Why does my dog lick my pillow and other bedding?

If you’re here it’s probably because you have a dog who loves to lick stuffs all around the house. This post will tell you why your dog might be doing that, why he does lick your pillow and how to get him to stop.

Animals generally have a lot of behaviors[1] that we as humans may find weird and dogs are not any different.  Humans over the years have formed a close relationship with dogs and they have proven to be man’s best friend due to loyalty and charm they possess.

Dogs really love to explore as they can be really curious at times. This leads to them displaying some behaviors which might be alien to both you and I.

You might have caught your lovely dog on a couple of occasions licking things which don’t generally count as food. It might be your favorite pillow, blankets, shoe, feet or maybe even the carpet.

You might be wondering:

Why your furry friend doesn’t just stick to food or bones? There are a couple of reasons for that, some of which you might have thought about and some which you had no idea about. Below I’ll be telling you why your pet might be doing that and what makes it even more likely.

It’s a compulsive behavior

When you find your dog licking your pillow it may be a repetitive behavior that has been allowed to brood. Repetition of this action without any caution could have helped this behavior develop.

Now:

It is likely that your dog has developed a compulsive habit of constantly licking the pillows if you find him going back to your favorite pillow several times each day. A compulsive habit is generally difficult to get rid of and it will be much better if it is not developed at all.

As compulsion is with humans is how it is with dogs, especially when it comes to licking things all around the house.

It enjoys the salty taste

Humans usually shed dead skin cells and sometimes sweat when they are asleep. Most of the sweat and skin cells happen to fall on the pillow which may lead to the pillow becoming salty.

Dogs generally love the taste of salt and humans have a lot of it which they excrete through sweat or other means.

In other words:

It is considered that one of the reasons dogs lick humans a lot is due to the salty taste of the body. The pillow also has a good amount of this salty taste due to how long you spend holding it against your body. When there are no humans to lick, you may then find your dog licking a pillow.

It misses its best friend

Another reason why your dog might be licking your pillow is due to your absence.

It’s almost impossible to be with your dog always, sometimes some really unimportant things like job, school, family, and friends creep in and you have to make time for them.

When your dog doesn’t have you around it might have to come up with something that helps him remember you. You probably spend a good amount of time lying on your pillow when you’re at home which makes the pillow smell a lot like you.

When you leave for work your pillow becomes the next best thing.  Dogs generally love to be with their owners and if you are unavailable you pillow becomes the next reliable option.

Due to boredom

As people get bored from time to time, so do animals. Dogs do a lot of things which you find might weird as a human and it sometimes gets worse when they are bored.

It’s common to dogs when they get bored they try to find something to entertain themselves, something that generally seems fun. You could find them obsessively biting and chewing shoes, couch, bags or even your people.

As they might find themselves biting at things to kill boredom is the same way they might consider licking all because it seems like fun to them. Licking of items is less destructive than biting which could have led to it being overlooked and helped the habit develop even more.

Lack of nutrients

Although it rarely happens, dogs can sometimes be malnourished or lacking in certain nutrients. Due to the lack of nutrients, he may try to find lacking nutrients in the weirdest places.

If you often find your dog lick odd objects which are not its typical food it might be a result of nutrient deficiency. When your dog begins to find some things oddly tasty, it may be due to it missing some nutrients or nutritional imbalance.

So when he develops a weird craving for pillows or carpets at home other than real food, nutritional deficiency is one of the things you should consider.

Due to unconsciously offered rewards

Another reason why your dog might be licking your pillow often is because you have trained him to do so.

Can this really be true?

Dogs generally are more likely to carry on with activities that they have been rewarded for. You probably have been unconsciously offering your dog treats or other sorts of reward when he licks your pillow.

The timing was probably just wrong and you didn’t mean to offer him a reward for licking the pillow but the dog is not aware of this. Due to the reward the dog might consider licking your pillow to be a good habit and do it more often for rewards.

He finds them comfortable and soothing

Sometimes your dog might feel a little sick, under the weather or injured, that can lead to him licking itself and other objects to feel better both physically and emotionally.

He might find something relaxing to rest on when he’s not feeling really good, which is usually a pillow, couch or other soft materials at home.

So it's possible find him licking something which is going to help relieve or at least reduce the tension and provide a soothing feeling. It might be the thing which he finds closest to him and that could be your pillow.

How to get your pup to stop licking the pillow

To understand how to stop your pet from licking your pillow. you have to first understand the reason for it.

It could be one of the reasons listed above or any other reason but without finding the real cause of the action you have to first discover the underlying cause. Knowing when this started will help you find the reason much easier as you’d be aware of when the habit started

The following are ways which would be helpful when trying to stop your dog from licking

Wash the pillow

One of the ways to stop your dog from licking the pillow is to wash it together with the bed sheets, although it might seem really simple.

Some reasons I listed above that may have warranted your dog to lick your pillow often were due to the presence of salty sweat, skin cells on the pillow and also because the pillow smells a whole lot like you.

When the pillow is washed, the smell and scent on it are likely to be gone and this will reduce the occurrence of biting and licking if these were his reason for licking. Soap with a good fragrance and a clean wash will help in this regard.

Avoid rewarding it

As previously stated, the reason your dog may be licking your pillow is that you have been rewarding him with treats or attention unconsciously.

If that is the case, it’s best to stop giving him treats when he bites or licks the pillow and instead find a way to caution him. This can be by denying him treats and training him to stop. If the cause of the licks was due to reward, he is bound to learn that after a while.

Make sure he gets food with appropriate nutrients in the right quantity

When the underlying cause for him licking pillows and other objects is nutrient deficiency, it’s best to get food with the appropriate quantity and quality of nutrients.

It is also possible to get supplements and snacks rich in the needed nutrients. You can take him to the vet to find out what is actually wrong and find the nutrients he is missing so as to know what to and what not to feed him.

Get rid of pillows

Another way is by hiding the pillows on your bed. When there are no pillows around for a while, he will get used to not having any and this can help him to stop licking.

You could also replace the pillows with other chewable toys and objects, which are clean and more appropriate for licking.

Wrapping up

The right dog is still one of the best things that could happen to a man.

Although licking might not be a very good habit but it is something which you can get rid of to make you bond and have the perfect relationship with your pet.

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