Why Does My Dog Lick The Couch? 9 Causes and Solutions
Dogs are fantastic additions to almost every family. Providing protection, love, and often a helpful paw in keeping everyone well entertained.
Having a loving pup around can boost the morale and health of the whole family: research suggests that dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression. I’m going to assume that’s in large part due to having an expanded emotional support system.
Plus, dogs bring all sorts of joy to kids when they need it the most by simply playing. My family’s two furry friends are an excellent outlet for my kids to burn off some of that infinite supply of energy they have. The best part? It comes naturally – both our good boy and our good girl are always there, ready to go.
But if we want our beloved dogs to stay healthy and content, it’s equally important for us to remember that we need to be responsible pet owners by returning the unconditional love they need and making sure we understand what their behaviors are telling us.
So, what about dogs that lick sofas? Why does my dog lick the couch? The quick and easy answer is that your dog is probably licking the couch for one or more of these reasons:
- There’s food on the couch
- Your dog is bored
- Anxiety and stress are getting to your dog
- Your dog likes something about the couch
- Your dog is exploring her world
- Your dog suffers from pica or has a nutritional deficiency
- Your dog is saying hello
- Your dog’s licking is an obsessive compulsion
- Licking the couch has become a habit
Unraveling the Mystery of Why Dogs Lick the Couch
Alright, that title might seem a little dramatic; I’m just trying to have some fun. Although, if your dog keeps licking the couch, it probably does feel like a mystery that needs to be solved. So, let’s take a closer look at the likely explanations for why dogs lick the couch.
Crumbs are one of the main causes of dogs’ couch-licking ways. Dogs are natural scavengers and will lick up any tasty morsels they happen across.
So if you…I mean your kids…enjoy snacking on the sofa and accidentally leave crumbs behind, there’s a good chance that your pooch will be there to help clean up the mess.
Boredom is another potential cause of this slightly weird behavior. After all, dogs need plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. If they aren’t getting enough of either one, they might resort to doing something like licking your furniture – just as a way of passing the time.
Anxiety And Stress
Anxiety and stress can also play a role here. Our four-legged friends experience emotions similar to ours, which means it makes sense that they would try to self-soothe in moments of distress.
Things like loud noises outside, wild kids running around inside or something like a baby disrupting her home routine can all make your dog anxious and stressed out.
If your good girl has had a lot of stress in her life, either lately or cumulatively, she may try licking your sofa as a way of dealing with her feelings.
The Couch Is Good
The smell and taste of the fabrics your couch is made of, the scent that we leave on the couch after sitting on it, or even the cleaner we use can stimulate your dog’s senses; making the couch seem like it might taste good.
So of course, your pooch is going to give it a try, why wouldn’t she?
There’s also the chance that she may also simply enjoy the feel of texture of the fabric itself.
Exploring her world with their tongue is another plausible reason why dogs lick couches. As curious animals, dogs will sometimes investigate unfamiliar objects with their noses and tongues – something odd about the furniture may have caught your dog’s attention, prompting her to give it a few licks here and there.
Pica Or Nutritional Deficiency
Pica (the general consumption of nonfood items) or a nutritional deficiency could potentially explain why some dogs lick couches too. If your furry buddy is lacking certain elements from her diet, she may resort to licking things as her body attempts to fill in those dietary gaps. Keep in mind that it’s usually a good idea to consult with a vet if you suspect your pup has an underlying health condition.
If your dog only licks the couch when you’re sitting on it then it could be her way of simply saying ‘hello’ or ‘I love you’. After all, much like us humans, dogs often communicate their emotions through touch – in other words, it could be that your sweet dog is expressing her affection by licking as close as possible to you without actually licking you.
She’d probably love it if you returned the favor by giving her a few belly rubs! But you probably won’t want to do that, because it’ll encourage her to do it again.
Obsessive Compulsive Behavior
In other cases, licking furniture could be an obsessive-compulsive behavior (OCB). This condition works much like its human counterpart but instead of perfectly performing certain tasks or cleaning things excessively, a dog with OCB may focus solely on one or two objects (like a couch) and lick them constantly.
Unfortunately, this isn’t unhealthy and may have been triggered by trauma, ongoing stress, or even extreme boredom – so it’s important to reach out to your veterinarian if you think this might be the case.
Finally, some dogs may just lick the couch because it’s a habit they picked up along the way. Even though she may have had an initial reason behind this behavior that has since passed, your pup might have been licking your sofa for so long that it has become part of her daily routine – kinda like how decaf drinkers still make themselves a cup of coffee each morning!
Why Did My Dog Suddenly Start Licking The Couch?
If any of the reasons I went over above have just appeared in your dog’s life, it could explain her change in behavior. For instance, have you recently acquired a new couch or brought home a new puppy? These could be the explanations for sudden and unexplained sofa licking.
It could be as simple as your pup wanting to explore the surface of the new couch, or it may be an indicator of new stress in the household.
Of course, there are also other reasons your dog might suddenly start licking the couch. I’ll take a look at those now.
Are you feeding your dog a different diet lately? A sudden change in nutrients could trigger a craving if the new food doesn’t contain enough of the nutrition she needs, she could be trying to fulfill any dietary deficiencies by licking the couch.
Is someone new frequently sitting on the couch or have you recently changed your cleaning products? All sorts of smells can lead dogs to investigate further and start licking – so it’s worth taking a look at what’s been happening around where she’s displaying this behavior.
But what if none of these seem to fit? A drastic behavior change can indicate something isn’t right medically and that your good girl isn’t comfortable.
If nothing else has changed in her life and this behavior or others have suddenly shown up, it would be wise to give your vet a call to make sure everything is okay.
Is It Okay For Dogs To Lick The Couch?
It’s a question that doesn’t necessarily have just one answer. On the one hand, it could be quite harmless – a sign of exploration or comfort from your pup.
However, if it’s excessive or you’re noticing signs that there might be something wrong medically or behaviorally, the root cause should be addressed.
Of course, there are other issues to consider too. If your dog is damaging the couch with her licking then that’s definitely something to take note of and try to discourage.
Similarly, if your good girl is ingesting bits of fabric or thread when she licks the couch you need to find ways to change her behavior.
Personally, I think it’s gross no matter the reason; I wouldn’t let either of my dogs make a habit out of licking the couch at all!
How To Stop My Dog From Licking The Sofa
Before tackling your dog’s behavior directly, it is important to assess and address any underlying issues that her couch licking may be a symptom of. Things like anxiety or a nutritional deficiency won’t go away simply because you teach your dog not to lick your couch.
Using commands like ‘no’ and ‘off’ can be effective in curbing licking habits, but you must be consistent and firm in their application for them to work.
Keep The Couch Food Free
Keeping the couch food free is essential too – make sure any crumbs are cleaned up immediately. You might want to consider not allowing young children to eat on the sofa altogether.
Stimulation is an important part of your dog’s well-being; give your dog plenty of mental stimulation with toys and social interactions (both with people and other pets) as well as physical exercise – take your good girl on walks or better yet leash-free hikes if possible!
Make The Sofa Unattractive
You can also make the couch unattractive to your dog by using a commercial or homemade spray that tastes bitter to your pup. However, always test this kind of product first before spraying it all over your furniture – you don’t want your couch to smell bad or become stained.
Get Some Help
If all else fails and you still can’t break your dog’s habit, something more serious could be going on – so it’s worth bringing it up at her next vet visit or even giving your vet a quick call to see what they suggest.
Lastly, punishment is not only mean, it’s also not very effective when trying to fix a problem like this. Positive reinforcement works much better!
Summary: Why Do Dogs Lick Couches?
So there you have it – licking couches isn’t nearly as bizarre or inexplicable as one might think! There are a variety of reasons why dogs might lick couches, ranging from exploring their environment to self-soothing in moments of distress.
In some cases, it may even be obsessive compulsive behavior or simply a habit they have picked up along the way.
Ultimately, to ensure your dog’s health and well-being, understanding what motivates our four-legged friends can help us form stronger bonds and better relationships with them – so keep these potential causes in mind next time you see your good girl giving your sofa a few licks!
With the right combination of positive reinforcement, stimulation, commands, cleanliness, and maybe even deterrent sprays you can make sure your pup keeps her tongue off of the sofa!
If you suspect your dog’s couch licking is more than just a harmless habit or if nothing else has changed in her life and this behavior or others have suddenly shown up, it would be smart to give your vet a call to make sure everything is okay.