This article will explain everything about why a dog licks bed. How to stop him from licking and on basis of some factors how you can figure the root of the cause.
Is it common for your dog to lick things around you? Many people think this is a common behavior. But, what if we tell you that this behavior is not so common, and if it becomes extremes then it can relate to a series of serious disorders?
It is every dog parent’s concern to keep his pooch healthy and free from every disorder. Are you struggling to know why is your dog obsessively licking the bed these days? Then you have landed on the right page! Sometimes dog lick things because of boredom and loneliness but if he is obsessively licking things then there could be different reasons to it.
So, let’s find out the reasons behind this problem.
Table of Contents
- Why Does My Dog Lick My Bed?
- How to Stop Dog From Licking Your Bed
- Things to Ponder About
- Summing It Up All!
Why Does My Dog Lick My Bed?
If you notice that your dog is licking your bed more than usual, and you find that the bedclothes are wet, then you should conclude that your dog has begun to obsessively lick the pillow, bedsheet, etc. There could be several reasons to why your dog is excessively licking bed. Let us discuss them one by one.
1. He Licks Because Your Pooch is Loving the Taste
The most obvious reason why a dog likes the bed could be because he likes the taste.
You might be thinking now that how can he like the taste, it is so tasteless, right? Well, it is related because when you sleep at night you leave your dead skin cells, and sweat which will be collected to your bed, pillowcase.
This makes your bed, and pillowcase taste salty. If your dog smells it, he may tend to lick it.
If you get sweaty during the time of sleeping due to this reason dog licks the bed. And, if the dog licking bed has got more than usual (due to taste), there can be an issue in his diet.
Pillow licking dogs are more prone to do this if there is a change in their diet. You then have to consider and change his diet. And, have to monitor his behavior in his day-to-day life for a while.
You can discourage your dog from licking the bed and pillowcases on a regular basis if you always wash your sheets and pillowcases at least once a week. With the washing, there will be no sweat, dirt, and dead cells on it.
2. Pica Disorder
Dog licking your bed could also be because he might be suspected of Pica diseases. Pica is a disorder in which a dog will crave and lick anything he will ingest non-food items, such as rocks, dirt, or fabric.
Even though it is very common for dogs to lick and chew anything like dirt, or even feces. But, the urge to eat anything can become very dangerous for your dog. Exclusively if he has started licking your fabrics, chewing on your bedsheets.
Dog licking fabric can lead to cause intestinal blockage and he might get sick due to this.
3. Dog OCD Licking
Dog licking things is not considered something unusual and unhealthy habit. But, if your pooch is licking your bed obsessively in a way that he doesn’t stop and destroy, that means he has OCD (Obsessive compulsive disorder).
Dr Debra Horwitz from VCA Hospital says “The compulsive behavioral licking arises when the pet is exposed to chronic stress or recurrent situations of conflict.“
OCD is a compulsive behavior that drives your dog to go through repetitive motions. When this licking lasts for hours and hours that you can’t stop him from licking the sheets then it is a warning sign for you and your pet. You must go for a medical examination.
Licking things for a long time can hurt your dog, so it is very important to keep this behavior on hold forever. You might have to keep him outside your bedroom or have to use some strong ways to prevent such behavior.
Have you used the pet corrector tool?
If no then you can use The Company of Animals Pet Corrector. It helps you to correct your dog’s ill behavior. It emits a hiss sound like a snake or a cat to distract your dog, so you can easily train him to obey your commands with the help of it. Furthermore, it is a safe way to train your pet from excessive barking, licking, jumping, or chewing.
4. Looking For Attention
Your furry friend can also lick your bed because he is seeking attention from you!
This unstoppable licking sheet action will bring your attention back to him. Whenever your pooch does this you immediately stop your work and pay extra attention to him due to his he may tend to lick the sheet even more than usual.
Do you know about dog cognitive dysfunction?
If not then keep reading!
5. Cognitive Dysfunction
If your dog is old, he might develop dog cognitive dysfunction. It is like a dog’s version of Alzheimer’s disease.
In this, your dog is affected by the condition in which he keeps on repeating things. In this disease, the dog keeps licking bed.
Common symptoms of this Cognitive Dysfunction are disturbed sleep cycle, general confusion, lower capability to remember commands. Well, this is a curable disease you can either keep him under drug therapy or change his environment and modify this behavior.
6. Due to Separation and Anxiety
Dogs usually get stress and anxiety when their owners leave them for a time long. It might not be so long but remember that dogs don’t know about the concept of time right! So, even if you have gone for an hour or for a short vacation your dog will get anxious in many ways.
So, one of the many ways why your dog is licking your bed is because you are not around. They smell your scent on your bed and the licking gives him reassurance even when you are not around him.
It might become difficult to correct this behavior if they lick excessively when you are not around.
7. Strong Affection
Your dog loves you like anything! And this can also be one of the reasons.
We know dogs have a strong affection for the things they love. If they really love you he may lick your bedsheet, furniture, pillow, or carpet. They don’t only lick your things, but they would do this more often to show affection.
At this time you must help him to teach what things are supposed to loved and what not to be loved because you are his leader.
Here you can use the “leave” command to get him off your bed when he starts licking your bed.
How to Stop Dog From Licking Your Bed
You can try given below six ways to stop your dog from licking the bed.
1. Proficient Training
You can train your dog to stop him from licking your bed. There is specific training for that. Train him with the “leave it” command. So, whenever he licks the pillow, sheet, or anything for that matter you have to instruct him with the “leave it” command.
While teaching him you will require positive reinforcement in both ways verbally and using treats.
First, you have to tell him “leave it” and when your dog understands and stops licking give him a treat of his choice. You can also use other positive reinforcement too like giving him his favorite toy.
You have to keep repeating these steps and give him practice so that he starts associating things. And, repeat these steps till he starts to get an idea and stops moving to lick the bed.
2. Find an Alternative to Chewing
Another best option will be to give them the alternative of chewing or licking things like chew toys or bone. Doing this can help him to modify his direction. And, he will not feel the urge to lick your bed, and slowly you will get rid of his bed licking behavior.
3. Check His Diet
Dog require rich and healthy food to keep them fit, to maintain their coat lustrous, and even to prevent some behavior issues. You should always take care of his diet look into what type of dog you give him and what type of diet he should actually follow.
You can make a list of changes and monitor if he still licks your bed or not. If he doesn’t then try one of the aforementioned suggestions. It also relies on what type of pooch you own.
4. Limit His Access to Your Bed
Another way to stop your dog from licking your bed is to restrict his movement to your bedroom and to your bed.
You can do this by either giving height to your bed or putting a barrier around the bed. You can keep your bedroom door locked. It will be hard to practice initially but don’t give up. If you stop doing this it will encourage them to do this more often.
When you restrict and limit your dog’s access to your bed and to your bedroom it will shift his attention to other things. And, yikes he will forget about bed, pillow, and sheets super soon.
5. Use Positive Reinforcement
As discussed earlier, licking could also be because you have been unintentionally encouraged him by giving him things that he wants when he licks the bed.
Rather than doing this, you should give him treats and rewards when he does not do it or stops doing it. Take help from his favorite toys or his favorite treats. Anything that he likes.
Using negative reinforcement will only give him the wrong message, and it provokes him to do more mistakes.
6. Reduce Separation and Anxiety
As we know, separation and anxiety can be one of the reasons behind your dog licking your bed. Then you should try giving him the training to be comfortable when you are outside.
To train him to try with a short time period, so he doesn’t get anxious and once you are back giving him reward for his proper behavior. Repeat this and with each successful attempt reward the dog to show him that there will be a reward if he behaves properly.
Eventually, increase the time period. It is okay if he is taking too slow to understand this, but gradually he will adapt to this properly. If your dog suffers from severe and serious anxiety and separation then take small steps like don’t leave the room but, instead pretend that you are going to leave the room. Do whatever things you would normally do before leaving.
You have to grill and build with patience to train him and must show him, extra love, in addition, to giving him treats.
Taking small steps will work!
Things to Ponder About
There are some suggestions to figure out why your dog licks everything. By this, you can know how to address the problem.
This key information will give the right answers to how can you overcome your dog licking behavior.
1. When Did He First Start Licking Your Bed
You have to rewind and think back to when did he first start licking your bedsheet. We understand this is not possible to remember exactly when did he start, but you can at least guess rough estimates. Because the closer you estimate, the better solution and factor you will get.
If your dog not always used to lick the bedsheet so, in that case, there will be definitely a trigger point why he started this behavior. It could be possibly because of a change in diet, or inadvertent rewarding, or a particularly sweaty and hot night.
When you finally identify when he began to lick your bedsheet it can give you a much better idea of whether there was a random factor associated with it or if it is a behavioral disorder.
2. When Does Dog Licks My Bed
As it is important to notice when did he actually start licking your bedsheet, it is equally important to notice when does he lick your bedsheet. Is there is any specific time when he licks?
If it is coming out to be random then it is more likely to be more than just a behavior issue. But, if you observe that the dog is licking your bedsheet right before you are leaving the house then it could be due to separation and anxiousness. If you are very busy and can not spend time with him then also he could behave like that.
Try to give him the attention and love he wants for a small period right before leaving the house. This might balance his feeling of separation from you.
Summing It Up All!
It is gross to see your bedsheet with wet spots and dampness. Especially when you sit on the spots while going to sleep at night!
As long as your dog is not destroying your bedsheet then it is mostly harmless. But, when your dog constantly licks his bed or things then it becomes extreme it becomes a matter of concern.
You have to keep in mind that there is a huge difference between normal healthy curiosity and obsessive behavior. If licking in dogs has become constant and he refuses to stop licking the bedsheet or bed then it is a matter of concern.
I hope you have understood why do dogs lick their beds. If his behavior has become compulsive then you can look for professional help. Or you can go through the above-listed methods to stop his licking behavior.
- Parker, H. (2009, July 7). Dogs and Compulsive Scratching, Licking, and Chewing. WebMD. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/dogs-and-compulsive-scratching-licking-and-chewing
- Jones, L. V. (2022, January 6). Excessive Licking, Chewing, and Grooming in Dogs. PetMD. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/excessive-licking-chewing-and-grooming-dogs
Karen Valenzuela is a dog behaviorist & trainer from Brooklyn, New York, and a freelancer for DogLovesBest. Karen is so much into dogs that she decided to become a dog behaviorist since she was in Middle School, and she did it too! She pursued her career as a dog behaviorist and now she’s certified through ACAAB. She has trained more than 10,000 dogs to correct their behavior and helped them develop a strong bond with their owners. In her free time, she loves to explore new ways of making the pet canine’s life more interesting and also has the ability to give those ideas the form of insightful posts.