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VMCCLURE asks: "I have a mixed terrier type dog -- he was a rescue, and currently weighs 6 pounds. Problem: he licks EVERYTHING! He constantly darts his tongue in and out -- like a snake might do. Why?"


February 15, 2007 at 12:00 am
(1) Angee says:

I recently received a 3-4 yr old from a neighbor. She constantly left the animal alone, no food or water and rarely spent time with her. She has been licking/biting her feet, licking the floor, clothes etc. It’s annoying but I know something is wrong. Here is a bit information I found online to help me. I hope it will help you. :-)


A little bit of licking is considered normal for dogs, but if it is excessive, there is definitely something wrong. If your pet is eating a good quality dog food and has normal stool production, then there is no vitamin or nutrient deficiency at play. Medical reasons could include viral infections, liver disease, anal gland infections, skin disorders, or other painful conditions. A visit to your veterinarian will help determine if your dog is suffering from any of these conditions. Obsessive licking is commonly associated with other nervous behavior, such as separation anxiety or noise phobias. One of my dogs licks her feet excessively any time I start packing for a vacation. The more suitcases I pack, the more aggressively she licks. She also freaks when large trucks pass on the street. OCD can be expressed as any repetitive behavior, and is just a cry for attention. Often it occurs just when we are preparing to leave for work or when we are using the telephone–any action that takes attention away from your pet may provoke the licking. Since licking is a cry for attention, it may mean your pet is not getting enough. Make an attempt to provide more exercise, more play time, and more love if you’re not already doing so.

August 14, 2008 at 11:59 pm
(2) Kari says:

My rescue shih tzu/terrior mix licks everything too. Friends have mentioned nutritional lacking, but he’s 17 months old and eats well. Doc says completely phycological. He lost a leg when hit by a car as a stray at 5 months–could be the anxiety in the above article is accurate. Thanks for the info.

February 24, 2009 at 10:55 pm
(3) julia wdowczyk says:

My neighbours chihuahua licks All the time and when we get together with our dogs, I have a chihuahua also, he will lick my dog obsessively and myself like thereès no tomorrow. My friend thinks he is mental for this behaviour, but now that iève read this info i can tell her shes not alone.

March 10, 2009 at 1:01 pm
(4) elaine says:

i have a staff who constantly licks me, is this a natural thing for staffs as ive heard other staff doing this, is it a sign of affection.
also he keeps knoring half way down his tail and he lays on his back as if trying to scratch him self. just lately he keeps flicking his back side up against the chairs and then every no and again he will yelp is this anal problem, ive checked his faeces and they are normal, but something seems to be irritating him on his tail. could this be fleas, although i have got a flea collar on him.

March 16, 2009 at 5:06 pm
(5) Amy says:

My yorkie is just like that dog in comment #3! She doesn’t lick things…she licks people! On and on til you are completely grossed out. When you demand that she stops, she looks utterly rejected! Now, I hold her on her back when she is in my lap. It is much more difficult for her to lick me in that position. But…i would love to curb this without hurting her feelings. My husband, children, other Yorkie, and I would love to stop this! We’re all wet and frustrated!!!!!

November 3, 2009 at 12:13 am
(6) Jan Kulick says:

My beagle mix licks everything! From people to clothes to blankets, to carpet….he just recently started this and he is 4 years old, I’m worried!

January 18, 2010 at 1:26 pm
(7) angie says:

I have a little yorkie and she never started to lick anything but after she had the puppies its like she a snake she acts like her nose is runny and is trying to lick her snot Im wondering if she has something wrong with her?

January 24, 2010 at 9:40 am
(8) bonnie says:

We just adopted 2 great dane/boxer mixed dogs from the pound. They lost their previous owner due to death. They are constantly licking everything. Now that I know it could be caused by seperation anxiety, I know what I must do. Thank you

April 4, 2010 at 6:43 am
(9) Ron says:

My yorkie is 3 months old and I find she licks sometimes out of affection. Then at other times she is wound up before bed time and does this to relieve her playful behavior. As long as your dog is eating and relieving them self regularly, I wouldnt treat this. Except one thing i read was to leave the room when they do this. Teaching the dog it dosent get attention. We all wanted affection so we got it right ! And I try and change the thought process by giving her a toy to bite at night instead. It seems to work well. she loves to play. enjoy the dog, they want love.

August 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm
(10) Kevin says:

I have a chowchow/ridgeback mix, over the last few weeks, He has been consistenly licking everything, which includes his paws, sometimes furniture his toys and my girlfriend and myself. He started this about three weeks ago and shows no signs of being sick, he still has plenty of energy, eats regulary and gets outside for enough exercise. Anyone have any suggestions to help from having my entire bed licked again?

October 29, 2010 at 11:18 am
(11) Sarah says:

I have a 14 year old Dachshund and he licks the floor as though it is his job to clean it. He also will lick our skin, especially our legs while sitting in our laps. He will lick the comforter on the bed, the couch, you name it – he licks it. He does not lick himself or our other dog. When he licks, it is usually in an orderly fashion. Almost like he is painting the floor, the couch, etc. with his toungue. We can’t put our finger on when it started but we do think it’s close to the time we got our other dog. I am assuming it is OCD – just wish I could do something to help him get over it.

November 30, 2010 at 11:37 am
(12) colt says:

the two dogs that i owe have been with my family for a long time. now that i am home a lot i have started to notices the constant licking of their face. they never lick anything else just their face. it is now getting to a point where i cant stand it anymore. i need help with this.

June 9, 2011 at 8:28 pm
(13) Amanda says:

I have a pitt/mastiff mix, he’s going on 2yrs old n I can’t get him to stop licking! this has been going on for the past yr. Zeus is constantly licking his feet, and us (ears mainly) all the time. I love him to death but its annoying! N his feet are begining to stink like a old boot! Once he gets a “taste” of someones ear he gets all excited n its almost impossible to get him to stop, I have tried different kinds of ‘stop chewing sprays’ but nothing seems to work n he’ll just lick it off. He often will get “mad” if you dont let him continue. It’s starting to become a problem when we have company over I want him to be social but not to this extent.

September 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm
(14) shyann says:

my dog bullet is my oldest dachshund. He is overweight because he is supposed to be a miniature but is our fatest miniature. I havent been walking him lately and we hardly ever play with him so maybe from what i read in this article is if i start exercising with him more and try to get him to play which he never attempts to do unless it is a brand new toy, maybe i can get him to stop licking the carpet and rugs.

October 12, 2011 at 9:16 pm
(15) Carole says:

I have an 8 mo old Shih-Tzu that I’ve had since 3 mo old. In the past 3mos or so I noticed that she is also licking, mostly us, our legs, feet, arms, etc. She also licks my leather couch, my bed quilts, pillows, etc. She is with me constantly, very rarely is she left for any length of time, she plays with her toys by herself, and also we know when she wants us to play with her too. I tell her no lick and she will stop for that moment, but then will go right back to it. She is busy all day and is walked daily, and fed the correct puppy food, (Royal Canin). If anyone has had any success in stopping this, please let me know as you can email me at scootersrosie@aol.com. Please put licking in the subject line. Thank you. Carole

October 19, 2011 at 7:53 am
(16) Taylor says:

I rescued a pom from the pound and she licks everything. We moved from up north to down south. Could that’s why…. Please help….. Thanks

November 16, 2011 at 11:23 pm
(17) John says:

A lot of posts speak of traumatic pasts and anxiety. I know my little Maltese, Gary, that I adopted hasn’t had the easiest life and he has the same problem: just licks everything! all of the time! At first, I thought he was eating dust and cotton fragments, but this compulsion extends to all surfaces, and, even, the air sometimes! There have been many theories as to the cause: gastritis and dehydration have been proposed, but this isn’t the case. Anxiety/trauma seems to fit the bill. I can only hope to help my little buddy cope with his past by giving him a loving home and everything he needs to be happy and healthy.

April 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm
(18) Carl says:

I have a pit/boxer mix. She’s been a compulsive licker from the day i adopted her at 6 weeks old. I recently talked with a man who trains dogs for the Army for bomb patrol. What he told me was that dogs have a gland in their mouth that they use to sense stuff and that the licking helps her sense her surroundings. makes sense, if true. She’s not licking herself, just me my cloths, the air. Just have to take her behavior as is because she is a darling sweet dog and has nothing but love to share.

April 28, 2012 at 10:35 pm
(19) Mew says:

My yorkie would lick her nose for a long time quite often. She was diagnosed with thyroid cancer after a groomer told me he felt a small lump on the left side of her throat. She had lostt weight, lost hair and never gained or grew it back. She drank a lot of water and urinated a lot, luckily on pee pads, but a lot. She had the tumor removed and is now going through chemo. I would check your dogs throat for lumps and maybe do a blood test JUST IN CASE.

November 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm
(20) Mary says:

I have a three yr. old female boxer and she is adorable. I would say she is perfect if it wasn’t for her obsessive licking. She licks the air, her laws, legs, the furniture, my kids, myself, everything in front of her. She eats very well and gets plenty of attention. I know this is some for of OCD but I cannot understand where is coming from and why. She has been like that since she was a very young pup. I’m concern because as she gets older it is getting worst. Don’t know what do to any more!

August 20, 2013 at 4:13 pm
(21) gayle williamson says:

I just adopted from my cousin who passed in May a 2 lb full grown year old Maltese…She was doiing great for couple months and then went into her first heat {I think} She started about 4 days ago insisently licking my legs , feet and hands, and in the last day the booth where I sit and she is beside me all the time….Could it be she is confused due to the hormone cange due to coming in heat???am retired and with her every day unless have to go to store or bank etc.. Never gone over 2 hous….Has to be something with the Heat process.but this moring she was coughing for about 5 seconds and think will take to Vet and have her teeth and throat checked as could be sore throat or tarter on teeth as Maltese bad for tarter buildup–evn at year old—could need cleaning as she refuses any kind of chew treat –just eats her Pedigree food and will NOT eat anything else….Help if you have any ideas….Gayle

September 13, 2013 at 4:39 pm
(22) JJ says:

I got a little 9 lb ‘Dorkie’ a month ago from Humane Soc. She is lovable, well trained, and cute as a button. She licks constantly sometimes much like she is on mission to lick every spot on the floor, her bed, under my bed, etc. I tell her to stop, but its like she is programmed to lick everything. Mostly she does this in the evening while I am watching TV or reading ~~ she gets lots of attention, ~~ I was really glad to find that she is maybe not quite a psycho dog , that other dogs to this too. Could this be from separation from her former owners? She is 6 yrs old.

January 13, 2014 at 9:40 am
(23) sherril says:

We have a wonderful pom. She loves to give continues kisses aka licks and licks! When told ok enough kisses or no licking our guest she complies. She began licking/chewing at the bottom of her feet sometimes to the point of making them bleed.. I took her to the vet .. said behavior was due to allergies either grain in her food or type of grass. Simplest way to determine change ood to “grain free” note “all natural” is not grain free if it does not say grain free the foid has grains in it… grain free food resulted in no more licking and chewing on bottom of her feet and reduced some of her kisses. We had a patch of unwanted grass that she was allergic to as well it was removed.. she very happy now.. hope this helps

January 21, 2014 at 6:08 pm
(24) michael says:

my dog licks her private part( where she pees) and about 5-6 hours later her stomach starts to grow, how do we stop her from licking there?

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