Why Does My Dog Keep Licking?

Why Does My Dog Keep Licking?

Sep 12, 2021
12 min

Licking is a very common behavior in dogs. They express their love and affection by using different non-verbal actions and licking is one of them. But sometimes, the dog’s licking becomes excessive. Some dogs even start licking your wounds. Do you feel your dog licks a little too much? There could be many reasons behind it. Let’s explore in detail.

Why do dogs lick?


When your dog is comfortable around you and your family, it won’t mind licking you. Licking is one of the actions dogs do when they are comfortable and feel safe. They won’t stop expressing their thoughts and love to you.


Another common reason behind dog’s licking is that they feel immense pleasure. When they are happy and feel joyful, they start showing their happiness through licking.


Affection is the most common reason behind licking. It means that your pet is just fine and wants to tell you how much it loves you. It expresses its affection and appreciates the time you spend with it by licking your hand.

When is licking a problem?


Excessive licking:

As adorable as it may seem, excessive licking can be dangerous too. It may predict a certain health condition that your dog is suffering from. Maybe it wants to tell you something serious. That’s why it is recommended to always observe your dog’s licking habits.

Reasons why dogs lick excessively:

Medical reasons:

Licking can be a symptom of some diseases. Here is a list of some medical conditions that can cause your dog to lick excessively. To ensure the absence of such conditions, you should have regular vet visits.


When it comes to anxiety, dogs are quite similar to human beings. Dogs can also develop a human-like obsessive-compulsive disorder. Just like we tend to bite our nails in anxiety, dogs also have a physical response to it. One of such responses is excessive licking.

Hormonal Imbalance:

In case your dog’s body is unable to develop thyroid hormone or put out excessive hormone cortisol, it might lead to a superficial skin infection. Your dog might get bald spots and it may start licking out of frustration and irritation.


If you observe your dog behaving strangely and licking too much, it might be possible that it is in pain. Ensure with your vet if there is anything that could make your dog uncomfortable. Compulsive licking or chewing might be the symptom of health orthopedic conditions like hip dysplasia or arthritis.


The presence of parasites like mites, fleas, and ticks is also a common reason behind dog’s licking. Ticks are quite visible with the naked eye so it’s easier to control their spreading. However, fleas can cause major infections since they can go unseen. Never assume that your dog is free of such parasites just because you cannot see them with naked eyes. Some of them can even be microscopic like mites. We recommend using anti-flea products like Frontline Plus for small dogs and Absolute Plus Colloidal Silver to get rid of parasites.

Behavioral reasons:


Even though dogs are not blessed with magical grooming powers like cats, they can still groom themselves to a certain extent. Their excessive licking might be the behavioral habit that they have learned from their mama to keep them groomed.

Attention Seeking:

Dogs are way smarter than we think. They can learn the ways to get more attention from their favorite humans and spend more time with them. Licking can be one of those ways as well. When your dog realizes that licking is resulting in more attention from their master, they’ll make it a habit.


Dogs are generally playful in nature. Sometimes, dogs start licking and turn it into a game. Since dogs love playing with their masters, excessive licking becomes a normal part of their routine.

Solutions to dogs licking excessively:

Here are some ways you can stop your dog from licking excessively:

Ignore for a while:

If your dog is licking you to get attention, you need to stop giving attention to it. Ignore their behavior and change your place wherever they start licking. Without your attention, licking will be reduced.

Offer an alternative:

Give your dog something else to lick. You can try a bone, chewy toy, or a stuffed Kong. In this way, your dog will remain occupied and you won’t have to deal with the licking.


When your dog behaves the way you train them to, reward them with treats and praises. For positive association, try to reward them immediately after their good behavior. Bringing a new taste into their diet like Heka Grain-Free Salmon, Potatoes, and Peas Dog Food would also act as a reward.


Take your dog for a long walk or to a park for playing. Physical exercise can result in less stress which can lead to lesser licking. This strategy is useful especially for dogs who lick out of nervousness.

Vet Visits:

Visiting your vet is extremely important to reduce the risk of health conditions. Their licking might be a red signal of some potentially harmful disease that you’d never know until you take them to the vet.

Change diet:

Some foods could produce allergic reactions that make your dog lick excessively so try to figure out foods that cause allergy to your dog and change its diet with the vet’s supervision.

Behavior training:

There are some ideas you could follow to discourage your dog from licking excessively. For instance, use bitter sprays or a special collar to cover hot spots.

Final thoughts

Dogs love us as much as we love them. They feel comfortable around us and rely on us. As responsible parents, we must acknowledge their needs and work on their uncommon behaviors.

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