A major chunk of being a dog owner is making your piece with 2 things. Dog hair everywhere and lots of licking all over the house. Dogs can be curious creatures with their quirks and cute charming shenanigans. They may do something gram-worthy one minute and in the next, they’re licking their own rear ends. Another favorite of dogs with an affection for licking is furniture. Clean, spotless and fragile furniture at the mercy of your dog while you’re away. All this licking means the dog is unknowingly swallowing all types of bad things. Furniture such as couches is home to all kinds of hair, fibres and dirt that could harm a pooch’s digestive system.
Dogs see the world mostly through their senses of smell and taste, even if it sounds contradictory. They rely heavily on their noses for familiar smells and licking to properly identify known objects of affection. It’s a combination of both senses that they trust the most since they’re not the most eagle-eyed of species.
If you’ve ever come back to a house full of couches, chairs and tables that have been licked thoroughly with a distinct smell, you may already know what we’re talking about. It is not easy to put up with a dog that does that, but there is a reason why some dogs may develop this behavior overnight.
What could cause it?
Your dogs have peculiar reasoning skills, so it might be tough to explain some of their behavior. If your couch is associated with good smells by the dog, such as products with fruity smells and lotions etc, it could easily be the primary cause. Just because your furniture smells good! That may not be the only reason, though. If you are the type of person to eat all over the house, it may be possible that your dog is just looking out for bits and crumbs of food to devour. Dogs have a great sense of smell and can snoop out the tiniest of morsels from under the furniture.
A dog which stays home alone may resort to licking furniture as a way to pass time while they wait for you. A dog can become bored with toys and look for other things with good texture to lick and bite. That is one of the reasons couches are the most common victims of the affection of your dogs, because of how different they feel and smell. It has been found to be comforting for your dog, as the texture may remind them of their guardian human’s skin. However, it isn’t as good for your furniture as it is for your dog.
However, these reasons for sensory delight may not be the only reasons. If your dog is licking and biting furniture for no reason at all, you should be a little more concerned.
Could The Behavior Be Compulsive/Obsessive?
It is normal for dogs to inquire about their environment with their sensory receptors of taste and smell, but if they start aggressively licking or scratching furniture it’s a sign of worry. Note the behavior of your dog while they go through their routine of licking and scratching things. If your dog only does that in your absence, your dog may be under-stimulated and experiencing anxiety. It could be a sign of separation anxiety which is fairly common in dogs whose owners have to leave them alone for an extended period of time.
In the event of this behavior happening, while you are right there in front of them, you must note some things. Does your dog look zoned out? Does the licking seem compulsive, or can you get the dog to stop doing it without using force? Try distracting the dog with a favorite toy of their own and see if they will be interrupted. A dog which cannot be stopped from licking without the use of force may be doing it due to an obsession/compulsion.
Why Is This Happening?
One of the common causes of this obsessive-compulsive licking is that your dog feels under-stimulated inside the house. A dog which does not get to vent out their energies outside the house may become under-socialized and feel anxious when they are alone in the house. Dogs can experience loneliness, boredom and stress just as humans do, which can be a leading cause for such compulsive behavior.
Other causes could be medically diagnosed by a veterinarian, such as Dementia(Canine Cognitive Dysfunction) or other general illnesses such as allergies, infections(parasitic or other), and pain or discomfort in some body parts. All these are legitimate reasons for your pup to start behaving in the way they do, including licking furniture and floors alike.
This helpful youtube video will make you understand all the different reasons dog lick things.
How To Stop Your Dog From Licking The Furniture?
Now that you know why your dog does the honour of letting his saliva glaze every seat in the house, surely you would love to know how to stop it! The solution differs for the different sources of the problem. For instance, you are going to have a hard time restricting yourself from eating on the couch, but you can circumvent that by making sure your dog has proper nutrition every day and is not underfed by any means.
A well-fed dog is almost always a well-behaved dog.
Spray Some Answers –
Your furniture can be saved from all the moisture and tongue of your dog by using a deterrent spray for licking. The spray usually leaves a very bitter taste that can discourage your dog from laying another lick on the furniture. Always be sure to follow instructions written on the package. Some sprays last for longer durations but most of them would need a continuous application to be a success. This is a tactic that will stop your dog from licking anything you have used the spray on but will probably not be a long term solution if there’s something else going on.
Such sprays can also be substituted with a little ammonia, something citric, vinegar or pepper which are a lot of smells dogs can’t stand. Make sure it isn’t nauseating to yourself first, though.
Take Your Dog To The Vet –
If you are absolutely sure that the issue at hand is compulsive and obsessive, it would be optimal to contact a veterinarian. There can always be neurological or emotional causes to any problem your dog might be suffering from since a dog cannot voice its own concerns to you. If your dog licks furniture compulsively and obsessively, it can be linked to anxiety or nervousness your dog might be experiencing all alone at home. Obviously, this is a curable issue as your vet can prescribe some mood-alleviating drugs that will help your dog remain calmer when you are away.
Increase Walks And Playtime –
Dogs can easily become lonely and bored when left alone for an extended period of time. They cannot pick up a magazine to read or binge on some high-school drama when bored. Toys you have bought for them eventually bore them, and so they start chewing and licking on your couch. Such behavior may indicate a lack of external stimulation or excessive energy.
Dogs have different physical needs and they need to spend their energy from the food they eat on something, don’t they? If the dog isn’t drained or tired even after you have taken him out for his walk, you could do yourself some favors by playing games with your dog. By making your dog exercise and exhaust themselves, you can suck the evil excessive energy out of your dog.
Hopefully, you can then be relieved from a saggy couch.
Eliminate Health Causes –
Apart from the pressures of anxiety and stress, your dog may still have some biological issues that could be making them lick furniture as a comfort mechanism. Problems like anxiety can be taken care of by the help of aromatherapy, medications or other prescribed drugs, however, if there’s a biological problem then it can only be looked upon by a certified veterinarian. Things such as digestion problems, infections anywhere on the body are painful things and licking/chewing on furniture may provide your pup with short-term relief, but it’s not a lasting solution.
By taking your dog to the vet, you are making a choice to look out for their health and that’s something you should be proud of.
By now, you’re aware of the what, how and whys of your dog licking furniture all over your house. Here are some helpful tips that could sum it up for you – play more, socialize your dog, give them toys to play with. If nothing else works, you need to check with a doctor for proper diagnosis of this behavior. If you found the article helpful, you would benefit from watching this video on the same subject of interest.