why does my dog lick everything

Why Does My Dog Lick Everything? [Normal vs. Problematic Behavior]

Dogs are excellent companions who provide their owners with affection and lasting memories. Every dog has a unique personality that makes it stand out from other pets. One thing many canine owners have thought about is, “why does my dog lick everything?”

Dogs are not capable of human speech, but they still find ways to communicate how they feel. Your dog will use body language to let you know when it is hungry, needs to use the restroom, or is seeking your attention. Sometimes their licking indicates something that they can’t communicate with words.

If you ever wondered about licking behavior, then you have come to the right place. Read on further to understand why dogs lick everything, how often it should occur, when to become concerned about it, and more!

Is It Common for My Dog to Lick Things?

Yes, it is common for canines, regardless of dog breed, size, and age, to lick things. Licking is normal behavior in dogs that can be traced back to their canine ancestors.

The dog’s tongue is an important muscle that helps it drink water, eat, and regulate body heat. Although a dog’s tongue contains fewer taste buds than a person’s tongue, they still use it to taste things. Dogs will rely on their strong sense of smell over licking things, but they still rely on all of their senses to get a feel about the world around them.

A dog licks things every day, and it usually is not a problem. Once you read further about the common reasons why they lick everything, you will realize it should not be a cause for panic.

small greyhound dog with tongue out

Why Does My Dog Lick Everything?

Dogs begin licking everything from the moment they are born and well into their late stages of life. While you rest on your couch and observe your dog, you might notice it lick itself first before other different items around the house.

Here are a few reasons why dogs lick each thing they might encounter.

  • Ease Behaviors
  • Explore Tastes
  • Express Affection
  • Communicate Wants and Needs


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If you are bringing a puppy or rescued dog home, make sure your home is dog-proof. Although it is normal for them to lick things, there are certain things a dog should not ingest.

Things Dogs Should Avoid Licking

Some human food is safe for dogs to consume, but that does not mean you should leave all kinds of food lying around. Your dog may try to lick it and could end up getting sick.

Canines should never excessively lick or eat chocolate, onions, chives, garlic, some fruits and vegetables, dairy, and other foods. Eating these foods can lead to unwanted side effects such as nausea, upset stomach, and diarrhea.

If you have any important electrical equipment, keep it somewhere your dog cannot reach so they won’t end up tempted to lick or chew on cables. Some popular house plants are considered mildly toxic to pets, including dogs.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a list t of toxic plants for dogs and a contact number for their Animal Poison Control Center. It is okay for dogs to want to lick anything they see, but if you believe your dog licked something harmful, contact your local animal hospital for further veterinary assistance.

Common Reasons for Dog Licking

Dog licking is common behavior in all dogs for different reasons. Most of the time, it is not something dog owners should worry about. Here are some common reasons why dogs may lick everything:

  • Soothe Skin: Dogs may lick their skin to help soothe itchy dog skin or irritations. Different types of infection can cause symptoms that make a dog’s skin feel uncomfortable. Dog licks provide comfort to those affected areas.
  • Alleviate Boredom: Puppies love playtime, and sometimes they can start licking things to help keep themselves busy. This type of behavior can continue as dogs mature. Save your dog from boredom by providing with chew toys.
  • Self-grooming: Dogs do not have brush-like tongues like cats, but they still use their tongues to groom themselves. They lick their coats to help spread healthy skin oils and remove any dirt or debris.

little girl with her dog

  • Ease Anxiety: Certain loud noises and other factors can make your dog feel nervous. They can attempt to calm themselves by licking things. They might have a favorite toy that they chew or lick to feel tranquil.
  • Medical Conditions: When your dog feels nauseous, it might lick things to remove any bad tastes from its mouth. If your dog has issues within its mouth, it may lick things to try to ease the pain.
  • Express Love: Dogs lick their owners to communicate their affection for them. Dogs and other canine species lick the alpha of the pack as a sign of acknowledgment and gratitude.
  • Feeding Time: One of the signs that your dog is hungry is when it begins to lick, bark, or bite its bag of food. You can tell your dog enjoyed its food if you see it lick its bowl clean after it finishes its food.
  • Exploring Surroundings: What do all dogs do when they are curious about something? They rely on their senses such as sight, smell, sound, and even taste. Dogs lick their owners after brisk walks because they like the taste of salt from sweat.
  • Treat Wounds: Wounds can be painful for dogs. They lick their wounds instinctively and try to ease the discomfort from the wound. Dog saliva does contain antibacterial properties, but it is best if you apply first aid treatment to your dog or seek further assistance from a veterinarian.

Always be cautious of what your dog is licking. While it is normal behavior for dogs to lick things, there are times when sometimes they are licking everything too often. Address wounds and infections with a vet.

How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Licking Everything?

There are several tricks and tips to help your dog lick things less. There are several ways to address some of the common reasons why they try to lick everything. Some of these methods can be completed at home and involve remedies people can easily obtain from their pantry or local grocery store.

  • Cooking Oils: If your pup licks itself too much due to itchy or dry skin, common household ingredients like coconut oil and olive oil can help soothe irritated skin. You can apply this homemade topical weekly until you see your dog’s irritated skin get better. You can also add a few drops to your dog’s food or water to give them a boost in nutrients.
  • Lemon Juice: Some lemon wedges left in warm water for a few hours can help soothe irritation on your dog’s coat. This will promote a healthy coat while encouraging your dog to lick the healing area less.
  • Play Dress Up: All dogs look amazing wearing outfits, regardless of their size or breed. If your dog cannot stop licking its body, get an old shirt for it to wear. Pet stores carry dog-friendly clothing too!
  • Increased Stimulation: If your dog or puppy is licking things out of boredom, then provide it with some amusement by getting it some toys. You can play fetch with your pet or take it on a walk to help meet its daily exercise needs. You can also invest in puzzles for dogs to help keep them mentally stimulated.
  • Training: Excessive licking can be prevented by taking the time to train your dog. If they lick something, a simple command such as “stop” should be sufficient to get your pup to stop. Use positive reinforcement training methods to get your dog to obey your commands.
  • Vet Visits: If your pup licks itself excessively to help ease discomfort, it might best seek further diagnosis from a veterinarian. The veterinarian can also check for any skin conditions or neurological concerns.

dog licking cbd drops from their owner

CBD Products

CBD-infused products for dogs are rising in popularity in the pet community. CBD is a naturally occurring compound from hemp plants that provides a list of benefits.

One of the great things about CBD for dogs is that they are federally legal, thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill. A guideline from the bill requires CBD products to contain less than 0.3% of THC. This means CBD products for dogs are non-intoxicating and non-toxic as well.

CBD works by supporting a dog’s endocannabinoid system to provide the following positive effects:

  • Ease Nervousness
  • Promote Calmness
  • Promote Natural Digestion and Sleep
  • Soothe Physical Discomfort
  • Nourish Skin

If your dog is licking anything in sight out of anxiety or because it is experiencing physical discomfort, CBD oil for dogs can help alleviate those concerns. Add the appropriate dosage amount to your dog’s treats, food, or water. Some people also massage CBD oil in the area of discomfort.

When looking for CBD products, HolistaPet is one of the top brands. CBD products from HolistaPet are all-natural and made without any harmful byproducts.

When Should I Be Concerned About a Dog Licking Everything?

Excessive licking may cause concern if there is some pain or a behavioral issue causing it. Whatever the cause is, it is recommended to seek medical advice from a vet. After running a few tests to determine the root cause, the vet might prescribe treatment to treat the underlying issue and help alleviate the problem.

Here are brief examples of when a pet owner should be concerned about their dog licking everything.

  • Bleeding: Your dog will lick a wound on instinct but licking the wounds too much should be prevented, or it might make it worse. Licking the wound too much can slow down the healing and cause infection or irritate the skin. Have a vet treat the wound and place an Elizabethan collar on your pup to prevent them from licking the wound again.
  • Infections: If your pooch cannot stop licking or biting at its paws, it might be due to a yeast infection. It is best to wrap on a medical bandage to keep it from licking that area further.

Final Thoughts – Why Does My Dog Lick Everything?

Dogs are the perfect companions for families. They help guard us and provide an endless amount of love. They can’t communicate with words, so pet owners need to be well-informed about what behavior is normal and what could be cause for concern.

Sometimes dogs may lick everything, which is normal behavior, but it is important to know when it can be signaling a problem. One of the best ways to keep your dog active and happy is through CBD Products from HolistaPet!



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