11 Reasons Why Dogs Lick The Couch (All The Time) + 7 Tips

Why Does My Dog Lick The Couch All The Time

Does your couch seem to be flavored?

Your pooch licks it all the time as if it’s the most delicious thing they’ve ever tasted. 

That leaves you thinking…

“Does my dog find the couch tasty or something?”

Why does Fido like it very much?

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • 7 applicable tips to stop your dog from licking your couch. 
  • The real reason why your dog licks your couch after eating.
  • 11 unexpected reasons why your dog licks your couch all the time.
  • And a lot more…

Why does my dog lick the couch all the time?

Your dog licks the couch all the time because they’re bored, stressed, curious, scent tracking or it became a habit. Of course, they could also admire the couch’s smell, taste, or texture. Or they’re suffering from OCD, separation anxiety, or stomach problems.


11 reasons why your dog licks the couch all the time


#1: Your pawed baby is bored 

You’ve probably experienced times when you’ve been bored out of your mind.

Things that you used to enjoy are no longer entertaining. And you don’t find anything exciting…

What’s more, it feels like time doesn’t pass at all. So you end up doing something weird.

Whether it’s tapping on your desk. Or twirling your hair. Nibbling on your nails maybe…

A bored dog will show similar behavior. Probably they got bored of playing with their toys. Or staying home alone when you leave for work. 

As a result, your pawed baby will look for new ways to entertain themselves. 

In this case, licking the couch could be the most entertaining thing to do.

Licking a couch to pass the time may not sound appealing to you. Your dog, on the other hand, finds it interesting. 

Study shows that boredom animals display sensation-seeking behavior.

So it could be the reason why dogs lick couches when they’re bored. The sensation that your dog is feeling on their tongue may keep them calm when boredom strikes. 

All dogs get bored. But hyperactive breeds and puppies are more prone to it.

As they usually have lots of excess energy stored in their bodies. Their pent-up energy will lead them to seek out activities.

However, doggo’s boredom may result in behavioral problems such as:

  • Barking.
  • Digging.
  • Clawing.
  • Whining.
  • Chewing.

Don’t forget to also check out: 9 reasons for excessive dog barking

#2: Your dog likes the couch’s taste 

“What flavor is this, human? I kinda like it.”

Uhm…Yes! Your dog might like how the couch tastes. 

We may be weirded out by the sight and thought of it, but science can explain this. 

Trivia: Did you know that dogs have fewer taste buds than humans?

AKC states that dogs have 1,700 taste buds while humans have about 9,000. 

This means that how something tastes to us might be different to dogs. As they have fewer taste buds than us. 

Mind you, dogs can taste sweet, sour, salty, and bitter. Though we can’t really tell how couches taste to dogs. 

The material of what the couch is made from might make it appealing to your canine. For example, some sofas that are made out of natural fibers may have some flavor. Such as linen and cotton-made couches. 

Dogs may also lick the couch if they find food particles in there.

“Huh?!? I don’t see food on my couch.”

That may be true but… let’s say you had a family movie night. Have you snacked on something crunchy? 

If so, some crumbs might have fallen on the couch without you noticing.

And since your dog smells them, they’ll also want to taste them.

#3: Fido admires the couch’s smell 

Dog Licks The Couch All The Time Because Of The Smell

As I previously mentioned, a dog’s keen senses may cause them to lick the couch. Their powerful sense of smell to be precise. 

How does this happen?

First off, let me tell you an interesting fact about a dog’s nose. 

A dog breathes differently from how a human does. We only inhale and then exhale. One at a time. But a dog can inhale and exhale at the same time. 

Just wow!

Dr. Nappier says that a dog’s nose, when sniffing, can move in and out at the same time. It creates a continuous circulation of air.

How does it work?

A portion of the air that your dog breathes in goes to their lungs. Slits in the dog’s nose allow new odors to enter as it exhales.

That’s pretty amazing, right?

Their powerful ability to smell continuously helps them to detect odors that we, humans, can’t.

Now, that has something to do with why your dog licks the couch.

Dogs may adore how the couch’s material smells. Or they admire the scent of people who’ve been on that couch. 

Let me ask you this…

When was the last time you smelled something nice that made you think of eating it?

Smelling a candy-scented candle for example. You might have moments where you said “Smells so good! Wish I could eat it.”

O.K. Confession time! Once I bought a chocolate-scented candle from IKEA. It smelled so good that it constantly made me think of getting chocolate. 🙂 

I’ve also experienced this with some perfumes. That’s because I love sweet scents. So I’ve bought 2 perfumes. One smells like vanilla, and the other like cookies.

The smell is perfect for people who like sweet-scented fragrances. The only downside comes when you’re hungry and smell such a tempting scent. 

I’m telling you this because…

It may be similar to how your dog feels about the smell of the couch. PetMD says that if dogs lick something without any medical issues, it’s likely a sensory response.

Trivia:  Did you know that there are dog breeds that have better-smelling abilities than others?

According to Dr. Dorman, canines that have the best sense of smell are hound dog breeds. 

Dog breeds who are known to be the best sniffers are:

  • Border Collies.
  • Belgian Malinois.
  • Golden Retrievers.
  • German Shepherd.
  • Labrador Retrievers.
  • English Springer Spaniels.

Trivia: Did you know that dogs can smell better if their nose is wet?

Dr. Stanley Coren says that a dog’s wet nose can increase their ability to detect scents. He also compared the wet nose to a wet cloth. The latter picks up more dust when it’s wet than dry. 

#4: Your fur baby likes the couch’s texture 

What’s the texture of your couch?

Your dog might be a fan of it.  

Even more so if you happen to use a soft blanket as a cover for your couch. 

“Why would a dog lick the couch because of its texture?”

It all starts with the dog’s sense of touch. It plays an important role in their lives. 

It’s the first sense to develop during puppyhood. Puppies learn about their environment by relying on it.

A part of a dog’s body that’s sensitive to touch is their whiskers. And this might be the answer to why your dog licks the couch.

Dr. Llera says that a dog’s whisker, a.k.a vibrissae, is as sensitive as a human’s fingertips.

The whiskers are located on their chin, above their eyes, and muzzle.

So, your dog’s muzzle may be in contact with the sofa’s texture. And licking it might be a sign that they’re comfortable with it.

#5: You have a curious pooch

Have you ever seen your dog investigating?

What I’m referring to is when your pooch appears to be searching for something out of the blue. You’ve no idea if they’ve heard or seen anything that piques their interest.

It’s your fur baby’s keen senses that spark their interest. Their sense of sight and smell to be specific. Because of that they’ll explore and find information around them.

A dog’s tendency to taste and lick objects is one of the signs that they’re curious. 

This might happen to your dog if your couch is new. Or they can sense something in there such as food particles.

We might not realize what it is exactly since their senses are more sensitive than ours.

Watch out for your dog’s body posture. They’re curious if they seem to be:

  • Alert.
  • Tail up.
  • Staring.
  • Barking.
  • Sniffing.
  • Stalking.
  • Ears up.

#6: Your furry child is scent-marking

“Smells like me. So is mine.”

Some dogs lick something that contains their scent. This is to make sure that they’re in their spot before settling in. 

Let’s say you allow your dog to stay on the couch. As they spend most of their time there, the couch will have their scent. 

Some dogs have a strong sense of protectiveness. If yours is one of them, they’ll make sure they claim their spot. 

#7: Your dog suffers from separation anxiety 

Does the couch lick behavior only happen when you’re not around?

If so, that’s one of the signs of separation anxiety. 

This is most likely to happen if you’re the type of dog parent who spends a lot of quality time with the pooch. 

Your dog will get used to your presence. As a result, they’ll start looking for you as soon as you’re gone.

Now that you left your dog at home, they might start licking the couch to cope up with their separation anxiety.

Other causes of separation anxiety in dogs could be:

  • Change of ownership.
  • Change of environment.
  • Loss of a family member.
  • Being left alone for the first time.
  • Change in family routine or schedule.

A dog who suffers from separation anxiety might:

  • Howl.
  • Bark.
  • Pant.
  • Pace.
  • Drool.
  • Whine.
  • Escape.
  • Dig holes.
  • Chew objects.
  • Scratch doors and windows.

Read next: Why is my dog suddenly chewing up stuff? 9 unexpected reasons

#8: Your pooch has stomach pain 

Dog Stomach Pain

Remember the last meal that your dog ate?

Your furbaby may have eaten something while you’re away or unaware. 

Try to think if they’ve eaten something bad that could result in an upset stomach. This might be the reason for their couch-licking behavior. 

Dr. Marty Becker says that intestinal problems may cause a dog to lick excessively. May it be furniture, shoes, or your feet.

Pooches can get an upset stomach the same as how humans do. They might get it if they play and run after eating a meal. Eating in a fast way if they’re too excited can cause indigestion too.

A study proves that 14 out of 19 dogs (59%) with gastrointestinal disorders develop excessive licking behavior. 

Gastrointestinal disorder

A.k.a gastroenteritis, according to experts, refers to inflammation of the stomach and the intestines.

Causes of this disorder are:

  • Spoiled foods.
  • Food allergies.
  • Ingesting toxins.
  • Intestinal parasites.
  • Gastrointestinal ulcers.
  • Ingesting foreign bodies.
  • Liver and kidney disease.
  • Certain viruses or bacteria, such as parvovirus.

Read next: 15 weird reasons why dogs lick blankets and furniture

#9: Fido’s in distress 

Stress can harm the mental health of humans and dogs alike. 

The cause of Fido’s stress mostly comes from their environment. 

Common causes of distress in dogs include:

  • Injury.
  • Phobia.
  • Disease.
  • Separation.
  • Loud noises.
  • New environment.

Coping up with their stress might be the reason why dogs lick the couch.

Have you ever heard of stress licking in dogs?

Dr. Malcolm Weir says that dogs may also drool excessively when they are nervous or stressed.

Dogs self-soothe by licking themselves repeatedly. Their body produces chemicals called endorphins, which act as painkillers.

Dogs may lick furniture to cope with stressful situations. Because if not, there’s a possibility that they won’t be able to contain their emotions. If things get worse they’ll show aggression. 

Body language of a stressed dog according to AKC:

  • Licking.
  • Panting.
  • Yawning.
  • Wide eyes.
  • Tucked tail.
  • Tucked ears.
  • Raised hackles.
  • Avoiding eye contact.

You might also like: Why does my dog lick my legs? 7 real reasons revealed

#10: Your dog has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

There’s a possibility that OCD is what causes your dog’s couch-licking behavior.

APA defines OCD as a neurological disorder brought by obsessive thoughts and sensations. 

Stress and anxiety mostly cause a dog’s obsessive and excessive furniture licking.

“OCD in pets is caused by stress, so it’s important to try and figure out what environmental stressors could be causing the excessive licking,” says Dr. Jennifer Freeman

Dogs that have been chained in the yard or kept in a cage are more prone to anxiety and depression. As they don’t have the opportunity to exercise and socialize.

Is your dog adopted from a shelter? 

If so, they might have had a traumatic experience like that.

Here’s how to spot signs of OCD in dogs:

  • Spaced out while licking. 
  • Licking something repetitively. 
  • Licking the couch often and in an aggressive way.

#11: Couch licking became a habit 

If your dog doesn’t show any signs of health issues then this licking behavior might be habitual. 

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they’re too heavy to be broken.” -Warren Buffett

Fido’s licking behavior may have begun unknowingly. But this will surely be noticeable when they start to do it all the time. 

As I previously mentioned, your doggo may have licked the couch out of curiosity. 

Or they may have accidentally licked it when they were licking themselves. And it just so happens that your dog enjoys the taste of it.

Then subconsciously they’ve been doing it repeatedly and consistently. Since no one stopped them, couch-licking became a habit. 


How to stop my dog from licking the couch? 7 tips


#1: Use a deterrent spray 

An easy and fast way to stop your dog from licking your sofa is making it distasteful. 

How?

You can do it by using deterrent sprays. It’ll make the couch have a bitter taste.

There are different deterrent spray flavors available in the market. Such as grapefruits, lemon, and orange.

But if you don’t have time to go out and look for a deterrent spray, you can make your own. You can do this by only using things that you have at home. 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Spray bottle.
  • White vinegar.
  • Apple cider vinegar.

Then follow these steps:

  1. Prepare a clean and dry spray bottle.
  2. Put 2 cups of apple cider vinegar.
  3. Add 1 cup of white vinegar.

Now, you have your deterrent spray. Here’s how it works:

First off, some dogs may respond well to deterrent spray while others may not. It’s best to let your dog have a taste test. 

Apply a small amount of deterrent spray on a tissue or cloth. Allow your dog to smell and taste it. Watch how they react to it. 

Spitting, drooling, and shaking their head signifies that they don’t like it. It’s your go signal to use the deterrent spray. 

Now to make sure that your couch is distasteful, spray or rub the deterrent on your couch.

To ensure that your dog will no longer be interested in it, reapply the deterrent every day for 2 to 4 weeks.

#2: Exercise your pooch

This tip is for the bored pooches who lick the couch for entertainment. Your dog’s pent-up energy will be used in exercising.

However, the amount of exercise varies from dog to dog. 

Exercise for a puppy

The best exercise for growing puppies is taking them on short walks or playtime. 

The duration of a puppy’s exercise is 5 minutes per month of age. And should be done twice per day in general.

Exercise for adult dogs 

Generally speaking, dogs should have at least 30 minutes of exercise. 

However, if your pooch belongs to the less active breeds then a simpler and shorter exercise is for them. Such as walking, playing, and command training.

Exercise for senior dogs

Older pooches need some exercise too. This will keep them active and stimulate their minds. 

However, you shouldn’t make your dog do exercises that require a lot of energy. A simple walk outdoors will do for the senior dogs.

It’s best to talk to your vet when it comes to choosing the right amount and type of exercise for your dog. 

#3: Curb the habit 

It may be hard to change a habit as it becomes a part of your dog’s life. 

But it’s possible through redirection. 

This type of behavior modification is redirecting your dog’s licking. So, they’ll lick more appropriate things instead of the couch. 

What you should do is give your furbaby good licking options. If you see your dog starts or is about to lick the couch give them:

#4: Positive reinforcement 

If your Fido’s couch licking behavior bothers you then you can use positive reinforcement to curb it. 

Give your pawed child a treat if they stop or they’re not licking the couch. 

This is to show your pooch the difference between good and unwanted behavior. By doing this your dog will think that licking behavior is unpleasant and unrewarding. So they’ll stop doing it. 

Note: Never punish your dog by shouting at them. Screaming will only make things worse for both of you. It’ll make them either stressed or excited. 

#5: Keep your couch clean

Some dogs lick the couch because of the particles on it. 

Regularly cleaning your couch will remove anything that your dog enjoys there. Such as the embedded scents of people and crumbs of food. 

Also, be extra careful when you’re having a snack on the couch. Make sure that you’re not leaving anything behind. 

Because your dog with powerful senses will surely detect even the tiniest of bits. 

#6: Teach your dog basic obedience tricks

Training your dog with basic commands will be helpful in correcting the behavior. 

Aside from that, it’ll be useful in the future. This is to establish your dog’s obedience and curbing other unpleasant behavior.

“At what age should my dog start training?”

It’s best to start when your dog is young. Experts say that basic obedience training may be taught to a 7-8 weeks puppy. Consider that puppies usually have a short attention span. 

However, they can be taught just like adult dogs simple commands such as…

“Leave it”

If your dog starts to lick the couch you can use “leave it” so they’ll stay away from it. 

Here’s how it works:

  1. Start introducing the trick with a toy or a treat.
  2. Place a toy or a treat in front of your dog.
  3. Command “Leave it”.
  4. Say “No.” to stop them if they attempt to get it.
  5. Reward your pooch if they leave the object. 

Practice this over and over again. First, try to make them leave the object for a short period of time. Then, proceed to a longer duration as you move on with the training. 

“Come” and “Stay”

Using a “come” and “stay” command works hand in hand to keep your dog’s distance from the couch. Start by teaching your dog to come.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. First, stand a few steps away from your dog.
  2. Command “come” or call their name if they don’t respond on the first try. 
  3. Give them a treat if they come to you. 
  4. You can then increase the distance between you and your dog as you go on with the practice.

Now, add the “stay” command:

  1. Command “Stay.” if your dog is near you.
  2. Move a step away from your dog.
  3. Say “No.” if they attempt to move.
  4. Give your dog a treat if they do stay.
  5. Increase the distance as you move on practicing.

Use these 2 commands if your dog starts to lick the couch. 

Stand away from the couch and command “come”. Your dog will then come to you and stay away from the sofa. After that, say “stay” and let your dog stay in the spot that’s far from the sofa.

Watch this Youtube video for a more in-depth tutorial of “come” and “stay”:

#7: Take your pooch to the vet

It’s best to take your dog to the vet if they exhibit signs of medical causes and excessive licking.

Take note that excessive couch licking may cause cuts on your dog’s tongue. They may also eat small parts of the couch’s fabric that can result in stomach problems.

Veterinarians will be able to run tests and treat serious health problems. The following may be the cause of your dog’s licking behavior:

  • Stress.
  • Anxiety. 
  • Indigestion. 
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Neurological problems. 
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder.

People also ask:


Why does my dog lick the couch after drinking?

Your dog licks the couch after drinking because they can smell something nice there.

It’s possible that you or someone else spilled something on the couch. Let’s say you’ve spilled your own drink on it. Your dog who happens to detect it may lick the couch to have a taste of it. 

Why does my dog lick the sofa after eating?

Your dog licks the sofa after eating because they can smell the remaining food particles in there. 

Dogs can be curious if they see or smell food. Let’s say that someone or you ate something while sitting on the couch. 

There’s a possibility that you dropped food particles/crumbs on it. As a result, your dog will lick the couch as if eating every last bit of food they can detect there.