular to certain types of dogs. However, dogs that are not often in socialized environments might be more prone to develop this behavior. Isolation exacerbates compulsive behaviors.
To deal with the compulsive habits, you might want to take your dog to the vet if nothing you do at home by yourself will distract your dog and make them stop. The vet may recommend anti-anxiety medications to help ease this habit and make them calmer and more relaxed.
What Can You Do To Prevent Your Dog From Licking The Bed?
If you have discovered the reason for your dog licking the bed or other furniture, you can try some ways to stop it.
- If the reason is boredom, try distracting your dog with toys or different ways of play and exercise. Make their life more fun and active!
- Pay attention to the environment and everything that happens around your dog to see what triggers the licking. Once you see the trigger, you can immediately redirect the dog. Also, if you can eliminate or at least minimize the triggers you are familiar with, the behavior will occur less often.
- Take your dog to the vet for a checkup for possible medical conditions.
A dog’s licking of the bed or any other furniture in your home is not an uncommon occurrence, and it is usually nothing serious. However, it is always good to address the new behavior and find out what triggers it. It is better to be on the safe side and take proper care of your pup.