Staffy pup

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There’s nothing like walking into a room and noticing a huge wet slobber spot on the couch because your pooch has been licking incessantly for the last half an hour. Why do they do that? I used to think my pooch was getting even with me for something I did, since he can’t tell me verbally “Hey, I didn’t like that crap you pulled on me earlier.” But after more intense research and doggy interviews, I’ve come up with the following reasons.

Nausea can cause your dog to lick surfaces. If your pooch is taking medications, eating table scraps or bones, he may just have an upset stomach.

Some dogs lick their lips as a sign of submission to a more dominant dog or figure. My dog will start licking the moment he meets a stranger. A similar gesture can be found in a bar after 3:00 am.  Some women tend to lick their lips while meeting a complete stranger, showing the male stranger how “submissive” she can be.  

Licking can also be a sign of boredom, stress, or feeling anxious. If your pooch is in a stressful environment, it may cause excessive grooming issues that could extend to licking other surfaces. Let’s say for example, your life could emulate a country and western ballad. You know the kind…”I lost my house then my wife left me and my truck got stolen so now I’m out of whiskey.” If stressful things are happening in the home, your loyal companion will experience the same type of stress you are feeling.

Let’s move on to the attention seeking behavior. They’ve tried everything to get your attention. They tried playfully frolicking in front of you, graduating to the sad puppy dog look that usually works. But you’re too busy watching the latest episode of Jersey Shores, and wondering if you should start your own daily routine of GTL.  So, if licking their bed or other surface gets a harsh response from you…so be it.  At least it’s something.

If the licking becomes excessive, you should consult your veterinarian. It could be an underlying medical condition, such as liver or gastric disease. Or possibly even a neurological disorder. 

If no medical cause can be found, you may need to call the Dog Whisperer. If he’s not available, you may be able to control his disorder with Behavior Modification strategies.

So lets review. It’s important to avoid feeding them things they shouldn’t be eating. Make sure your pooch and bedding is always clean, but also make sure you check with your Vet for any side effects when giving them medications. It really comes down to a common sense approach. When I eat too much crap, down too many Valium, become stressed out and don’t wash my sheets, I have a tendency to lick things I shouldn’t be licking. So it’s not really very different from a dog.


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