Dogs lick just about anything, including your couches and other furniture. If you have a problem with your dog licking your couch, you’re probably eager to get to the bottom of this behavior.
In the following guide, you’ll learn about all the reasons why your dog licks the couch all the time and what you can do to make him stop.
6 Reasons Your Dog is Licking Your Couch (or Other Furniture)
There are many reasons why your dog is licking your couch or other furniture. The following are six of the main reasons why your dog is exhibiting that behavior.
- There is something on the furniture
- Your dog likes the texture or taste of the couch
- It’s just something they do
- There’s an underlying anxiety
- Your dog is bored
- Your dog is experiencing a health problem
1. There is something on the furniture
Even if you can’t see or smell it, your dog might notice the scents and tastes from recent spills. If you’ve recently spilled something on your couch, your dog may lick the spot.
Since dogs use their noses and mouths to explore the world around them, it’s common for them to taste anything that smells interesting.
Since many people snack while sitting on their furniture, it’s common for crumbs to work their way onto the couch.
Your dog may be picking up leftover bits of food that are sitting on your furniture, even if you think you’ve wiped them all away.
This can even happen when there hasn’t been a spill. Since you are your dog’s favorite scent, it’s not unusual for them to taste anything that smells like you. Your scent will be left on your home’s furniture, making it an enticing spot for your dog to lick.
2. Your dog likes the texture or taste of the couch
There doesn’t have to be a big reason for your dog to lick something. It might be because he just likes the taste or texture of your couch.
Some dogs love the way suede or microfiber material feels on their tongue, especially if their mouth is still wet from drinking water.
3. It’s just something they do
Sometimes dogs get into bad habits. If your dog frequently licks your couch, it could be a sign that he’s developed a bad habit. Perhaps he did it once and decided it was nice, so he continues to do it.
4. There’s underlying anxiety
Like humans, dogs turn to things they enjoy to alleviate anxiety. If your dog discovered that he likes the smell and taste of the couch, he might go there and lick when he’s experiencing anxiety.
Your dog might be licking out of anxiety if you notice other anxious behaviors, such as changes in behavior. Check this guide for tips to help dogs with separation anxiety.
If your dog’s living arrangements have recently changed, it’s common for them to experience significant anxiety.
5. Your dog is bored
Dogs often lick things when they’re bored. Since licking something offers them stimulation, it’s the perfect solution when they’re feeling under-stimulated.
Bored dogs frequently lick and chew items near them when they’re bored. Unfortunately for dog owners, furniture is often a prime target for their dog’s boredom relief. You may also notice your dog chewing on his paws out of boredom.
To combat this, make sure your dog is getting plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Your dog should be getting plenty of daily exercises. You should also provide your dog with several toys and activities to prevent boredom.
6. Your dog is experiencing a health problem
Changes in your dog’s behavior are often a red flag that something else is going on. If your dog has a newly developed habit of licking the couch, it’s important to rule out any underlying health conditions.
In this case, licking the couch is your dog’s way of communicating a problem. Licking furniture can be a sign of the following medical conditions:
- Tooth pain
- Pituitary gland diseases
- Cushing’s disease
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Vitamin deficiency
If you’ve ruled out all other reasons for your dog’s behavior change, visit your dog’s veterinarian for their opinion.
They can rule out any health problems and provide you with feedback about the best way to curb this undesired behavior.
6 Tips to Help You Stop Your Dog from Licking Your Furniture
Now that you know the reasons your dog might be licking your furniture, you’re ready to learn some tips to help you stop the behavior.
In some cases, you might just let your dog continue to lick your couch. However, if their licking behavior bothers you, there are six things you can do to get your dog to stop.
- Use positive reinforcement training
- Use a bitter spray on your furniture
- Treat your dog’s anxiety
- Make sure to meet your dog’s exercise needs
- Provide more toys for your dog to play with
- Take your dog to get evaluated by a veterinarian
1. Use positive reinforcement training
Dogs don’t respond well to yelling or scolding. You should also never use physical punishment to curb bad behaviors in your dog since this will only cause your dog to feel distance from you.
Use positive reinforcement training to get your dog to stop licking your couch and other furniture. Teaching your dog a “sit” or “stop” command is a helpful way to get them to stop licking your furniture.
Simply use one of these commands to get your dog to stop licking the couch. When they discontinue licking, give them a treat or verbal praise.
2. Use a bitter spray on your furniture
There are lots of specially formulated sprays on the market that will taste bitter to your dog, convincing them to stop licking or chewing anything you spray it on.
Make sure to pick a spray that’s safe for your dog to lick, even though the point of the spray is to convince them not to lick your furniture.
Spray the bitter spray on your furniture to help get your dog out of the habit of licking or biting furniture. Over time, the spray may not be necessary.
However, some dogs will need regular reminders and reapplications of the spray to stop them from licking your furniture.
3. Treat your dog’s anxiety
If your dog is licking the couch because of anxiety, it’s important to treat their underlying anxiety if you want to fix the problem (and provide a happier life for your pup).
Provide your dog with lots of emotional support and make changes to help alleviate anxiety in their schedule.
Some dogs are prone to anxiety, often from their sensitivity to sounds in their environment. If your dog is anxious from certain stimuli (such as the doorbell ringing), take steps to desensitize your dog to these things.
If your dog’s anxiety continues, talk to his veterinarian for additional suggestions. Your dog’s vet may prescribe an anti-anxiety medication if lifestyle changes don’t manage your dog’s anxiety.
4. Make sure to meet your dog’s exercise needs
Exercise is very important for dogs. Some dog breeds require a lot more exercise than others, making exercise an absolute necessity.
If your dog is licking or biting your furniture, it may be a sign that they have extra energy that needs to be used up. Provide your dog with their daily exercise requirements to help promote good behavior.
If you can’t take your dog outside for a walk (due to weather or other constraints), spend some time playing with your pup indoors. This will help your dog burn off all that extra energy.
5. Provide more toys for your dog to play with
Sometimes dogs just need more to keep them busy. If your dog is licking the furniture out of boredom, try providing them with more toys to play with. Chew toys, plush toys, and food-dispensing toys are all great for keeping your dog entertained.
Toys that dispense treats may be especially helpful since they will provide a more interesting flavor than your furniture.
If you suspect your dog is licking your couch because they like how it tastes, provide something that tastes even better with a treat-dispensing toy.
6. Take your dog to get evaluated by a veterinarian
If your dog has only recently started licking your furniture, it may indicate something else is happening.
Take your dog to his vet for an evaluation to rule out any medical conditions. Since a number of medical conditions may cause your dog to lick things, it’s important to get your veterinarian’s insight.
Even if everything ends up being fine from a medical standpoint, your dog’s veterinarian will be able to provide suggestions on how to break your dog’s bad habit. With their input, you’ll be able to figure out your next course of action.
Dogs lick furniture for a number of reasons. If your dog is licking your couch, it could be that he likes the taste and texture of the material. He may even notice scents and smells you can’t perceive since dogs have very sensitive senses of taste and smell.
However, licking furniture can also be a sign that your dog has a physical or neurological problem. To rule out medical problems, it’s important to take your dog for regular checkups with its veterinarian.
Once you’ve ruled out any medical causes, you can use a combination of training, redirection, and bitter sprays to keep your dog from licking your furniture.