why do older dogs lick furniture

why do older dogs lick furniture

Key Takeaway:

  • Dogs can engage in licking for various reasons, ranging from normal grooming behavior, digestive discomfort, allergies to medical issues such as mouth or throat problems and neurologic disorders, among others.
  • Excessive licking in older dogs can indicate a medical or behavioral problem that requires veterinary attention to diagnose and treat.
  • To manage excessive licking behavior in older dogs, provide soothing music and clothing items to reduce anxiety, take the dog to the vet to rule out medical conditions, and seek further evaluation for neurological problems.


Fascinating creatures, dogs have unique behaviors. One which is often seen in older pooches: licking furniture. This is not only gross, but could mean an issue. Excessive furniture-licking can mean stress, anxiety, or boredom – especially in older canines with compulsive behavior caused by cognitive disorders. It could also be due to medical issues like allergies, dental problems, or GI problems.

Identifying the cause of this behavior is key to stop it. Owners should take their dog to a vet clinic for diagnosis. Medical treatment plus physical and mental stimulation, like chew toys or food puzzles, will help curb the habit.

Reasons for Dog Licking

Licking is a common behavior in dogs, and it can signify various things, including underlying health issues. This section will explore the different reasons for dog licking and which can indicate a problem, injury, or debris. Additionally, we’ll discuss how chronic stomach upsets, hunger, dehydration, allergies, dental diseases, and neurologic problems can cause excessive licking and irritations.

Various reasons for dog licking

Dog licking is a normal behavior, but it can also have underlying causes. These include:

– Excessive licking, which could be a sign of a problem.
– Spot licking, which could be a sign of injury or debris.
– Chronic stomach upset, causing salivation and licking.
– Hunger or dehydration, resulting in more licking.
– Allergies causing itching, scratching and head-shaking.
– Dental disease causing bad breath and eating changes.
– Neurologic issues like canine distemper causing seizures.

Excessive dog licking can mean various health conditions. For example, licking one spot could show injury or a foreign object on the skin. It could also be due to anxiety-related problems, such as separation anxiety, or Compulsive Disorder In Canines (CDIC).

In older dogs, excessive licking could be caused by nausea. This is because senior dogs’ bodies change with age, including reduced digestive enzymes. Therefore, they may show signs like diarrhea and vomiting. It’s important for owners to get specialized veterinary help if their dogs display these symptoms.

Excessive licking indicating a problem

Dogs licking themselves? Normal behavior. But, too much licking? An underlying problem. Causes of excessive licking range from behaviors to medical issues.

Medically, gastrointestinal, mouth, throat, nausea, dental, and neurological problems can cause excessive licking. Allergies, hunger, and dehydration can also increase licking. Plus, injury or debris in one spot can lead to excessive licking.

If your pup is licking too much, monitor them closely. A vet can diagnose any health issue behind the licking. Remember, excessive licking isn’t always normal – your furry friend might need extra care.

One spot licking indicating injury or debris

Dogs may lick one spot for various reasons. It can be a natural way to clean and disinfect wounds. However, excessive licking may indicate an underlying injury or debris in the fur or paw pads. Allergic reactions to pollens, insect bites, chemicals, or food may also cause one-spot licking. Generally, occasional one spot licking isn’t a cause for concern. But, if it becomes persistent, preventive measures should be taken.

Some dog breeds are more prone to compulsive one-spot licking. If this is the case, professional help should be sought immediately.

Chronic stomach upset causing excessive salivation and licking

Dogs can have excessive licking behavior for many reasons, including a sensitive stomach. This can result in more saliva and licking, which may be due to a bad diet, GI issues, or infections.

It is important to watch what your pup eats and see a vet if you notice these symptoms.

Dental problems may also cause excessive licking. If your dog has smelly breath or changes in eating habits, this can be a sign of dental issues and increased saliva production.

If your dog licks a lot and has a sensitive stomach, it is vital to seek professional help from a vet.

To help prevent this behavior, you can feed your pup small, frequent meals with probiotics. Also, regular walks may help digestion. With close monitoring and advice from a vet, you can help your pup’s chronic stomach issues.

Hunger or dehydration leading to increased licking

When dogs feel hungry or thirsty, they lick more. This indicates they need food or water. Older dogs may excessively lick furniture for various reasons. Such as, nausea, mouth/throat problems, or gastrointestinal issues. If not addressed, this can lead to malnutrition and dehydration.

It’s important to take special care of senior dogs. If your dog is excessively licking furniture, it’s important to take them to the vet. This can help identify the cause and decide on treatment. Such as medication or environmental changes. Providing a comfy space with appropriate food can help reduce anxiety.

Finally, pay attention to your pet’s behavior. Ignoring recommended treatments can lead to more health issues and cost more in the long run. So, book an appointment with your vet if your older dog is excessively licking furniture – prevention is better than cure!

Allergies causing itching, scratching, and head-shaking

Canine allergies can cause itching, scratching, and head-shaking in older dogs. These may stem from environmental allergens, food allergies, flea bites, or medications. Symptoms can worsen and lead to sores, hair loss, infection, and redness. Excessive head-shaking can also cause GI issues.

To prevent medical complications, pet owners must identify the signs early on. Also, dental care and eating habits must be maintained. With care, you can ensure your furry friend stays healthy and comfortable for years.

Dental disease causing stinky breath and changes in eating habits

Plaque and tartar buildup can cause periodontal diseases in dogs. This can lead to tooth decay, instability, and ligament destruction. This can cause a change in their eating habits. Also, dogs may suffer from oral pain, resulting in weight loss and health complications.

Halitosis or stinky breath can be caused by infected teeth or gums. These bacterial infections can lead to gingivitis and/or periodontitis. If not treated, chronic periodontal disease can cause pain and reluctance to mouth touch. It can also lead to the loss of vital organs such as liver or kidney.

Veterinarians can help with professional cleaning and scaling every six months. This reduces the risk of bacterial growth that affects a dog’s health.

Pro-tip: Clean your dog’s teeth regularly. This will prevent dental diseases, stinky breath, and changes in eating habits. Don’t let your dog suffer, give them a fun time with canine distemper!

Neurologic problems like canine distemper causing seizures

Canine distemper is a nasty neurologic disease. Seizures and other symptoms can affect dogs. Vaccination can protect them, especially puppies and older dogs without boosters. The virus spreads through contact with infected fluids such as saliva, urine, and blood.

Plus, respiratory issues, fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and eye/nose discharge can occur. The virus impacts organs and the nervous system, and a pet may still suffer long-term neurological deficits, like tremors or seizures, even if they survive.

Vaccination is key to avoiding canine distemper. Reports say this is rare in North America due to vaccination programs. However, this is still a risk for unvaccinated animals where resources are limited.

Sadly, neurological deficits may cause lifelong symptoms which worsen with age. Drugs to cure them may not be available. So, prevention is necessary to avoid disastrous outcomes for you and your pet.

Why do Older Dogs Lick Furniture?

As dogs age, their behavior often changes, and one common issue that senior dog owners face is excessive licking of furniture. In this guide, we will explore why older dogs lick furniture and provide information on several possible causes. We will go over medical and behavioral causes, as well as gastrointestinal issues and nausea as common causes of excessive licking. Additionally, we’ll discuss how mouth or throat problems can also cause excessive licking in older dogs.

Excessive Licking Syndrome in Senior Dogs

Excessive licking syndrome in senior dogs is an issue that needs addressing. Reasons such as medical issues or behavior can cause it. Pet experts state that excessive licking could be an indication of stress or health issues.

Aging can lead to restlessness for senior dogs. This can be from age, hearing loss, vision problems, cognitive dysfunction, or other medical problems. These can cause anxiety and excessive licking and other changes in behavior.

Gastrointestinal issues can cause dogs to excessively lick. They may lick their beddings even at odd times due to stomach discomfort.

One dog owner had a harrowing experience when their twelve-year-old dog started licking his legs for weeks. No matter their efforts, the dog kept licking until they took him to the vet. There were lacerations on his paws and they were infected. After treatment and advice from the vet, the dog eventually stopped the excessive licking behavior.

It’s essential to investigate excessive licking in senior dogs to find out if there’s any medical condition and provide the correct treatment or behavioral therapy.

Medical and Behavioral Causes

Older dogs can sometimes excessively lick. This could be due to medical or behavioral causes.

Medical causes include things like gastrointestinal issues, throat problems, or nausea. While behavioral causes may be due to anxiety or boredom.

If this issue is not treated, it can lead to more serious problems than just stained furniture. It could even be a sign of a neurological condition like distemper that can cause seizures.

So, to identify the cause, get a vet’s opinion. They can consider medical and behavioral factors and figure out the issue.

Why clean up after your pup when they can just lick themselves instead?

Gastrointestinal Issues due to Excessive Licking

Excessive licking in dogs can cause various digestive issues. They often lick themselves, ingesting hair and debris from their surroundings. This can cause irritation and inflammation, leading to vomiting and diarrhea.

It can also cause hairballs in the stomach, creating digestive problems and pain. The hair can even block the intestinal tract, resulting in constipation or intestinal blockage.

Stress and anxiety can also trigger this behavior. Separation anxiety, depression, or lack of exercise can all be contributing factors.

To prevent excessive licking, pet owners should provide adequate exercise and mental stimulation. This will help to distract the dog from unwanted habits.

It is important to address excessive licking to avoid gastrointestinal issues.

Nausea as a Common Cause of Excessive Licking

Excessive licking in older dogs can be caused by various factors. Nausea is a common one. Dogs may lick furniture, floors, and even themselves as a form of comfort. Endorphins released during the act of licking can help ease discomfort.

Reasons for nausea in older dogs include: medication side effects, ingesting toxins, or internal organ issues. Symptoms may include decreased appetite, persistent nausea, vomiting, and other digestive issues.

It’s important to be aware of your dog’s behavior in case of signs of nausea. Stomach movement can lead to irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, and other symptoms.

A visit to the vet can help diagnose any medical conditions that may be causing these symptoms. Possible conditions include liver failure, kidney disease, hypothyroidism, pancreatitis, or diabetes mellitus.

Taking care of your dog’s health and paying close attention to their behavior is vital. So maybe let your dog lick furniture instead of your face so they can diagnose their own mouth or throat issues with their little tongues.

Mouth or Throat Problems Causing Excessive Licking

Dogs may lick furniture too much for many reasons. Discomfort in their mouth or throat could be one of them. These problems can be anything from minor injuries to serious infections. So, pet owners must take note.

Symptoms of mouth or throat problems include difficulty swallowing, bad breath, too much drool, and lots of licking around the sore spot. Pets may have dental diseases or something stuck in their mouth or throat.

Nausea in the gut could lead to too much drooling and then a lot of licking. Pet owners should go to the vet quickly to prevent more health issues.

Daily activities and odd behavior like too much licking might mean something’s wrong. Getting help early is the best way to avoid bigger problems for furry pals.

Deeper Medical Issues and consultation with a Veterinarian

Sometimes, older dogs may display strange behavior like licking furniture. This could be a sign of an underlying medical issue. It is recommended to visit a vet and get a check-up and medical exam. This can help identify any health problems like gastrointestinal issues, liver disease or dental problems. A vet can help tell if the behavior is caused by anxiety or if it’s more serious.

It’s important to remember that a dog’s medical condition may not be obvious. So, consulting a vet is the best way to get a diagnosis and treatment. Seeking medical help right away can help prevent any long-term problems and protect the dog’s health.

Also, changes in behavior can happen as dogs get older. Licking furniture could be one sign of this. In addition to a vet, you can also talk to a dog behaviorist to get a better understanding of the animal’s mental state and behavior. This can help you decide what treatment is best and increase the chances of success.

Dealing with Excessive Licking in Older Dogs

Excessive licking in older dogs can be a sign of discomfort, anxiety, or even medical issues. In this section, we’ll explore different ways of dealing with this behavior, such as soothing music and visiting the vet to rule out any underlying medical problems. We’ll also touch on how neurological conditions can contribute to excessive licking, and what further evaluation may be necessary.

Older dogs becoming nervous and experiencing separation anxiety leading to excessive licking

As dogs age, they may become more prone to nervousness and separation anxiety. This can cause them to excessively lick. It is often seen in senior dogs and can worry pet owners.

Other symptoms of separation anxiety include destructive behavior, loss of appetite and vocalization when left alone. It is important to find out the root cause of the behavior before trying to stop the licking.

Experts say that it takes time and patience to overcome separation anxiety. Try giving the pet familiar items such as toys or clothing with your scent. If behavior changes, seek medical help. A vet can look for other causes like gastrointestinal problems or mouth issues.

Studies show that a vet can help identify causes of licking. Also, calming music and familiar scents can help reduce worries and stop the licking from separation anxiety.

Soothing music and item of clothing to reduce separation anxiety

Soothing separation anxiety in older dogs requires creative techniques. Music, particularly classical, has a calming effect due to its tempo and lack of loud noises. Playlists made for dogs, or with rain or whale song sounds, can be helpful. An item of clothing with your scent may provide a comforting reminder of your presence. Low-volume radio or television in the dog’s area may help. Pheromone diffusers releasing scents similar to lactating mothers may also be useful. Providing a comfy bed or crate with soft blankets and toys can help the pup feel secure.

What works for one dog may not work for another, so experiment with different techniques. If your pup appears overly anxious, contact a vet. Special beds simulating close contact with another being can be expensive, yet comforting. To summarize, music and clothing may reduce anxiety in older dogs. Ask a vet if your pup is overly anxious and test different techniques until you find one that works.

Taking the dog to the vet to rule out medical conditions causing licking

If your pup is excessively licking, you must take them to the vet. During the vet visit, they’ll do a physical exam, lab tests, and imaging tests. Plus, the vet will ask if there have been changes in weight, apetite, or behavior.

Medical issues such as kidney, liver, or diabetes may not have obvious symptoms in the early stages. So, it’s important to get a thorough evaluation to prevent any underlying physiological causes of the licking.

Dr. Coates’ article “Why Does My Dog Lick Everything?” (2016) says that sometimes licking isn’t related to medical problems. But, it’s still essential to check for any potential physiological issues before considering behavioral issues.

Keep your pup healthy and happy by taking them to the vet regularly!

Further evaluation for neurological conditions

Evaluating neurological issues in older dogs is crucial to identify why they excessively lick furniture. A thorough assessment should include monitoring the pup’s behavior, noting any symptoms, analyzing medical history and conducting a physical and neurological examination.

Signs like trembling, head tilting, disorientation, loss of balance and seizures may indicate neurological troubles. In such cases, more diagnostic tests, like blood work, X-rays, CT scans or MRIs, may be important to discover the root cause.

Certain degenerative neurological diseases can affect senior dogs and can be hard to diagnose without advanced imaging tools. Some examples are degenerative myelopathy and dementia.

Vets must stay informed of the latest advances in veterinary medicine to properly diagnose and treat neurologic issues in canines. Additionally, developing positive bonds with dog owners and their pets is necessary to providing proper care and achieving better results.

Therefore, it is essential to further evaluate neurological conditions in senior dogs to make sure they are living their best lives.


Older dogs may lick furniture for various reasons. It could be a sign of anxiety, boredom, or even a health issue. Licking is natural for dogs and soothing, but too much licking can damage furniture. To figure out why the dog is licking, observe its behavior closely.

Anxiety is one possible cause. If there’s also whining and pacing, it could be a sign of anxiety. In this case, identify and address the root cause, like a change in environment or routine. Boredom could be another cause. To reduce the licking, provide appropriate toys and activities.

However, if licking continues, it may be a health issue. Dry skin or allergies may lead to excessive licking. Consult a veterinarian to determine the cause and get treatment.

Some Facts About Why Do Older Dogs Lick Furniture:

  • ✅ Excessive licking in older dogs can indicate medical or behavioral problems. (Sources: Oak Brook Animal Hospital, Senior Tail Wags, WagWalking)
  • ✅ Nausea is a common cause of excessive licking in older dogs. (Sources: Senior Tail Wags, WagWalking)
  • ✅ Dental disease and neurological problems can also contribute to excessive licking in older dogs. (Sources: Oak Brook Animal Hospital, WagWalking)
  • ✅ Older dogs may start excessive licking due to boredom or separation anxiety. (Sources: WikiHow, Senior Tail Wags)
  • ✅ It’s important to take older dogs to the vet to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing the excessive licking. (Sources: Oak Brook Animal Hospital, Senior Tail Wags, WikiHow, WagWalking)

FAQs about Why Do Older Dogs Lick Furniture

Why do older dogs lick furniture?

Older dogs may lick furniture due to a variety of reasons, such as boredom or anxiety. Additionally, excessive licking can be closely linked to several medical conditions. It’s important to take your dog to the vet to rule out any underlying medical issues.

What are some reasons for excessive licking in dogs?

Dogs lick for a variety of reasons, including boredom, anxiety, hunger, dehydration, allergies, dental disease, and neurological problems. It’s important to closely monitor your dog’s licking behavior to determine the underlying cause.

Can an old dog licking carpet be a sign of a medical problem?

Yes, an old dog licking the carpet can be a sign of a medical problem, such as nausea or mouth/throat problems like tooth fractures or ulcers. It’s important to consult with a veterinarian if you suspect that your dog’s excessive licking is due to a medical issue.

What can I do to stop my old dog from licking furniture?

You can help stop your old dog from licking furniture by providing them with enough exercise and mental stimulation throughout the day. You can also try giving them an object that smells like their owner to ease separation anxiety. However, it’s important to rule out any underlying medical conditions and consult with a veterinarian if the behavior persists.

Is excessive licking in older dogs normal?

Excessive licking in older dogs can be a sign of several medical conditions and is not considered normal behavior. Older dogs are more prone to illnesses, so it’s important to closely monitor their behavior and take them to the vet if you notice any changes.

What is Dr. Melissa Nelson’s expertise in dog care?

Dr. Melissa Nelson, DVM, PhD, is a veterinarian specializing in Companion and Large Animal Medicine in Minnesota with over 18 years of experience. She co-authored an article on dealing with excessive licking in older dogs and provided valuable insights on the topic.

Joe Inglis
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