35 Reasons Why Chihuahuas Lick So Much + 14 Tips
Why do Chihuahuas lick so much like they’re trying to get to the center of a tootsie pop?
Some dogs constantly lick themselves. But why do they do it and should you be concerned?
There are several reasons that could cause your Chihuahua to lick all the time, some are harmless while others are more serious.
Chihuahuas are known for licking: they lick themselves, their owners, other dogs, and even objects like the carpet or furniture. Licking comes naturally to dogs, but sometimes it’s an indication of a problem.
In this blog post, we’ll answer the question: why do Chihuahuas lick so much? We’ll go over the 35 most common reasons that drive a Chihuahua to lick and 14 tips to reduce excessive licking.
Why Do Chihuahuas Lick So Much?
So why do Chihuahuas lick so much? The most natural reasons are self-grooming and showing affection. It can also be due to medical issues, behavioral issues, or simply out of boredom. Chihuahuas may lick so much that it creates bald spots or sores, so it’s important to understand why they are licking excessively.
This guide will go over what you should do if your Chihuahua licks excessively, and why excessive licking may be a sign of something more serious.
Why Do Chihuahuas Lick Themselves?
Chihuahuas mainly lick themselves for grooming purposes, but it becomes concerning when they lick for extended periods at a time.
Licking releases endorphins in dogs which helps with anxiety and stress, but you need to make sure your dog doesn’t overdo it and create hotspots. Excessive licking is usually a chronic problem due to allergies, deep stress, or a medical issue.
1. Grooming Themselves
Chihuahuas often lick to groom themselves. This is a natural instinct for them and helps keep them clean.
If their paws are dirty, dogs may lick them to clean away the dirt. Dogs tend to lick each other’s eyes to groom them.
Chihuahuas also lick themselves after urinating as a means to clean up. Dog kissers beware!
2. Pain or Injury
Did your Chihuahua get injured? If your Chihuahua injures their leg, he may start licking as a way to soothe the pain. The injury itself may not be noticeable so look for changes in your dog’s behavior, such as licking and limping.
If you suspect your Chihuahua is hurt, see your vet right away so they can determine the level of injury and remedy required.
3. Dental and Gum Issues
Poor dental health can cause your Chihuahua to lick more frequently. This is because they may be trying to relieve the discomfort of a toothache or gum disease.
Small dogs commonly experience dental issues due to their tiny mouths, so it’s important to brush your Chihuahua’s teeth regularly and have them examined by a vet.
If your Chihuahua is bored, they might start licking as a way to relieve their boredom. Chihuahuas are very active dogs and need plenty of exercise and stimulation. When your dog is stuck inside all day, they may start licking as a way to entertain themselves.
Make sure your Chihuahua is getting enough exercise. If you need some ideas, check out these fun games you can play with your Chihuahua to keep them entertained so they never get bored.
5. Anxious or Stressed
Chihuahuas can become anxious or stressed in certain situations like being left at home alone, being around strangers or when you sweep the house. When this happens, they may start licking excessively as a way to calm down and relieve that anxiety.
Licking helps soothe them and releases endorphins so that they can begin to relax. Chihuahuas are prone to anxiety, so it might be a great idea to work with a trainer on this issue.
Experiencing a wound can be one cause of why Chihuahuas lick so much. An open wound can be caused by a number of things such as a scrape or cut.
A dog’s saliva contains antibacterial properties so dogs lick their wounds to help them heal. If your Chihuahua is licking excessively in one spot, check them for a wound and see your vet if their condition worsens.
If a Chihuahua feels like they have itchy and irritated skin, they may start licking as a way to relieve the itch. Common places Chihuahuas have allergies are on their belly, legs, and paws.
It’s important not to let them lick too much or it’ll create open wounds or hot spots. Work with your vet to determine the cause of your dog’s allergies. Some common causes of allergies are food, the environment, and yeast.
Read more: Are Chihuahuas Hypoallergenic?
Fleas and mites are a common reason why your Chihuahua licks so much. Flea bites are itchy and can cause your dog to lick and scratch excessively.
Fleas are also notoriously tough to get rid of, so it’s important to act as quickly as possible. Consult with your vet for some great flea treatments and good luck flea hunting.
9. Dry Skin
Chihuahuas have thin coats, so they are more susceptible to dry skin. Dry skin can be itchy and uncomfortable for your Chihuahua. A number of things can cause dry skin, including a poor diet, the weather, allergies, or a lack of fatty acids in their diet.
This can lead to excessive licking as a way to relieve the itch, which can make their skin even more irritated. If you see white flakes or dryness, your dog might need a special shampoo, soothing skin spray, or a topical ointment.
While cancer is not one of the most common causes of excessive licking, it sure can be a reason why your Chihuahua is licking more than usual. Cancer can form tumors that are painful and cause irritation, so they lick it to relieve the pain.
Cancers in the mouth can also be a reason why they are licking excessively. It’s important to have them checked by a vet if you notice any changes in their behavior or any lumps on their body.
11. Atopic Dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis in dogs is a skin condition that is similar to eczema in humans. Dogs with this condition will often lick and scratch their skin obsessively. Some other signs are hair loss and flaky skin.
A vet will be able to diagnose this condition and may prescribe a special cream or shampoo.
12. Hormonal Imbalance
A couple of medical conditions that can cause Chihuahuas to lick excessively are hyperthyroidism and Cushing’s Disease. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much hormone and Cushing’s Disease is a disorder in which the dog’s body produces too much cortisol.
Some other symptoms these conditions can cause are excessive thirst and urination, weight gain, and changes in their coat. If your Chihuahua is experiencing one or more of these conditions, take them to the vet for an exam.
13. Anal Gland Issues
If your dog’s anal glands are full or impacted, they may start licking their butt as a way to relieve the pressure and discomfort. This is an unpleasant sensation for your dog and can cause them to lick excessively.
If you suspect your dog’s anal glands are full or impacted, a trip to the vet to have them expressed will clear this issue up. Impaction can lead to an infection, so be sure not to ignore anal gland issues.
Why Do Chihuahuas Lick People?
Licking people is another common behavior for Chihuahuas. If your Chihuahua licks you, it’s usually nothing to be concerned about, but it can become alarming if they do it excessively. There are several reasons that cause Chihuahuas to lick you that we’ll list below.
Chihuahuas love to lick people’s faces. This can be seen as a sign of affection from the dog. Chihuahuas love their owners and they show this love by licking you. They may spontaneously run up to you and start licking your face, it’s their way of saying, “I love you! What do you have for me?”
Other signs of affection are sleeping between your legs, burying their head into you, and headbutting you.
15. Seeking Attention
Some Chihuahuas will lick people in order to get attention. They might lick up your nose, ears, or face. If your dog is doing this, make sure to give him plenty of attention and love.
16. Excited to See You
Chihuahuas may lick people when they are excited to see them. This is usually a happy, giddy lick and it’s not anything to worry about.
Just like you’re excited to see your dog after a long day of work, they are equally if not more excited to see you, too! After they are done barking in excitement, they will go to town licking your face!
17. Salty Skin
Some Chihuahuas lick people because they like the salty taste. You may find after a hard workout, your Chihuahua starts licking your legs because your sweat contains salt.
Licking intently can be a sign your Chihuahua is trying to communicate with you. They could be trying to tell you they’re hungry or need to go outside. This is exactly what our Chihuahua Leo does to tell us it’s dinnertime, accompanied by a few barks.
19. Submission to Humans
As a sign of submission, some Chihuahuas will lick the person that is in charge. For example, if your dog sees you as the pack leader, he may start licking you to show his respect.
20. To Taste Your Food
Another cause for your Chihuahua to lick your face could be to taste your food. Chihuahuas love to eat and they want a piece of whatever you’re eating, so if you have a bit leftover on your face, they’ll try to lick it off.
Why Do Chihuahuas Lick Other Dogs?
Licking other dogs is also common for Chihuahuas. They are known for licking other dogs for a variety of reasons, some being similar to why they lick people.
21. Social Grooming
Chihuahuas may lick other dogs as a way to groom them. This can be seen as a sign of friendship between the two dogs. If your dog trusts another dog, he will lick them. Siblings tend to lick each other to become closer and form a bond.
22. Instinct From Mother
Licking is a natural instinct for dogs that they learned in their puppy days. Mother dogs lick their puppies to clean them after birth and to encourage breathing. Nursing mothers also lick their youngsters to stimulate urination and defecation. So this is something that is ingrained in a dog’s behavior.
Wolves lick their mother’s mouth when they’re hungry so that the wolf will regurgitate food for the pup. Unsurprisingly, this behavior has carried over to modern dogs.
23. Seeking Attention
Some Chihuahuas will lick other dogs in order to get their attention. If a Chihuahua wants to play with another dog, they may lick the other dog in hopes of easing tensions to engage in some playtime.
Chihuahuas may lick other dogs when they are excited to see them. This is typically seen as a sign of friendship between the two dogs. It’s also super adorable.
25. Submission to Dogs
Licking another dog can also be a sign of submission from your Chihuahua. One theory why dogs do this is because wolves will often groom each other as a show of respect for their leader.
For example, if your dog sees the other dog as the pack leader, he may start licking its mouth to show respect and keep the peace.
Why Do Chihuahuas Lick Furniture?
Is your Chihuahua acting bizarrely by licking random objects in your house? These reasons could be the culprit.
26. To Explore Textures
One reason why Chihuahuas lick furniture is because they are exploring their environment. This is an opportunity for them to learn about their surroundings and sample new textures.
Being their strongest senses, they use their tongues and noses to taste and smell all the new things in their environment.
27. Spilled Food
Your Chihuahua may start licking the furniture or the carpet if they see or smell spilled food. Even if it’s just crumbs or faint remnants of food, their scavenger instinct drives them to lick up every last morsel.
Our Chihuahua is like a Roomba always rooming around the house hoping to lick up any remains he can find.
28. Boredom Killer
If your Chihuahua is bored, he may start licking the furniture as a way to entertain himself. Dogs need mental stimulation and daily exercise, so make sure to give them plenty of toys and activities to keep them busy.
If you want some ideas on fun games to play with your Chihuahua, take a look at our post!
29. Gastrointestinal Disorder
Stomach and intestinal problems can cause dogs to excessively lick surfaces, which is called Excessive Licking Syndrome (ELS). If your Chihuahua is licking the furniture or the floor, it’s a good idea to take them to the vet to rule out any health issues.
30. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Chihuahuas that have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can exhibit excessive licking behavior. This is why it’s so important to rule out any medical reasons why your dog is licking. If it’s determined that your Chihuahua has OCD, there are treatments available to help him.
Why Do Chihuahuas Lick Their Lips and Nose?
Licking their lips is a sign of a nervous Chihuahua, especially if their ears are back or they turn their head away. This can be a sign that they are uncomfortable with their current situation and they need your help to make them feel more at ease, even if that means giving them space.
Dogs can get nervous around strangers, brooms, vacuums, flies swarming, or other dogs.
When Chihuahuas are hungry, they tend to lick their lips. Our dog, Leo, comes to us and licks his lips, and whines when he is hungry for dinner. Dogs also lick their lips in anticipation of receiving a treat.
Chihuahuas lick their noses to keep them moist. Moisture helps to keep their nose from becoming dry and cracking. A moist nose helps dogs pick up scents better. The weather or dehydration can cause a dry nose so always keep some water handy.
34. To Taste Scents
Dogs can lick the scent off their noses and taste it. Dogs learn through smelling so by licking the scent particles off their nose, they are able to learn even more about it through taste.
Have you ever seen a dog use a tissue to wipe their face? Me neither. The way Chihuahuas clean their nose and face is by licking off any dirt or food that’s on there. That’s how they keep their nose clean and moist.
When Chihuahuas lick their nose and lips, it’s not always a bad thing. It’s probably just them trying to clean it off like they do with their paws or lips. If you notice your dog’s nose is dry and chapped, they make nose balm to help soothe their nose.
How to Stop Your Chihuahua From Licking So Much?
If your Chihuahua is licking excessively, there are several ways to help him depending on what the root cause is.
1. See Your Vet
A veterinarian will be able to rule out any health issues like a gastrointestinal issue or OCD. Once you’ve determined there aren’t any underlying medical problems, you can start working on tackling the behavioral reasons for why your Chihuahua is licking.
One way to help curb your Chihuahua’s excessive licking is to provide him with plenty of exercise. Make sure he has lots of toys to play with and take him for walks or runs in the park.
Read our post on how much exercise a Chihuahua really needs to make sure they’re getting enough.
3. Mental Stimulation
Another way to help your Chihuahua stop licking is to provide him with plenty of mental stimulation. Give him puzzles to solve or toys that require him to use his brain. This can help keep him occupied and prevent him from licking out of boredom.
If you want to join in on the fun with your dog and grow your bond, we have a post listing 24 fun games to play with your Chihuahua.
4. Use a Lickmat for Anxiety or Boredom
When dogs are licking as a way to soothe themselves due to anxiety or boredom, this is the perfect solution. Licking releases endorphins which helps with anxiety so a Lickmat is great for anxious pups. You can redirect this licking behavior by using a silicone Lickmat.
Just spread some peanut butter, yogurt, or other soft food on it and let your dog go to town. Reduce anxiety and boredom while keeping your dog happy.
5. Ignore It
If a Chihuahua starts licking you, you can choose to ignore this behavior. Do not give him any attention or rewards for licking. You can also walk away.
Over time, he will learn that this behavior does not get him what he wants and he will stop doing it.
6. Hire a Trainer
Hiring a dog trainer is a good idea if your Chihuahua has a chronic licking problem due to anxiety or boredom. They can pinpoint main stressors and provide techniques to help reduce the amount of licking your dog does.
7. Take a Shower
If your Chihuahua is licking you because of your salty skin, taking a shower after sweating can help. The water will wash away the salt and will hopefully stop them from licking.
8. Stress-Free Environment
Chihuahuas need a quiet, safe space to feel at ease. If you notice your Chihuahua licking a lot when they’re in a certain area of the house or when they’re around a particular person, it could be due to stress.
Move them to another room or create a space just for them where they can relax, like a cozy crate.
Dogs pick up on their human’s behavior so if you are frequently stressed or anxious, they will feel this too and mimic your feelings.
9. Alleviate Their Allergies
If your Chihuahua is licking you because of allergies, the best thing to do is work with your veterinarian to determine the cause of the allergies. You may need to change your dog’s diet or start him on medication to relieve the inflammation.
10. Give Them Something to Chew On
When a Chihuahua is licking excessively, give them something to take their mind off it and redirect the behavior. Try giving them a chew toy or a bone to gnaw on. This will help keep them occupied and may stop the licking.
11. Soothing Skin Spray
If your Chihuahua has irritated skin and is licking as a way to soothe it, you can try using a skin spray. There are many different brands available with ingredients like oatmeal, aloe, and lavender. Just be sure to make sure there are no harmful chemicals or alcohol in it.
For homemade options, you can make a spray using apple cider vinegar diluted to 50%. It is a natural anti-fungal and antibacterial and will help calm down mildly inflamed skin. If your dog’s skin is very raw, then coconut oil might be a better option due to its anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
12. Keep Paws Clean
Clean your dog’s paws after a walk or after playing in the mud. This way you won’t find them later trying to lick dried mud off. Wiping their paws with a damp cloth or paw wipes will do the trick.
13. Wrap with Gauze or Use a Baby Sock
To prevent excessive licking on the legs and paws, you can use a baby sock or wrap the leg in gauze to deter licking. Just put the sock over your Chihuahua’s paw and secure it so he will not be able to lick it. This will give the leg time to heal.
Some dogs are very clever and can get the sock or gauze off, so if that’s the case, our next tip might be a better solution.
14. Wear a Cone or Clothes
Your vet might suggest that your dog wear a cone or clothing to reduce licking if they have lots of hot spots and irritation. It might be hard to watch your dog wear a cone, but it will keep him from being able to lick areas that need to heal.
Work with your vet to determine the cause so that once the irritated skin does heal, your dog won’t start up licking again and create more wounds or hot spots.
Check out our Chihuahua Clothing Guide for the best options.
There you have your answer to: why do Chihuahuas lick so much? As you have seen, Chihuahuas lick so much for a variety of reasons, some better than others.
Some of the most common reasons include grooming, seeking attention, excitement, and submission. Sometimes licking indicates a health problem such as allergies, a skin condition, or a GI disorder. In other cases, it can be due to anxiety and stress.
If your Chihuahua is licking excessively, there are several things you can do to help him stop. Try providing him with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
You can also try ignoring him when he licks or taking a shower if he’s licking because of your salty skin. If all else fails, take him to your veterinarian for a check-up.
Are Dog Licks Really Kisses?
Humans tend to view licking as a sign of affection. The most common reason is trying to show their love for you, but there are other reasons dogs lick, too. Dogs lick us as a way of getting attention, if we have salty skin, if we have food leftover on our mouth, and when they’re excited to see us.
Will Vinegar Stop My Dog From Licking?
Apple cider vinegar is a home remedy that some people use to stop their dog from licking. ACV helps soothe red and irritated skin. Dilute it to 50% and you can soak your dog’s paws in it or spray it on any itchy, inflamed areas.
Is There a Reason Why My Chihuahua Licks Everything?
There can be several reasons why a Chihuahua licks everything. Some of the most common reasons include seeking attention, boredom, anxiety, or a medical issue. If your Chihuahua is licking excessively, you should try to provide him with plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, and something to chew on. Take them to the vet if you suspect a medical problem.
Why Does My Chihuahua Lick His Paws?
Chihuahuas may lick their paws excessively because of allergies, pain, skin issues, or boredom. Licking may be a sign of an underlying medical condition. If your Chihuahua is licking his paws excessively, it might be worth a trip to the vet.
Should Your Dog Lick Your Wound?
Although dog saliva does contain some antibacterial properties, it’s not recommended that you let your dog lick your wound. This is because their saliva contains other bacteria and viruses which may cause an infection.
Why Is My Dog Licking the Air So Much?
Dogs lick the air for lots of reasons: to smell things better, if they have a compulsive disorder, dental pain, GI issues, etc. Occasional bouts of air-licking are likely not serious, but you should keep an eye on this behavior to make sure it doesn’t increase in frequency.