15 Odd Reasons Why Dogs Lick Blankets & Furniture + 5 Tips

Why Do Dogs Lick Blankets And Furniture

If other Fidos’ favorite pastime is sleeping or eating…

Your pooch has a weird one.

They can’t keep their tongue off your couch. 

And they also lick your covers to sleep.

Hmm. Are they only tidying up? Or is this a sign of something else?

Keep reading to find out:

  • What makes dogs lick blankets and furniture.
  • When this should be considered a harmful behavior.
  • 7 different scenarios of canines licking surfaces explained.
  • 5 useful tips on how to make them stop and keep your things saliva-free.
  • And many more…

Why do dogs lick blankets and furniture?

Dogs lick blankets and furniture because they’re stressed and calming themselves down, understimulated, hungry, thirsty, investigating, or searching for food crumbs. This behavior can also be due to OCD, nutrient deficiency, dementia, joint pains, allergy, adrenal disease, dental issues, and nausea.


15 reasons why dogs lick blankets and furniture


Behavioral reasons


#1: It has a calming effect

If kids suck their thumb to pacify themselves, what do dogs do?

They lick instead.

This action produces endorphins which are hormones that reduce stress. So your pooch might be trying to make themselves feel better when you caught them doing it.

Fidos can be anxious because of:

  • Loud noises.
  • Group of strangers.
  • Changes in their routine/environment.

“But how can I tell if something’s bothering them?”

Take note of these common stress signals:

  • Pacing.
  • Yawning.
  • Licking their lips.
  • ‘Whale eye’ (showing the whites of their eyes).

#2: Separation issues

Your Dog Licks Blankets And Furniture Due To Separation Issues

Do you always come home seeing drool stains on your covers?

And do they always cry when you’re about to go out?

Oh no. Your dog might be licking your blanket excessively due to separation anxiety.

Canines who have this will be super stressed when their human is not with them. And they’ll also show destructive behaviors. 

But you might ask, “Why do they like my blankets”?

Along with the calming effect of licking, Fidos also seek comfort in the scent of their humans. And your sheets are rich in your sweat and dead skin cells.

For this reason, they would also love your couch, dirty laundry, and even your spot in bed.

You may also wonder: Why does my dog lick my pillow?

#3: OCD

Your dog wouldn’t stop licking the blanket even if you told them to leave it countless times.

Why’s that?

It could be a sign of OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Your pooch might have an uncontrollable urge to do it. So they won’t halt at your command. 

And they’ll also do this repeatedly for longer hours without any clear reason why.

PetMD says that this may have started as a simple response to stress. Then because the action is soothing, they’ll do it again – but with greater intensity.

Early maternal separation

Research shows that pups who are separated too soon from their moms are more likely to have this.

They might have aggressive or fearful behavior when they grow up. And this is because they lack early maternal care and socialization.

Those experiences help them deal with life later on. So without them, even trivial things could stress them out quickly.

“So at what age are they allowed to be adopted?”

They must be at least 8 weeks old. This is also implemented in pet shops in some states in the U.S.

Check out also: 7 Surprising Reasons Why Dogs Like Period Blood (& Lick It)

#4: Lack of stimulation

How much exercise does your Fido get every day?

I ask because their licking behavior could also be due to boredom.

Your dog might not be enjoying their toys. And they may not also get their daily dose of physical activities.

So they choose to lick anything they see instead to keep themselves busy.

#5: Act of exploration

If this behavior isn’t overdone…

Your pooch might only be inspecting out of curiosity.

They may like the texture of your couch or duvet. Or your detective Fido found an interesting scent.

Like the odor of a stranger, another animal, or your new perfume.

So they wet the spots to make the faint scent stronger. As moisture helps in making the odor stick more to their olfactory areas.

You might also like: 7 Weird Reasons Why Dogs Sniff Your Clothes + 3 Tips

#6: Hunger/thirst

Does your dog do this between meals?

Or when you forget to feed them at the right time?

If so, they might be hungry, and their meal wasn’t enough. Or they need a refill of water.

#7: Bits of food

Dog Likes To Lick Bits Of Food

Sometimes, your dog can also act as an excellent vacuum cleaner.

They’ll be licking food crumbs in your bed, chair, or under your desk. Even in areas that aren’t reachable by your Roomba.

#8: Appetitive behavior

This condition is a more serious case than the previous one. Because dogs who have this will be in a constant search for food.

So they’ll look for crumbs intensely. And they’ll always lick the couch where you usually eat. Even if there are traces of food or not.

This is because they learned that there are often fallen bits of snacks in that place.

Medical reasons 


#9: Nutrient deficiency

Excessive licking might also be due to a deficit of nutrients. And this could happen after a change in their diet.

Your pooch might be trying to get the vitamins or minerals they need. Or to relieve their itchiness.

Because VCA says that if they lack fatty acids like omega-3, their skin will become dry and flaky.

While deficit in zinc can cause skin ulcers, hair loss, and cracking of footpads.

Note: Stress may also affect the absorption of nutrients. If your Fido is constantly anxious, their bodies will produce high levels of cortisol. And this can cause inflammation which also hinders digestion.

#10: Canine dementia

If your senior dog does this suddenly, it can be a sign of dementia.

This is the aging of the brain, which leads to memory loss. And two of its indicators are repetitive behaviors and ‘zoning out.’

Other symptoms are:

Note: Experts say that 68% of canines may have this condition when they’re above 14 years old.

#11: Joint pains

Aside from stress, the act of licking can also help soothe the pain. Like a natural painkiller.

Are they also doing it to a certain body part (e.g., hips, knees)?

If yes, this could be due to bone or joint problems like:

  • Arthritis.
  • Panosteitis.
  • Hip dysplasia.
  • Legg-calve-Perthes disease.

Other signs to watch out for are:

  • Limping.
  • Whimpering.
  • Moving slowly.
  • Difficulty in getting up /lying down.
  • Unwillingness to walk and climb stairs.

Further reading: Why does my dog grunt and groan?

#12: Allergy

Your pooch might also lick repeatedly to ease their itchiness. And this could be due to an allergy.

So check for red spots, hair loss, and skin irritation. They can also scratch and rub their face a lot.

“What may have caused this?”

  • Diet.
  • Flea bites.
  • Environmental allergens.
  • Chemicals in products (shampoo and soap).

Yeast infection is common in dogs. Those who have this will lick their paws a lot. Plus, they’ll smell like corn chips too.

Note: If you have a ‘yeasty’ dog, soak their paws in a solution with white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and water. Do this twice a week to remove the fungi.

#13: Adrenal diseases

Kidney ailments will make dogs feel more thirsty. Like Cushing’s and Addison’s disease.

And they’re paired with abdominal pain too. So these can also be the cause of their licking behavior.

Other signs are:

  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Dehydration.
  • Severe weight loss.

Studies also show that adrenal diseases could be genetic in breeds like:

  • Great Danes.
  • Bearded Collies. 
  • Standard Poodles.

#14: Dental problems

Dog Dental Problems

Does your pooch lick in the air too?

If so, they might have a painful mouth or toothache.

Other possible causes are:

  • Ulcers.
  • Lumps.
  • Stomatitis.
  • Dental diseases.
  • Object stuck in the mouth.

This can be due to an infection, wound, or tumor. And they’ll also:

  • Drool.
  • Whine.
  • Eat with difficulty.
  • Have reduced appetite.

#15: Nausea

This is a sickly feeling that you get from needing to vomit.

And this could be the reason why your dog is obsessively licking furniture and sheets.

Their mouth waters. And they’re also trying to ease their stomach pain.

So some Fidos lick strange surfaces such as upholstery, floors, and walls.

Nausea is usually caused by troubles in the G.I. or gastrointestinal tract such as:

  • Pancreatitis.
  • Liver disease.
  • Intestinal parasites.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease.

Reading tip: Why Does My Dog Lick The Floor? 7 Questions + 7 Tips


5 tips on how to stop your dog from licking blankets and furniture


#1: Keep their stress at bay

As much as possible, avoid making your dog worked up and nervous.

A consistent daily schedule will make them feel at ease. As well as staying away from the usual things that freak them out.

Also…

Release more happy hormones

Exercising also produces endorphins.

So, ensure your pooch is getting enough physical activities every day. And they won’t resort to excessive licking just to feel good.

Oh, don’t forget that their minds are bored too.

Give them bones and chewy puzzle toys to kick instead. And teach them new tricks or give them a daily task. Like finding and picking up things.

These will tire both their mind and brain out. So more time for rest, less time for worries! 🙂 

#2: Manage the problem

Prevention is always the best option. 

Your Fido won’t be obsessed with licking food traces on your bed or desk if you keep them clean.

The same also goes for their bed. Feed them away from it. And ensure that it’s crumbs-free.

But how can you stop your dog from licking furniture?

If they still love to do it, try spraying a licking-deterrent solution on them. Its awful taste could make them think twice. And it may change their mind for good.

This won’t have to be bought from a market. If you have these at home, you can easily make your own:

  • Citrus.
  • Vinegar.
  • Cayenne pepper/tabasco sauce.

Note: The purpose is to make the solution have a terrible taste and smell. But not to the point that it’s toxic for your pooch. So only use edible ingredients and don’t put too much.

#3: Seek experts’ help

If this behavior doesn’t stop, it’s more likely a medical or neurological condition.

But before you go to the clinic, record your dog doing the action first. This will help them assess the situation better.

Take a video of them while they’re alone too. So you’ll know whether they have separation anxiety or not.

Note: If all medical issues are ruled out, a dog trainer can help you with your Fido’s behavioral problems.

#4: Switch up their meals

Switch Up Your Dog's Meals

A poor diet can be the culprit of all this licking. So, make sure you feed your pooch complete balanced meals every day.

Experts say they should have:

  • Fats.
  • Water.
  • Proteins.
  • Minerals.
  • Vitamins.
  • Carbohydrates.

If you suspect your pooch to have an allergy, you may feed them a bland diet. This classic plain boiled white rice and chicken combo may help you confirm if they have one or not.

But if they have stomach problems, see to it that they eat enough fiber. And avoid giving them fatty and table foods.

Note: Is your Fido always hungry? Divide their meals into smaller portions and spread them throughout the day.

#5: Curb the licking

This behavior could make them ingest debris, hair, or fibers from fabric. And if they consume too much, it may lead to intestinal blockage.

This is precisely what happened to a Pomeranian in our neighborhood. The sweet pooch has been licking the floor where his dog parents’ hair fell. 

And after a while he had to be operated. What the vets found was a huge gross lump of hair that had stuck in the poor dog’s body.

They removed it and ever since the dog parents of the Pom ar being very careful. But hair will continue to fall. So curbing the behavior will be more effective than cleaning like a mad man.

If it’s mainly a behavioral issue, you can correct this with consistent effort.

How?

When your dog’s about to lick your cover, distract them with a yummy treat. And reward them only if they stop.

Have they done any obedience training?

If so, a command might work on them like “leave it.” And train them using positive reinforcement.

Say the command firmly. And give them treats and praises whenever they obey you.


7 scenarios of dogs licking blankets and/or furniture


#1: Dog licks blanket before bed

This is likely a self-soothing behavior before going to sleep.

If they do it often and calmly, it’s only a ritual. But if the licking is intense, they could be anxious or stressed.

Dogs may also do this to clean their place. This can be an instinct, or they’ve learned it from their mother.

They probably had seen her tidying up their nest when they were young. And it became a habit since puppyhood.

Read next: Why does my dog scratch the floor? 

#2: Dog licks blanket constantly

Your pooch wets your cover until it’s soaking wet.

Why’s that?

They might be overstressed by loud noises or strangers in the house.

This could be out of fear as well. And maybe, they’re freaked out by a truck passing by or a phone ringing.

If they do this while you’re gone, they may also be bored or have separation anxiety.

However, if they won’t stop doing it, this can be a sign of:

  • OCD.
  • Mouth pain.
  • Stomach problems.

#3: Dog licks blanket/furniture after eating

If your pooch does this, you might wonder, “Is my dog still hungry?”

Well, it could be.

That’s why they go licking all over the house. Or this may also be a compulsive behavior.

But, if they suddenly do this after you changed their diet, this can be due to:

  • G.I. issues.
  • Lack of nutrients.
  • Adrenal disorders.
  • Appetitive behavior.

Note: Canines could also throw up if they eat fast. So it’s also possible that they’re licking their vomit. You can replace their feeder with a slow-feed bowl. Or add water to their dry kibbles to avoid them from ‘inhaling’ their food.

#4: Old dog licking blanket/furniture

As canines age, they also become prone to many health problems. So this licking behavior can be caused by:

  • Arthritis.
  • G.I. issues.
  • Kidney disorders.
  • Hormonal imbalances.

But have they been acting weird these days?

Like being confused most of the time and staring at nothing?

If so, they might have dementia.

Dogs who have this will often be anxious and irritable. And because of faded memory, they may not respond when they’re called by their name. 

Note: They could also be itchy and irritable due to an allergic reaction.

#5: Dog licking furniture excessively

It’s common for dogs to explore the world with their tongue. But if it’s too much, they might be bored or anxious.

Licking of furniture, which is unusual, could mean:

  • OCD.
  • G.I. problems.
  • Canine dementia.
  • Nutrient deficiency.

Fidos can also be obsessive when it comes to food. So some of them may be on a constant search for crumbs.

And they know that people often leave some on their chairs, table, and beds. So they always go there and lick the traces.

#6: Dog licking leather furniture

There could be 4 reasons for this.

One, they might like the unique scent and texture of leather. So they prefer it over velvet or tweed material.

Two, your scent and sweat that they love are also there if you use the furniture often.

Three, if this is repetitive, they may have OCD. So they’ll always feel the need to do it for no reason at all.

Last, this can be a sign that something’s wrong in their G.I. tract. And they’re having some stomach problems.

#7: Dog licking wood furniture

Fidos’ attraction to wood might not seem unusual. It has an earthy smell. And probably has an interesting taste too.

Most of them chew on table and chair legs. Some can even eat wood scraps.

But this is dangerous as their intestines and esophagus could be blocked. So always keep any non-edible things out of their reach.

However, little did we know that it can be a sign of a health issue.

Same with dogs who have pica, they might also lack essential nutrients. So they lick wood surfaces to compensate for it.

On a lighter note, they may have found some bits of food in there. As you always eat at that particular table or chair.