If your dog has been licking your clothes, this post will show you why and what you can do about it.

So, why does my dog lick my clothes? Possible reasons why your dog licks your clothes are that it likes the taste, it likes the scent or smell on them, compulsive behavior, or having learned that the behavior gets rewarded.

There are actually a number of possible reasons why your dog has been licking your clothes and it might be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider to help figure out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Reasons why your dog licks your clothes

Below are a number of possible causes and what you can do about them.

It likes the taste

Sweat and dead skin cells can gather on clothes that taste salty. The reason why your dog licks your clothes could be that it likes the way that they taste. This would be more likely if you can get quite sweaty and your dog only licks the clothes you have not washed yet.

If it does seem to be doing it due to liking the taste, it could be a sign that there is something wrong with its diet. This would be more likely if it started doing it after a change in its diet.

Separation anxiety

The reason why your dog licks your clothes might be that it has some separation anxiety, and the smell of your scent on your clothes calms it down. This would be more likely to be the reason if your dog licks your clothes when you are not around and if it shows signs of being anxious when you are about to leave.

Compulsive behavior

It might be the case that it is a compulsive behavior that it has developed. This is where your dog does a repetitive behavior a lot without seeming to be able to stop. It would be more likely that your dog does it compulsively if it has been licking it a lot for months.

If it does seem to be doing it compulsively then it would help to take it to a vet.

It likes the smell or scent

It is likely that your clothes have a strong scent on them. It could be the case that your dog licks your clothes because it likes the smell of your scent on your clothes. This would be more likely if your dog also licks other things with your scent on such as your pillow or blankets.

Encouraging the behavior

The reason why your dog licks your clothes could be that you have been inadvertently training it to do so. This would be more likely to be the reason if you tend to give it things that it wants such as attention, treats or toys when it licks your clothes.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.

If your dog has always licked your clothes

If your dog has not always licked your clothes, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started licking your clothes suddenly, it could be due to things such as learning that the behavior is rewarded or that it started getting access to your dirty clothes.

The timing of when your dog licks your clothes

It would also help to consider if there is a certain time that your dog tends to lick your clothes. For example, if you notice that your dog starts licking them when you are about to leave, it would make it more likely to be due to separation anxiety.

What to do about your dog licking your clothes

Below are some options you have when dealing with the behavior.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

As mentioned above, it might be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior gets rewarded. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it behaves the way you want it to and to avoid rewarding it when it does not. It would also help to try to redirect its focus towards something else before it starts licking your clothes so that you can avoid giving it something it wants after it has already started licking them.

Give it other things to lick

Another option would be to give it other things that it can lick, such as a bone, so that it is less likely to want to lick your clothes.

Reduce its separation anxiety

As mentioned above, if your dog does it when you are not around, a part of the cause could be separation anxiety. In this case, it would help to limit reasons why it might get anxious without you such as by giving it access to a safe space to lie down, food, water and a quiet room.

Make sure its diet is right

It might be the case that an issue with its diet has been contributing to the behavior. It would help to make sure that your dog has been getting the right diet and that it has access to water whenever it might need it.

Get help

If your dog has been licking your clothes excessively, it would help to take your dog to the vet for a checkup. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out medical causes.

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I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.