So, you noticed that your Chihuahua licks a lot.
And now you wonder:
Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?
Keep reading to discover:
- What excessive licking is and what it indicates.
- A simple way to prevent paw-licking (the spotlight falls on reason #9).
- Why the reason for your Chihuahua licking a certain spot on the floor could be more serious than just some spilled food or a drink.
- And much more…
Table of contents
- Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?
- Why do Chihuahuas lick themselves?
- Why do Chihuahuas lick their feet?
- Why do Chihuahuas lick your feet?
- Why do Chihuahuas lick their lips?
- Why do Chihuahuas lick me?
- Why does my Chihuahua lick my face?
- Why do Chihuahuas lick the bed/the couch/the floor/the carpet?
Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?
Chihuahuas lick both their peers and their owners out of affection. Licking another dog they’ve just met is a sign of submission. Other reasons why Chihuahuas lick include curiosity for how something tastes, grooming, and cleaning themselves.
If they lick excessively, it’s a sign of an issue known as compulsive disorder. This is caused by boredom, anxiety, pain, and/or stress.
It’s important to know what the exact reason behind your Chihuahua’s licking is.
That’s why I’ve outlined certain situations that you might recognize. I’ve also answered the most common questions Chihuahua owners have about them.
Keep reading to check out what they are to be able to decode your Chihuahua’s licking behavior.
Why do Chihuahuas lick themselves?
Reason #1: Big groomers
Chihuahuas like to stay clean and will lick themselves as an act of grooming.
If you have two Chihuahuas, they will lick each other. And it’s normal. This is a way of cleaning and showing affection.
Reason #2: Excessive licking
What you’re seeing could be excessive licking. You could look at it as over-grooming.
One way to tell that’s what’s going on is if it lasts for hours on end. When your Chihuahua does this, they’re attempting to calm themselves down.
Caution: Make sure there aren’t any sores on their body.
Tip: You can give them something else they can occupy their time with. A stuffed Kong works best to draw their attention to problem-solving. And they get a reward out of it, metaphorically and literally.
Reason #3: Skin irritation
If your Chihuahua has dry skin, for example, they might try ‘fixing’ the problem by licking. Or scratching.
What causes dry skin could be cold winter weather but also lack of fatty acid in the body.
Reason #4: Boredom
Have you noticed that people have certain ways to deal with boredom? It might be tapping their fingers or feet.
While dogs do not use the same actions, they do have a way to show us something is up in their inner world.
You see their boredom manifested in different ways such as compulsive licking, scratching, or biting. What all of these have in common is that they can be detrimental to your dog and your home.
You might also like: 101 Funny Chihuahua Memes: I Challenge You Not To Laugh
Reason #5: Anxiety
Anxiety is also something not only related to humans but also to our canine friends.
Have you caught yourself doing something such as biting your nails, lips, or twirling your hair when you’re nervous? It’s a bad habit but it has its place.
Whenever you or someone else reverts to this, it’s a subconscious attempt to deal with the stress and psychological discomfort.
What you can do:
When your Chihuahua experiences anxiety, it’s important to make the environment as stress-free as possible.
Make sure the Chihuahua is in a quiet room without too much noise coming from the outside.
At night you could dim the lights before you go to bed to make it even more comfortable and relaxing for your dog.
Pay attention to your movements when you’re around your Chihuahua. If they’re easily stressed, it’s better to move slower and be calmer around them in general. After all, dogs tend to pick up on the energy their owners give out.
Apart from that, there are collars, food, treats, and sprays with pheromones you can get your Chihuahua.
Reason #6: Hormonal disbalance
Whether your Chihuahua has a thyroid deficiency or their body is producing too much cortisol, it all comes down to hormonal disbalance.
Hormonal disbalance can lead to superficial skin infections. This is likely the case if there are bald spots in their fur.
Reason #7: Pain
There’s always the possibility that your Chihuahua licks themselves a lot because they’re experiencing physical discomfort.
When your Chihuahua has something stuck in their paw, such as a thorn or a sharp piece of wood, they will try to get rid of it.
They will either chew their paw or lick excessively.
Reason #8: Parasites
This is one of the most common reasons that explains why dogs are licking themselves so much.
Any parasite such as ticks, fleas, mites could cause your Chihuahua to feel bothered and try to get rid of the problem by licking.
Tip: After walks, always make sure to check for ticks or fleas.
Caution: Bear in mind that mites are microscopic which means that they would go unnoticed by you if it wasn’t for the signals your Chihuahua is giving out.
If you have a reason to believe some parasites could be bothering your Chihuahua, waste no time, and schedule a vet appointment. Your vet will choose an appropriate treatment for your Chihuahua’s safety.
Why do Chihuahuas lick their feet?
Reason #9: Allergy
Are the paws pink? Do you notice any loss of hair there?
In this case, your Chihuahua might be suffering from an allergy. It could be caused by grass, pollen, weeds, dander, dust mites, detergents for cleaning the house, medicine, flea removal products, or food ingredients.
This makes the paws of your Chihuahua itch.
What are the consequences of obsessive paw-licking?
Your precious little Chihuahua could develop canine acral lick dermatitis (ALD), also known as lick granuloma.
What you can do:
It’s advisable to clean your Chihuahua’s paws with dog wipes after you return home from a walk. A warm washcloth would also do the job.
Caution: If you notice any wounds, change of color of the paws, or soreness, seek veterinary help.
Reason #10: Water on the paws
If you have the habit of washing your Chihuahua’s paws, they could lick them afterward. Some Chihuahuas also do this after a wet walk in the rain.
Why do Chihuahuas lick your feet?
Reason #11: Liking the smell
Now, this is different and way less worrying.
If you’ve just come out of the shower, your Chihuahua could be drawn to the aroma of the lotion or soap you have used.
Your Chihuahua might even enjoy the smell that your feet have after being in shoes all day.
Whether you’ve been wearing leather shoes or sneakers, your feet get sweaty and have a particular smell that your Chihuahua distinguishes.
Maybe you prefer being licked on the feet instead of on the face.
Why do Chihuahuas lick their lips?
Reason #12: Gum or teeth infection
If a Chihuahua is licking their lips often it could be an indication of a health issue with the gums and teeth. Chihuahuas are prone to dental issues due to their small mouth. If you notice excessive licking, take your Chihuahua to the vet.
Why do Chihuahuas lick me?
Reason #13: Affection
This is connected with the experiences during early puppyhood. Mother dogs lick the litter. This stimulates defecation and urination. Plus, it’s how the Mom cleans her young.
When you look at it, these are all signs of caregiving.
When you get a Chihuahua puppy, chances are you will be licked. If you’re not a fan of a dog licking you, then you can train your Chihuahua to stop early on.
As soon as your puppy starts licking you, you can exit the room. Then you should stay out at least for several minutes. The aim of this is to show your Chihuahua puppy that you don’t like this behavior and will go away.
There are pros to being licked by your Chihuahua though.
This will allow you both to feel closer and will make your bond stronger. That is if you don’t mind a bit of dog saliva. 🙂
Reading tip: Do Chihuahuas Like To Cuddle? (Click here)
Reason #14: Love and respect
Let’s look at wolves. The young ones would lick the mouths of their mothers to indicate they want food.
The mother wolf would then regurgitate the food she has brought back to the den.
As to Chihuahuas, it’s pretty common for two of them to groom each other as a sign of love and respect.
By doing these they’re strengthening the bond between themselves. This is what wild dogs that go in packs would do to maintain the pack’s bond.
When your Chihuahua is licking you, you can consider it a sign of love and care…
If you don’t like ‘kisses’ on the mouth, that’s fine but it doesn’t mean you should stop your Chihuahua from licking you at all.
After all, it’s the most natural behavior and to a great extent, it’s part of being a dog.
What you can do if you’re not entirely okay with being licked, is to teach your Chihuahua to stop when it hears a command such as ‘enough’ or ‘stop’.
While this will allow your Chihuahua to follow its instincts, it will also ensure they won’t be licking you when you don’t want them to.
You’ll also be able to apply that with any other people who are not okay with it, such as guests or people you meet during dog walks.
Reading tip: Do Chihuahuas Like Kisses? (Click here)
Why does my Chihuahua lick my face?
Reason #15: Submission
Submission is typical behavior for wolves and dogs. As wolves grow up, some will lick the snouts of other adults. This means they acknowledge the other wolf is more dominant, they acknowledge and respect that.
Your Chihuahua might be trying to show you she recognizes you as the leader in the house.
Reason #16: Salty skin
Maybe it comes surprising but dogs actually love how salty skin tastes. This applies both to your feet after wearing shoes all day and to your body after exercising.
Reason #17: Tasting what you ate
If you had recently eaten, your Chihuahua might want to find out more about that smell. And what better way to do that than actually tasting it?
Why do Chihuahuas lick the bed/the couch/the floor/the carpet?
Reason #18: Spilled food or drink
It’s only natural for Chihuahuas to be curious and check out that drink you spilled or the spot where you’ve dropped something tasty.
Reason #19: Liking the texture
The way Chihuahuas explore the world is primarily with the help of their noses and tongues. So, if they see something new that smells, tastes, or feels good, they’re prone to lick it.
Bonus reason: Gastrointestinal issues
Sometimes, when a Chihuahua experiences gastrointestinal disorders, they might start licking excessively a spot on the carpet, on the floor, a part of the couch or bed.
In case you notice your Chihuahua panting or furrowing their forehead, this calls for a vet visit.