There is possibly nothing worse than laying down to only discover that your dog has turned your pillow into a slobbery mess. Most dogs have been known to lick their owner’s pillows from time to time. However, some dogs do this more than others. If your dog frequently licks your pillow, then you will likely be wondering: why does my dog lick my pillow?
Your dog licks your pillow because it is instinctual. Other causes include anxiety or OCD. Dog training and veterinary care can help alleviate obsession with pillow licking.
In this article, we will be explaining why your dog may be licking your pillow and how you can stop it when it starts to become a problem. We will also be describing the elements of canine anxiety and OCD, both of which have excessive licking as a common symptom.
7 Reasons Your Dog Licks Your PIllow
There are seven main reasons why dogs lick the pillows of their owners. They range from being instinctual to being a symptom of anxiety or OCD. To rule out a more serious problem, other symptoms of anxiety and OCD will be described.
The Pillow Tastes Good To Your Dog
Possibly the most common cause of your dog licking your pillow is that it tastes good. People spend hours on their pillow every night, which means that your sweat is likely all over yours.
Although this usually doesn’t bother humans, your dog’s heightened sense of smell means that they can smell the salt in your sweat left on your pillow. This salt tastes good to dogs, which means that they see your pillow as a tasty snack.
The Pillow Smells Like You
The following common reason behind dogs licking their owner’s pillows is that it smells like their owners. Most owners are a source of comfort for dogs, so their smell is comforting as well.
As a result, they may lick your pillow when you are away as a source of comfort. This, combined with the salty taste, usually ends up with a slobbery pillow when their owners get home.
Your Dog Suffers From Anxiety
Excessive licking is a common symptom of canine anxiety. As we have mentioned previously, pillows smell like the person that sleeps on them, so dogs often lick their owner’s pillow to comfort themselves.
This can be a symptom of both separation anxiety and general canine anxiety. The symptoms of anxiety in dogs could also include:
● Barking or howling
● Excessive panting
● Attempting escape from a house or yard
● Urination and defecation (eating it after is sometimes a symptom as well)
● Obsessive chewing and other destructive behavior
● Aggression issue and other behavioral problems
It is important to note that your dog might only exhibit a few of these symptoms. Separation anxiety often includes the same symptoms as general canine anxiety, but these symptoms are exhibited only when their owners are away. To effectively treat anxiety, it is suggested to visit a vet and seek training help from a qualified dog trainer.
Your Dog May Have OCD
Like anxiety, excessive licking can also be a symptom of canine Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD.
Although many of the symptoms of canine OCD are similar to those of canine anxiety, there are some additional symptoms of canine OCD that are unique to this disorder. These unique OCD symptoms include:
● Excessive tail chasing and spinning
● Shadow and light fixation or chasing
● Being obsessed with a toy or other objects
● Trying to eat invisible flies or “fly snapping”
● Drinking an excessive amount of water
As with anxiety, your dog may only exhibit one or two of these symptoms and still have canine OCD. However, these symptoms are usually exhibited multiple times a day, every day.
To effectively treat and manage canine OCD, it is suggested to receive a combination of veterinary care and training from a qualified dog trainer or a veterinary behaviorist.
Your Dog Is Cleaning Your Pillow
Your dog may also be licking your pillow because they are merely cleaning it. This doesn’t mean that your pillow is necessarily dirty, but that they are likely just trying to get the smell of your sweat off of it.
Your Dog Is Expelling Energy
Like with many other destructive and seemingly obsessive behaviors, your dog may be licking your pillow as a way to expel pent-up energy. You can discern this from canine Obsessive-compulsive disorder based on how often this and other obsessive behaviors occur.
OCD symptoms occur throughout the day, every day. Meanwhile, obsessive behavior resulting from a lack of exercise only occurs at certain times of the day and/pr in certain situations.
Your Dog Is Fatigued
Dogs also tend to lick when they are tired. Therefore, this might also be a cause behind a dog licking its owner’s pillow. If you notice your dog doing this in the morning or at night, then being overly tired may be the cause.
Why Does My Dog Lick Pillows And Blankets
Like your pillow, your blankets also smell like you and taste like your sweat. As a result, your dog is likely licking your blankets because they enjoy the taste and smell.
However, your dog could also be licking your blankets due to canine anxiety, canine OCD, having pent up energy, or being overtired. To know which cause is affecting your dog, you need to look out for other symptoms and know which situations get your dog to start licking your blankets and pillows.
What Does It Mean When A Dog Licks Your Pillow
Your dog could be licking your pillow because of any of the seven reasons previously listed. This could mean that they like the taster of your pillow and find your smell comforting.
In addition to this, excessive licking could be a symptom of canine anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Your dog could also need exercise or be drowsy.
Why Do Dogs Like Your Pillows
Dogs like their owner’s pillows for several reasons. The first is that it smells like its owner, which can comfort anxious and stressed dogs.
The following reason is that your dog might enjoy your pillow or pillow case’s texture. Finally, pillows are comfortable, making them the perfect place for a nice nap. Dogs often like their owners’ blankets for the same reasons.
How To Stop Dogs From Licking Pillows
Getting to stop your dog from licking your pillow depends entirely on the cause. For dogs who lick their owners’ pillows due to their liking the taste and smell, you can give them a small, verbal correction whenever you see the behavior.
This correction should never scare or stress out your dog. It is also a good idea to keep pillows and blankets away from your dog if they tend to lick them all the time.
Another way to stop your dog from licking your pillow is to put them in the wash. Although this might not work for every dog, it could help dogs who lick pillows solely for their taste.
If your dog only licks your pillows when she is drowsy, then you should keep your pillows away from them during times of the day that they may be sleepy. For example, you should keep your pillows out of reach after a long walk because they will likely be tired by the time you get back home.
If your dog is licking your pillow only to expel pent-up energy, then the best way to correct this is to give them more exercise throughout the day. This problem will likely stop once they are receiving enough exercise.
For dogs licking their owners’ pillows due to canine anxiety or OCD, the best way to correct pillow licking is to follow your vet’s advice, qualified dog trainer, or animal behaviorist.
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