If your dog has been licking the couch a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do about them.
So, why does my dog lick the couch? Possible reasons why your dog licks the couch are that it is anxious, it likes the taste, there is food stuck to the couch, it smells your scent on there or that it is a compulsive behavior.
Since there are a number of reasons why your dog might have been licking the couch, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the most likely cause, it should become easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why does my dog lick the couch?
Below are a number of common reasons why dogs do it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
Anxiety could be what has been causing it to do it. This would be more likely if it has started doing it after something happened that could make it anxious or if it does it more at a time where it is likely to be anxious. Examples could be if it does it more when a certain person is around, when you are about to leave home or when there are loud noises coming from outside.
If it tends to do it more when you are not home, it would be more likely that it is due to separation anxiety. This would be more likely if your dog tends to become anxious when you are leaving home and if it licks the couch that you tend to sit on yourself since it will likely have a strong scent from you on the couch.
It would help to try to limit reasons why it might be anxious by doing things such as exercising and feeding it before leaving it so that it is more likely to sleep while you are away.
It likes the taste
When you sit on the couch, sweat and dead skin cells will gather on the couch which tastes salty to your dog. The reason why it licks the couch could be that it likes the way that it tastes. This would be more likely if it tends to lick the couch that you have been using yourself the most.
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.
The reason might be that it is due to an obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is where it has an irresistible urge to lick the couch so it keeps doing it. This would be more likely if it has been licking the couch constantly for a few weeks now. In this case, the best option would be to get help from a vet.
It smells your scent
It is likely that the couch has a strong scent on it. The reason why it tends to lick the couch could be that it smells you scent on it and that the scent causes it to feel calmer. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when you are not around.
There is food stuck there
It might be the case that it does it because there is food stuck to the couch. This would be more likely if it licks a certain part of the couch more and if it has been doing it more since you know that you dropped food on it.
Illness could be what is causing it to do it since it might be licking the couch to try and soothe its stomach. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
A nutritional deficiency
It could be the case that there is a nutritional deficiency in your dog’s diet that has resulted in your dog licking or eating things that it should not be. This would be more likely if you have not been feeding your dog regular dog food and if your dog has been trying to eat things that are not edible. In this case, it would help to take your dog for a checkup with the vet.
Sometimes, dogs will lick when they are bored. It might be the case that your dog has been licking the couch due to boredom. This would be more likely if your dog has been licking the couch before getting exercise but not so much after getting exercise. In this case, it would help to ensure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed.
Your dog smells your scent
It might also be the case that your dog has been doing it because it smells your scent on the couch. This would be more likely if your dog only licks the part of the couch that you tend to sit on and if your dog tends to do it when you are not around.
Things to consider about your dog licking the couch
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the most likely reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started licking the couch
If your dog did not always lick the couch, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it since it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start.
If it started doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as if you started leaving it for longer periods causing it to get anxious, food or drink getting stuck to the couch or it might have learned that it gets rewarded for doing it.
What else is different when your dog licks the couch
It would also help to consider the timing of when your dog tends to lick the couch since it might be the case that the timing has something to do with it. For example, if it tends to do it more when you are not home, it would be more likely to be the case that it does it due to separation anxiety.
How often your dog licks the couch
It would also help to consider how often your dog does it. If it has been licking the couch constantly then it would be more likely to be compulsive behavior and something you’ll want to get help on from a vet or dog behaviorist.
If it does it less often then it would help to consider what is different when it does do it.
What to do about your dog licking the couch
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop licking the couch.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
It might be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by giving your dog rewards when it does it. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it does not do it, to wait for it to stop before giving it any rewards and to try to redirect its focus when it seems likely to start doing it.
Ensure that it is getting the right diet
It would also help to make sure that it is getting the right diet. You can look here to see what you should and should not be feeding your dog.
Spray the couch
There are sprays, that you can buy online, that you spray onto things that you do not want your dog to lick. The sprays have a bitter taste that dogs do not like and will usually result in the dog not licking that thing anymore. You could try using the spray until your dog gets out of the habit of licking and then see if you no longer need to use the spray. Here is an example of a spray you could use.
Get help from a vet
If your dog has been doing it excessively, the best option would be to take your dog to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out more serious causes.
Give it other things to lick
In addition to the above, you could also give it things to be distracted with so that it is less likely to want to lick the couch. Things that you could give it could be toys, puzzle games or bones.
Leave it training
You could also do lots of leave it training with your dog. To do this you would:
- Get some treats that it likes and take it near to the couch
- Tell it to leave it
- Reward it for not licking the couch
- Get it off the couch whenever it tries to lick the couch
- Repeat the above until it learns not to lick it
Why does my dog lick the couch all the time?
If your dog licks the couch all the time, it could be because it likes the taste of the couch, it has anxiety or because of a compulsive behavior. In this case, it would likely help to take it for a checkup.
Why has my dog suddenly started licking the couch?
If your dog has suddenly started to lick the couch, it could be due to things such as a change in your dog’s diet that has resulted in a nutritional deficiency, someone left food or drink on the couch or something has been causing your dog to be anxious. It would help to consider what else happened recently that might have changed your dog’s behavior.
Why does my dog lick the couch after drinking water?
If your dog licks the couch after drinking water, it could just be the case that your dog likes the way the couch tastes more when its tongue is wet. However, it could also be a sign that there is a nutritional deficiency and it would help to talk to your vet about it when you next see them.
Why does my dog lick the couch after eating?
If your dog licks the couch after eating, it could be a sign that your dog is still trying to consume nutrients that it is not getting from its diet. This would be more likely if your dog has not been eating food designed for dogs such as regular dog food and has been eating human food instead. However, it might also be due to an illness. It would help to ask your vet about it when you next see them.