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There are many for reasons your dog may be licking everything around. Some dogs like the texture of something smooth such as the front of your refrigerator or a concrete floor. Some dogs obsessively lick their beds, their toys, their paws, and even their owners. Not only can it be quite annoying having your dog lick everything in your house, but it could also cause some health concerns for you as well as for your dog. There may be medical reasons your dog licks everything in sight from nausea to obsessive-compulsive disorders as well as gastrointestinal disorders. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian if you think there is a concern regarding your dog's health. Otherwise, you might want to look at retraining your dog, so he is not a compulsive licker.
Training your dog away from bad habits and compulsive behavior requires a lot of patience and rewards for positive behaviors. You may never understand why your dog compulsively licks everything, but you can recognize and reward him when he is not licking everything. You could also retrain to make your dog more comfortable if he is suffering from something such as fear, separation anxiety, or even stress. Outside of diagnosing medical reasons for the obsessive licking of everything in your house, you are going to need some time to figure out what may be causing your dog to lick everything and stop the behavior.
You will require patience, dedication to figuring out what may be causing your dog to lick everything, treats for good behavior, and lots of positive love and attention for your pup. Look at redirecting behavior and offering alternatives to licking. If your dog licks when is he bored, he will need entertainment and exercise to burn off energy. If he has a medical condition, you can help by observing obsessive behaviors and noting habits for your veterinarian.
The Attack Boredom Method
Your dog may be licking everything in sight because he is utterly bored.
Offer your dog a treat filled puzzle toy or a treat toy requiring your dog to spend some time finding and reaching the treat.
Your dog should be spending time licking the treat puzzle to work his way towards the treat.
Every time you see your dog obsessively licking an object such as his bed or your floor, offer him a treat puzzle with a small treat.
If you leave your dog for extended periods of time, be sure to offer him other toys so he is well entertained while you are away.
The Stress and Anxiety Method
Your dog could potentially be bored, or he could also be dealing with anxiety and stress.
A good way to deal with anxiety and stress is to run off excess energy. Be sure to exercise your dog daily. Taking your dog for a long walk or run, playing fetch, or having your dog swim burns off excess energy so when you not around your dog, he is likely to be resting rather than dealing with anxiety and stress.
Help your dog to relax by sitting with him and rubbing behind his ears, along his face, and along his stomach. With a gentle voice and a soothing touch, your dog will calm.
Anxiety is often caused by pent-up energy, not enough exercise, and the yearning for attention.
Once your dog is getting enough exercise, enough rest, and the attention he requires from you, the hope is he becomes more balanced and is able to stop the obsessive-compulsive behavior such as incessant licking.
If you catch your dog licking after you have started an initial exercise and relaxation routine, sit with your dog and calm him gently with a soft voice and a gentle massage.
Reward your dog for good behavior and spend time nurturing him to calm any fears.
The Paw Licking Method
If your dog is licking because of potential allergies, you may want to see your veterinarian for allergy testing and treatment.
Look over your dog’s skin very carefully to see if he has something like a thorn or burr stuck in his skin or fur.
Between paw pads
Check the space between your dog’s paw pads for sores, damage from licking, and yeast infections.
Your dog will continue to lick a sore you may not even see until it is bloody and raw.
If you find sores, have your veterinarian check your pup out for infections.
Until the sores heal, you may want to wrap your dog's paws or hot spots.
By Stephanie Plummer
Published: 01/01/2018, edited: 01/08/2021
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