Why Does My Dog Lick The Couch? Can I End This Behavior?

There are several reasons your dog licks the couch. However, the primary reason is boredom. If your dog is not getting enough mental stimulation, licking will provide that stimulation. Another reason is that they like the taste. It could be the material or that you spilt something yummy on the couch. Either way, your dog finds something tasty!

I’m sure it won’t surprise you when I say that dogs are strange creatures. One of the most bizarre things dog owners see their furry friends do is licking the couch. This behavior might baffle you…but then again, what dog behavior doesn’t?

The licking doesn’t stop at the couch, though. Some of you probably have dogs that sleep in bed with you. If your dog is a couch licker, there’s a good chance they’re a bed licker as well.

In this guide, we will cover why dogs lick furniture and what you can do to end this behavior.

Why Dogs Lick The Couch

There are several reasons dogs lick furniture. These reasons range from stress and insecurity to a dietary deficiency in their food.

Carefully read the reasons below. Could any of these be why your dog is licking the couch?

Boredom

Boredom is, without a doubt, the leading cause of licking. There’s nothing more exciting for a dog, especially if they are young, than a new toy he can chew, tear apart, or play with.

Like small children, dogs get bored with their toys. Once they get bored, they’ll look for something new to play with. That “something new” could be your couch.

Dogs need new toys from time to time to keep them more interested in the toy than your couch.

Considering licking due to boredom will often turn into chewing, it’s a good idea to have several toys for your dog to play with. This is especially true if he is still a puppy and is in the teething stage.

Stress and insecurity

Stress and insecurity have a significant impact on dog behavior. If you have a crazy work schedule, your dog is probably spending hours per day home alone. Licking is one way dogs deal with stress.

But why would your dog lick the couch? Because of your scent!

Since you likely spend a lot of time on the couch, the couch is full of your scent. When dogs are scared or stressed, they find comfort in their owner’s scent.

I believe this is the case with our dog. He is a rescue, and we have no idea how his former owners treated him. He was adopted before and was then somehow found again as a stray and placed in the shelter.

The shelter brought him back to the Humane Society, and they tried to contact the previous owner. After being unable to get in touch with the previous owner, they put him back up for adoption, which is how we found him.

I say all that to show that our dog most likely licks the couch because of stress and insecurity when left alone. He was probably neglected by his previous owners and is afraid of being abandoned again. When we leave, this causes insecurity. His natural response is to find our scent and lick.

Dietary Deficiency

One of the most common symptoms of a dietary deficiency is licking.

Although researchers aren’t sure why dogs lick when they have a dietary deficiency, the brain likely believes whatever they are licking will help with the deficiency.

For example, if your dog has a sodium imbalance, they might lick your couch because the couch has a salty taste to it.

If you suspect your dog might have a dietary deficiency, contact the vet as soon as possible. If the vet confirms your suspicion, they will recommend a new type of food or provide you with vitamins to put in our dog’s water.

Hiding Pain

Unfortunately, dogs cannot communicate to us with their words. That means they rely on actions to tell us something is wrong.

Dogs don’t like to show that they’re in pain, so you have to look for specific cues. Licking objects (in this case, the couch) is one of those cues. Licking brings comfort to dogs, so when they’re licking the couch, they might be trying to manage the pain.

Dental Issues

Another medical reason that could cause your dog to lick the couch is a dental problem. Periodontal disease is common in dogs. In fact, studies show that over 80% of dogs will experience periodontal disease before the age of three.

Licking will not only ease their mind, but can ease the physical pain and discomfort they’re experiencing.

Is Couch Licking Bad For My Dog? Can it Be Corrected?

Yes and yes.

You shouldn’t let your dog get away with licking the couch. Besides the fact that it will damage the couch, it can also be a health risk for dogs.

Your dog can be allergic to some of the small particles they’re licking, such as the fibers in the fabric, hair (yours or the dogs), dust, and many other things found on the couch.

The best way to get your dog to stop licking the couch is by introducing a new stimulation to them.

Get him new toys that will challenge him enough to keep his mind off the couch. One of the best distraction toys you can get your dog is a Kong toy. This is especially true if your dog is licking because of stress. Your dog will switch focus to licking and biting the toy instead of the couch. This means the toy will not only distract them from the couch, but it will encourage their natural licking instincts.

Licking the couch may seem like a bizarre behavior, but it’s more common than you think. Since it’s an annoying behavior and a bad habit, it’s important to correct as soon as possible.

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