Dogs are great companions and offer owners the best kind of love. But sometimes, they develop weird behaviors that leave owners puzzled.
One such behavior is licking pillows. A dog can lick your pillow so hard as if his life depends on it. So, what’s the reason behind this odd behavior? Is it the food crumbs on the pillow? Or is it a dog thing? Can you prevent your furry friend from soaking your pillow?
Well, read on to understand why dogs develop this odd habit.
It’s normal for all breeds of dogs to lick various items in the house, and pillows are not exceptional. One of the key reasons your pup licks your pillow is that your pillow tastes sweet. However, this habit is more common in puppies than in big dogs.
When you sleep at night, your body’s metabolism and physiological processes continue throughout the night. As a result, your body secretes sweat, which gets absorbed by the pillow, sheets, and other beddings. Also, when you move around, your face shades some skin, which remains on the pillow.
Sweat tastes like salt, and when combined with other body oils and dead skin cells, it becomes savory to dogs. Here are other reasons dogs lick pillows like it’s a tasty bone:
This might seem surprising, but dogs also suffer from anxiety, especially when separated from their owners. Separation anxiety stems from boredom, stress, and loneliness, and it results in low self-esteem in canines.
In most cases, dogs will find items that comfort them and remind them of their owner. A pillow fits this role perfectly because owners spend over 7 hours sleeping on it, soaking it with sweat, dead skins, oils, and body scent.
Keep in mind dogs have super-sensitive noses. So, they will go for things that smell like their owners, and what better items than your beddings. A dog will lick the pillow to console himself when the owner leaves. Its one-way dogs get rid of their worries, insecurity, and fears.
So, if you come home and find your pillow soaked with dog saliva, chances are your furry friend suffers from separation anxiety.
Dogs get stressed when their owners move to new homes or when there’s constant noise. To cope up, they often bark a lot or lick and drool.
When dogs lick items, they produce happy hormones or endorphins. The hormones, in turn, alleviate anxiety and stress while promoting well-being and relaxation. Even your brain releases these natural anti-depressants when you’re stressed.
So, licking pillows helps the dogs get into a good mood. And the taste and soft texture might appeal to the dog.
If your dog is licking pillows spontaneously, chances are his suffering from obsessive-compulsive behavior or OCD. OCD is a mental condition where a dog develops a certain habit and repeats it consistently, even to the point of physical harm. Sometimes it seems like they can’t stop.
For example, a dog can chase his tail continuously for hours or bite a spot till it bleeds. If you notice such signs, it’s wise to consult a vet. Licking the pillow non-stop might be a sign of neurological disorders, and only a vet can pinpoint the exact issue after examining the dog.
If you try to use force to stop your dog from licking your pillow, he might become destructive and even aggressive. So, dog owners are better off taking their canines to the vet to ensure there’s no larger issue at play.
Compensating For A Change Of Diet
Canines stick to a stable and constant routine. A change in their routine might force them to lick or eat odd things.
If your dog starts licking your pillows after you’ve changed its diet, there’s a high probability the new diet lacks salt. And licking and drooling on your pillow is how the pup satisfies his salt cravings. It’s wise to ensure that your dog’s diet can fulfill all his nutrition needs.
You Have Been Unintentionally Encouraging Him
There’s a high chance some dogs lick pillows because their owners inadvertently encourage them to do so. For instance, if you give your dog a treat after licking your pillow, the pooch might think you’re rewarding him. So, he will form a habit of licking your bedding, expecting attention, or some form of reward.
Keep Your Home Stress-Free
Figure out stressors in your house that make your dog nervous. If it’s loud music, reduce volume or find soothing music for dogs. If he doesn’t love other pets, separate them for weeks until they get used to each other.
Make sure you create a comfortable and peaceful environment for your furry friend to keep his stress and anxiety levels as low as possible.
Stick to A Routine and Be Consistent
After ensuring your pup feels safe in his environment, create a routine for him and stick to it. As we said earlier, dogs prefer a stable and consistent routine, from training sessions to diet. Don’t make any sudden changes that will increase his stress levels. If you have to make a change, make it gradual.
Address Separation Anxiety
Before leaving your house, tire your dog physically by taking him for a walk. Alternatively, you can keep him occupied using puzzles or tricks to make them less nervous. You can give him a bone or chew toy to keep him busy.
When going out, stay invisible to your canine as possible. And when you return, avoid showering him with love. Stay calm, and you can even ignore them if possible. If you show so much emotion, your dog will always feel jumpy and excited when you arrive and sad when you leave.
It’s not uncommon to find your pooch licking your pillow and other beddings. However, if the habit is continuous and intense, consider taking him to a vet. The odd behavior can indicate a medical condition like OCD.
No one loves coming home to wet pillows after a busy day at work. To address this, limit your dog’s access to your pillows, address separation anxiety, and create a friendly environment for him. Alternatively, try to figure other issues that cause your dog to lick your pillows.
That said, we hope you find this guide helpful. Thank you for stopping by, and best of luck!
Here are some other common questions about dogs that may also be helpful:Why Does My Dog Scratch My Bed Sheets? Why Does My Dog Bury His Head in Me? Why Does My Dog Lay His Head on Me? Why Does My Dog Sleep Between My Legs? Why Does My Dog Stand Over Me? Why Does My Dog Stretch So Much? Why Does My Dog Put His Butt on Me? Why Does My Dog Sleep With His Tongue Out? Why Does My Dog Lay On My Clothes? Why Does My Dog Nibble My Ear? Why Does My Dog Hump the Air? Why Does My Dog Lick Other Dogs Pee? Why Does My Dog Push Against Me? Why Does My Dog Lick My Legs? Why Does My Dog Lick My Eyes? Do Dogs Get Tired Of Barking? and if you are after our pet portraits, you can see themhere.