Why Does My Dog Lick the Couch All the Time? 

A dog sniffing a blanket on a couch.

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Do you have a dog that loves to lick furniture?

It can be tough trying to stop your dog from licking the couch all the time. In this article, we explore the reasons why dogs lick furniture and provide some tips on how you can stop them.

By understanding why your dog is licking furniture, you can take steps to help them overcome this behavior. We hope that our tips will help make life easier for both you and your furry friend.

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Why Does My Dog Lick The Furniture?

Dogs lick furniture, like a couch, for a variety of reasons, from boredom to anxiety, to health issues.

If your dog is licking the couch due to a potential health issue, it’s best to consult your vet. Read on for more information about other possible reasons for your dog’s furniture licking.

Boredom

Some dogs will lick the couch when they’re bored, since licking is a way for them to engage with their environment. If your dog is left alone for long periods of time, he may start licking the furniture as a way to keep himself entertained.

Scents

Dogs have a keen sense of smell and can pick up on different scents that we can’t. It’s possible that your couch has a scent that smells good to your dog and they will lick the couch because they want to taste what they smell

This is more likely to be the cause if you tend to eat while sitting on the couch, especially if you have dropped crumbs while eating on the couch. Your dog may smell these later and lick the couch because of it.

Vitamin Deficiency

Another reason dogs lick the furniture is that they have a vitamin deficiency. If your dog isn’t getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals in their diet, they may start licking things as a way to supplement their intake.

If you think your dog may have a vitamin deficiency, talk to your vet about changing their food or adding supplements to their diet.

Anxiety and Stress

Dogs may lick furniture when they’re feeling anxious or stressed. This can be due to changes in the home, such as a new baby or pet, or due to traumatic events, such as being in a car accident.

If you think your dog may be licking the furniture because of anxiety or stress, consult with your vet about treatment options. There are a variety of medications and therapies that can help reduce your dog’s stress levels.

Digestive Disorders

Dogs may lick furniture as a way to soothe their stomachs if they are experiencing digestive problems. This can be due to eating something that didn’t agree with them, or due to something more serious.

If your dog is licking the furniture due to digestive problems, you should take them to the vet for an examination.

Neurological Problem

In some cases, dogs may lick furniture as a result of a neurological problem, such as dementia or obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Licking due to OCD tends to be more difficult to distract your dog to get them to stop the licking. If you are concerned that a neurological problem, like OCD, is causing your dog’s licking, you should contact your vet and get your dog checked out.

Dental Problems

Dogs may also lick furniture because of dental problems. If your dog is experiencing tooth pain, they may start licking the furniture as a way to soothe their mouth.

This is another cause that needs to be looked at by the vet. If your dog is suffering dental issues, the only fix is to be seen by the vet.

Bad Habit

In some cases, a dog may begin licking the furntiure for a specific reason, like those above, but then once that issue is taken care of, they continue their licking. This kind of licking has become a habit and can be hard to break.

How Do I Get My Dog to Stop Licking the Furniture? 

A dog sniffing couch cushions.

The first step to getting your dog to stop licking the furniture is to determine the cause.

Once you’ve determined this you can take steps to correct the behavior.

Positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is often the best way to get a dog to stop licking furniture if the cause is behavioral. This means rewarding your dog when they don’t lick the couch, and ignoring them when they do.

You can also provide your dog with alternatives to licking the furniture, such as chew toys or licking mats. If you catch your dog licking the furniture, redirect their attention to one of these toys.

If you want more information about licking mats, read this post, Benefits of Lick Mats for Dogs.

Dietary Supplements or Diet Change

If the cause of your dog’s licking is a vitamin deficiency, you can try adding supplements to their diet or change the type of food they are on. This is something you should talk to your vet about before starting, as they can recommend the best type and dosage of supplement for your dog.

Reduce Stress Triggers

If the cause of your dog’s licking is anxiety or stress, you can try to reduce the triggers in their environment. You will need to start by figuring out what is stressing your dog out. Once you know that you can try to limit their exposure to it.

If reducing the stress triggers doesn’t help, you can also try one of the next two suggestions.

Anxiety medication

If your dog is licking furniture due to anxiety, your vet may prescribe medication to help reduce their stress levels. This can be a short-term or long-term solution, depending on your dog’s needs.

Behavioral therapy

If the cause of your dog’s licking is behavioral, your vet may also suggest behavioral therapy. This is a process where your dog meets with a behavioral specialist who will help you train your dog to stop licking the furniture.

This is a more long-term solution, but it can be very effective in helping to correct the behavior.

More Exercise and Mental Stimulation

If your dog is licking the furniture because they are bored, increasing their exercise and mental stimulation may help. If nothing else, your dog should be more tired and spend more time napping than licking.

You can increase their exercise by going for more walks, or by playing fetch or tug of war. For more ideas on what you can do with your dog, read this post, 24 Indoor Activities for Dogs.

Mental stimulation can be increased by giving your dog puzzles to do, or giving them a Kong or Snuffle Mat to use. Read this post, Make Your Own Snuffle Mat, if you’d like to make your own.

Use a Deterrent

If your dog is licking the furniture because they like the taste or smell, you can try using a deterrent. This is a spray that you apply to the furniture that makes it taste bad. Just make sure to test a small, hard to see spot first to make sure it doesn’t damage your fabric before applying it where your dog likes to lick.

When your dog licks the furniture they will taste the deterrent and should stop. You will need to reapply the deterrent regularly, as it will wear off over time.

Some options are Stop the Chew and Bitter Apple Spray. Once your dog is consistently not licking the furniture you can try not using the spray for a while. If they go back to licking, try the spray again, but hopefully, one or two tastes will be enough to get them to stop.

Provide Other Things to Lick

If your dog is licking the furniture because they like the taste or smell, you can try giving them other things to lick. A couple of ideas are a Kong filled with peanut butter (or other spreadable food) or a licking mat.

Address the Health Problems

If you think your dog is licking the furniture due to a health problem, they need to be seen by the vet. Once the vet has determined the issue, you can work at correcting the problem.

Some health issues are easier to treat than others, but most are easier to treat the sooner it is diagnosed. If you are in doubt about something relating to new behavior, it’s always better to err on the safe side.

I’ve never had a vet that was upset that I called about a possible health issue. Some I’ve been given advice for over the phone, others I’ve been told to bring my dogs in for. I’d rather call and be told it’s nothing than put it off and find out later it was serious.

Is Licking Furniture Harmful for Dogs?

While licking furniture is not harmful in and of itself, it can be a sign that there is something wrong with your dog. If you are concerned about your dog’s licking behavior, please consult your veterinarian. They can help to determine the cause of the licking and prescribe the best course of treatment.

How to Remove Dog Licking Stains From Furniture

If your dog has left licking stains on your furniture, there are a few things you can do to remove them. The best method will depend on the material of your furniture.

For fabric you can get wet, you can try using a mild soap and water. Be sure to test this in an inconspicuous area first, to make sure it doesn’t damage your furniture.

Then lightly wet the area with the water and soap mixture by spraying it with a spray bottle or by using a white cloth that has been dampened with the soapy water. Blot gently then repeat with a damp cloth without soap. Let air dry or use a dry cloth and gently blot to speed up the drying process.

For leather furniture, you will want to use a commercial leather cleaner to reduce the chances of permanently damaging your furniture.

For wood furniture, it’s best to wipe it off as soon as you catch your dog licking it. If the saliva has dried, a baby wipe should be able to get it cleaned up.

For delicate furniture, you will need to find out what is safe to use on that type of fabric or consult a professional to have it cleaned.

German Shepherd laying on a couch with it's tongue out.

Related Questions

Besides licking the couch or other furniture, your dog may lick other items as well. Continue reading for more questions about dogs licking things.

Why Does My Dog Lick the Carpet?

Dogs will lick the carpet for the same reasons as they lick the furniture. In my experience, my dogs tend to lick the carpet more often than the furntiure. Luna is my couch licker, but both will lick the carpet, but mainly in one area.

They both choose to take their treats to one certain area of the carpet to eat. That is the same area they will lay and lick repeatedly (especially right after their treat). I’m positive that this licking is due to their being able to smell their treat on the carpet.

Why Does My Dog Lick My Pillow?

There are a few reasons why your dog may lick your pillow. One reason could be that they are attracted to the smell of your shampoo or other products you use on your hair.

Another reason could be that they are trying to show you how much they love you. A third reason could be that they are anxious or stressed and this is their way of self-soothing.

Whatever the reason, if you don’t want your dog licking your pillow you will need to train them not to do it, or put the pillow in an area they can’t get to.

Why Does My Dog Lick the Bed?

There are a few reasons why your dog may lick the bed. One reason could be that they are trying to show you how much they love you. Another reason could be that they are anxious or stressed and this is their way of self-soothing.

A third reason could be that they are attracted to the smell of your shampoo or other products you use on your hair. Whatever the reason, if you don’t want your dog licking the bed you will need to train them not to do it, or prevent your dog from going into your room.

Why Does My Dog Lick His Bed?

Dogs lick their beds for a few reasons. It could be that they have had treats or chews in their bed and they are trying to clean up the crumbs. Your dog could also be licking their bed because they are anxious, stressed, or have an upset stomach.

Conclusion

While it’s perfectly normal for dogs to lick the furniture from time to time, if it’s happening frequently, it may be a sign that something is wrong. It could be as simple as boredom, to something the vet should check out.

Whatever the reason is, there are things you can do to stop the behavior. Fix the cause, either by giving your dog things to do to cut down boredom, or taking them to the vet to figure out and treat a health issue, and you should see the furniture licking decrease and hopefully stop altogether.

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