Why Does A Dog Lick The Bed?

From your face to their own paws, dogs lick everything. They also lick areas that they frequent, such as their own beds, even if you don’t understand why. If your dog is licking his bed obsessively, there could be a variety of reasons for this behavior. Understanding and being aware of the causes can benefit your dog’s health as well as your own peace of mind.

Dog on bed
Licking a bed could be a technique for dogs to claim territory or release stress.

Dogs lick to get comfortable

One of the reasons your dog is licking his bed so much is that it is exactly that: his bed. Similarly to how animals mark their territories by peeing in specific regions, licking their bed is another technique to establish a claim. If your dog licks his bed when he first lies down in it, it could just be a sign that he’s settling in and trying to clean up the space and distribute his scent. Don’t worry if your dog licks the bed; he’s only trying to make himself at home.

Dog OCD and separation anxiety

Dogs, like people, have their own concerns to deal with, and one way they cope is by licking obsessively. OCD could be the underlying issue if your dog is continuously licking his bed, not just when he gets in to settle down, but also during active periods. The underlying reason of the nervous behavior must be treated first, and medication may be necessary second.

Another psychological factor that contributes to persistent bed licking is separation anxiety, which is similar to OCD. This type of anxiety can begin as early as puppyhood or develop later in life. Take note of when your dog starts licking; if he starts licking around the time you regularly leave or while you’re getting ready for an outing, separation anxiety could be the cause. Licking, such as when a dog licks his bed excessively, can be a kind of self-soothing since it releases endorphins, which make the dog feel better.

Beautiful purebred jack russell terrier.
Licking obsessively is a source of concern that could indicate anxiousness. (Photo credit: undefined undefined/GettyImages/iStock)

Another issue to think about is your dog’s age. Dogs’ brains, like those of their human counterparts, age, and dementia is one of these ailments. Loss of appetite, disobedience, delayed response time, increased sleep, and irritated behavior are some of the other symptoms that may accompany your dog’s bed licking due to old age.

If your dog is young, he may be copying actions from his littermates. When puppies are hungry, they lick their mothers’ mouths, and as they grow older, licking becomes a means for them to form ties with you or other canines. Dogs lick us to reaffirm a relationship or to greet us, thus any other licking could imply familiarity.

Treating excessive licking behavior

A dog licking its foot outside on grass
If your dog is young, he may be copying actions from his littermates.

Make an appointment with your veterinarian to establish the true reason of your dog’s bed licking and the best treatment options. Pay special attention to your dog’s behavior and the times and settings when he licks before the appointment. When he starts licking, take notice of what’s going on in his environment, as well as any other unusual behaviors like changes in diet, sleep patterns, or activity. Bring your notes to the vet with you so he can get a better understanding of your dog’s daily routine.

Michael Hogan

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