Dogs lick everything, from your face to their own paws. While you might not understand the need, they also tend to lick areas which they frequent such as their own beds. If your dog is obsessively licking his bed, there can be a number of underlying reasons behind this behavior. Understanding and knowing the causes can help better your pooch's health and your peace of mind.
Dogs lick to get comfortable
One reason your dog is licking his bed repeatedly might be his bed is just that: his bed. Just like animals like to pee in certain areas to mark their territories, licking their bed is another way to stake claim. If you notice your canine licks his bed when he initially lies down in it, this can be a sign that he's simply just settling in, trying to clean the area, and spread his scent. If your dog licks the bed, don't fret — he's just making himself comfortable.
Dog OCD and separation anxiety
Just like humans, dogs have their own anxieties to deal with, and one way of dealing can be obsessively licking. If you notice your dog constantly licking his bed, not just when he hops in to settle down, but often during active times too, OCD could be the underlying issue. First, the underlying cause of the anxious behavior has to be addressed, and second, medication might be required.
Separation anxiety, like OCD, is another psychological contributor to constant bed licking. This sort of anxiety can start out from puppyhood or begin later in life. Take note of when your dog is licking; if you notice that if he begins licking around the time you normally leave or any time you prepare for an outing, separation anxiety might be the cause. Licking, including a dog licking his bed excessively, can be a form of self soothing — licking releases endorphins, which make him feel better.
Age is another factor to take into consideration. Much like their human counterparts, dogs' brains also suffer from old age, and dementia is one such ailment. Other symptoms that might go along with your dog's bed licking due to old age can be loss of appetite, disobedience, slow response time, increased sleep, and irritable behavior.
If your dog is young, he could be imitating behaviors learned in the litter. Puppies lick their mother's mouths when hungry and as they become older, licking becomes a way to create bonds either with you or other dogs. Dogs lick us to confirm a relationship or as a greeting, so licking anything else might indicate familiarly.
Treating excessive licking behavior
Make an appointment with your veterinarian to determine the true cause and best treatment for your canine's bed licking. Prior to the appointment, pay close attention to your dog's behavior and the times he licks and circumstances. Note what is going on in his environment when he begins licking, and note any other strange behaviors such as changes in diet, sleep patterns, and activity. Bring your notes along to the vet to give him a better idea of your dog's daily routine.