Why Do Dogs Lick Their Beds? Is It Normal?

August 2, 2022 // 10 minute read

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Have you ever wondered “Why do dogs lick their beds?” Is this a normal habit or is it something that I should be concerned about? Find out the answers to these questions and more below.

Dogs lick beds for a variety of reasons. It’s a natural way dogs discover the world by licking and smelling. More reasons include the scent on the bed, the taste of the bed if there’s food on it, stress, cleanliness, separation anxiety, hunger, boredom, or your pooch finds it comforting.

I know many dog owners are concerned when they see their pub licking the bed, but in all likelihood, there’s nothing to be worried about. On the other hand, it can be a sign of possible illness or anxiety, so it’s something to keep in mind.

Today, I’d like to answer the question “Why do dogs lick their beds?” It’s normal for this to happen in some cases, but it’s also a potential sign that your dog is ill. We’ll discuss all of the possibilities below.

why do dogs lick their beds
Photo by Incredibull_Photos on Pixabay.com

The Biggest Reasons For Why Do Dogs Lick Their Beds

In a perfect world, I’d be able to provide one answer to “Why do dogs lick their beds?” But the world isn’t perfect and your dog might be licking their bed for a wide variety of reasons.

To help you better understand why this might be happening, I’ll tell you several reasons why the dog is constantly licking the bed and performing compulsive grooming behavior. Just know that this excessive licking behavior could happen because of separation anxiety, pet craves, appetitive behavior, occasional stress, and other reasons.

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Age-Related Bed Licking

Bed licking becomes a more prevalent problem as a dog’s brain reaches old age. The dog’s tongue constantly licking the bed is an irritable behavior, yet it’s happening because your pup might be suffering from dementia or other age-related problems.

Is your dog beginning to show other signs of aging? Your dog may be becoming more disobedient, losing its appetite, sleeping more often, or responding more slowly when you call him or her when it’s time to eat.

There’s nothing to specifically worry about if this is happening because your dog is aging. It’s part of the natural aging process and it isn’t a sign of a more serious problem.

Behavior Imitation

Another possible reason is your dog learned to lick the bad while in the litter. It’s possible that your pooch saw his or her mother lick its mouth when it was hungry. 

Now, as your dog is getting older, it looks at licking as a sign of bonding. The dog itself or licking the bad old or maybe just licking the covers to bond with you or other possible dogs.

Separation Anxiety/OCD

Obsessive licking is a phenomenon that dogs experience. It often happens because they are going through some level of anxiety.

According to cuteness.com, “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.”

Is it possible to treat excessive licking or obsessive bed licking? Two steps immediately come to mind that includes:

  1. Discover the underlying cause of the anxious behavior
  2. Seek medical treatment from a qualified vet =
  3. The best treatment might lead to giving your dog medication

Similar to OCD, separation anxiety is a psychological factor that may cause your dog to continuously lick the bad. This form of anxiety may begin when your dog is a puppy. But it also could start later throughout your dog’s life.

Ask yourself the following questions to determine if your dog is experiencing separation anxiety:

  • When does excessive licking take place?
  • Does your dog begin licking the bed right before you leave?
  • Does your pup start licking the covers when he or she knows you are about to exit the home?

Dogs lick excessively for several different reasons. Many of them use it as a method of self-soothing. Other dogs love to initiate this habit because repetitive licking releases endorphins.

Boredom

Does your pooch have a tough time being stimulated at home? When the stimulation is at a minimum, this can often lead to compulsive grooming and licking.

On the other hand, instead of compulsively licking and grooming itself, your dog could begin compulsive bed licking as an alternative manifestation.

The best way to keep your dog happy, seen, and free of boredom is to pay attention to your pup. Give it lots of attention throughout the day. Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercises so take it for multiple long walks during the day. And spend time with your pooch by hanging out with your puppy and petting it, loving it, and showing you how much you truly care.

Related article: Top 10 Best Dog Beds, Our Complete Analysis

Hunger

This should be fairly obvious, but your dog may start licking the covers, the bed, and everything else in the house if it’s hungry. It could be happening because your dog is trying to eat crumbs and other food particles from the carpet, the bedspread, or other potential sources.

Guess what? It may be time to start feeding your dog more if he or she is hungry this often. Consult your vet, explain the situation, and allow them to make a recommendation. You may need to change your food or change the amount of food that your dog eats each day to prevent appetitive licking due to boredom.

Cleaning

Does your dog often lick itself and clean itself while lying on the bed? If your pup begins to lick the bed, it very well might be happening because your dog meant to lick itself while cleaning and it licked the bed by accident.

Nobody likes sleeping on a bed filled with dog slobber. Yet, you want your dog to remain clean, healthy, and happy. Instead of worrying about your dog licking the bed, maybe you should train your pooch and only allow it to lay in its dog bed instead of laying all over your bed.

For The Love Of Licking

Finally, you just might happen to own a dog that likes to lick things. Some dogs just really enjoy licking anything that they can, including the bed.

Why? Well, remember that dogs like to lick things and sniff things to experience the world. Maybe they smell a sweet or salty scent on the bedspread and decide to lick it to further investigate what’s going on.

This may seem kind of gross to you, but it’s a normal and natural habit for dogs. So, if it doesn’t bother you that much, you shouldn’t make a big deal about your dog licking things like the bed unless you believe your dog might be getting sick.

dog licking nose under blanket
Photo by Alkhaine on Pixabay.com

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Beds, Medical 101: Could Be A Sign Of A Medical Condition

Unfortunately, the root of this problem might be much more serious than the simple explanations like your dog just enjoys licking things, or it likes to lick things because it gets to taste your scent.

In some instances, your dog might initiate too much licking if it’s suffering from a serious medical condition. But why do dogs lick their beds if it hurts them?

Gastrointestinal Distress

According to notabully.org, “Researchers have found that dogs who lick random surfaces are more likely to suffer from gastrointestinal problems. These problems could be caused, among other things, by internal parasites such as worms, irritable bowel syndrome, or your doggie could have ingested an inedible object.”

If your dog is licking because of an upset stomach, it’s best to bring them to the vet to treat the gastrointestinal discomfort. Once the discomfort is treated, likely, the obsessive bed licking will also be calmed down as well.

Pica

On PetMD.com, Dr. Kelly Black tells us that “Pica is a condition in which dogs crave and eat non-food items. Some dogs may only eat one type of object, while others will eat a wide variety of items. Pica can endanger a dog’s health because what they swallow may be toxic, disrupt the normal digestive process, or get lodged in their intestinal tract.”

Based on that description, you should treat Pica like a serious issue. Dogs with this condition could eat just about anything. In some cases, you might find your dog chewing on drywall. In another situation, the dog might attempt to eat golf balls. They also like to eat clothing items including pantyhose, underwear, and socks along with washcloths and towels.

To determine if your dog has an underlying medical issue, you’ll likely need to bring it to the veterinarian. While there, your vet will ask to take a stool, urine, and blood sample as well as run other tests to look for parasites, digestion and malabsorption problems, and other potential conditions. Hopefully, these two reasons will help you understand the question “Why do dogs lick their beds?”

The Final Word On Why Do Dogs Lick Their Beds

Determining the answer to “Why do dogs lick their beds?” can be challenging at best. At other times, it can be incredibly frustrating, to say the least. Just know that in many instances this is normal behavior because it just might be part of your dog’s personality.

On the other hand, it can also be a sign that your dog is suffering from some type of medical malady or unwanted health condition. It’s best to try and narrow down the reason or reasons why your dog might be dealing with this problem.

Some things to consider include:

  • Boredom – your dog might lick itself because repetitive licking releases endorphins and this will help to kill the boredom that it experiences due to being understimulated. It’s also possible that the mutt is seeking attention.
  • Separation Anxiety/OCD – your dog could be suffering from separation anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Regular walks and exercise will help your mutt minimize anxiety.
  • Old age – at times, dogs will begin licking the bed and other objects due to old age and dementia. Let nature run its course and accept this fact of life.
  • Hunger – it’s possible that your dog is licking excessively because it’s hungry. Maybe it likes a particular scent on your bed. Try feeding your dog more often to eliminate the problem.
  • Cleanliness – it’s possible that your dog isn’t licking the bed. If it cleans itself on the bed, it may just accidentally lick the bed instead of licking itself.
  • Medical Conditions – occasionally, dogs will lick themselves because of gastrointestinal issues and pica. Talk to a veterinarian about potential treatments for the underlying medical condition.
  • Joy – some dogs love to lick furniture, themselves, the bedspread, humans, and animals as well. Your canine may find joy in this behavior.
  • Imitation – your furry friend may have picked up the habit of licking while spending time with other puppies after being born. Or maybe its mother would lick around its mouth during feeding time. Your furball may be imitating another animal.

I’m glad that you found your way here and I hope this information was informative and answered your questions. If you have something important that you’d like us to share, feel free to let us know about it in the comments.

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