Why Does My Yorkie Lick Everything?
Like all dog breeds, Yorkies are big “lickers.” Whether it’s a sloppy kiss to show their affection or a means to clean and groom themselves, licking is a useful technique for Yorkies. But have you noticed that your Yorkie’s licking habits are becoming excessive? Is your Yorkie’s tongue out to lick everything in its path –the sofa, the wall, and even just the air?
While licking isn’t uncommon across all dog breeds, endless amounts can indicate some underlying problems. Yorkie’s lick for a bunch of reasons, but it’s essential to understand when it’s too much and what’s causing it. While most of these causes you can deal with on your own, if odd symptoms like bleeding accompany the licking, take your dog to a veterinarian immediately.
10 Reasons Your Dog Likes to Lick Everything, Especially Paws, Legs, and Feet
Anxiety, stress, and boredom
One of the most common reasons for your Yorkie’s licking is anxiety. Think of how people have some physical behaviors that pop up when they’re anxious, like lip-biting and nail-biting. For Yorkies, and in fact many dog breeds, including Labradors, Chihuahuas, and Golden retrievers, this is a go-to habit for whenever they are anxious.
So the underlying cause of this anxiety is something you have to figure out depending on the context of licking. Keep track of your Yorkie’s licking patterns to do so. One of the possible sources of anxiety is boredom. If your dog has nothing to do, your dog simply reverts to licking to keep itself occupied. Another reason could be stress. If your dog is exhibiting licking in possibly stressful situations –like you leaving for work because Yorkie’s don’t like being left alone– then that’s the source.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll also enjoy: How to Stop Biting Habit in Yorkie
Your Yorkies is feeling under the weather
Often times when the licking is occasionally excessive, it may be a sign that your dog is feeling a little under the weather. When your Yorkie has eaten something that’s making its stomach upset, it usually gets nauseated and feels like throwing out that food.
Sometimes an indication that your Yorkie’s licking is a result of sickness is if it’s licking the air more frequently than anything else. This is possibly a cause of too much saliva buildup because the salivary gland functions are in full effect.
One thing is certain, when you suspect your dog may be licking because it’s sick, you can minimize the collateral of vomit by putting it in an easy-to-clean place.
Your Yorkie has Allergies
Allergies are another big reason for excessive licking habits. Your canine best friend is no stranger to roaming around sniffing everything. This means it’s unlikely that your Yorkie ran into something that it’s allergic to. It makes sense that because of their sniffing habits, most of the time, an allergic material is found at the ends of their muzzles. Often an allergy-driven licking involves a Yorkie licking its paws, haunches, or back.
Some of the common sources of dog allergies are dust mites, yeast infections, and grass-type weed known as “Wandering Jew.” Other possible sources of irritation and allergies could be a new product you may have used around the house, which contains chemicals your dog may be allergic to.
If you can’t seem to put a pin on what the underlying source is, it’s best to take your dog to a veterinarian. With a quick and harmless blood sample, they can identify possible sources of allergy, which you can then avoid bringing around the house. A quick fix for irritations could be cleaning them up and applying soothing sprays.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll also enjoy: Yorkies in Heat: Signs, Cycles, Length & Symptoms
Your Dog has Dental Issues
Dogs are actually quite prone to developing dental conditions owing to the small size of their jaw. In fact, dental diseases are most common in dogs, affecting about 80% of dogs by the age of 2. On top of that, Yorkie’s are even more susceptible to dental diseases.
When food residue gets stuck in a dog’s teeth, a natural response they have is using their tongue to get rid of it. Therefore this is a possible reason for your Yorkie to be continually licking its teeth. It’s all the more important to be mindful of your Yorkie’s dental hygiene by regular brushing.
Your Yorkie is showing affection
As we mentioned before, Yorkies are very affectionate and loving little creatures. And if you’ve only recently gotten a Yorkie, you might want to disagree. However, Yorkies are in fact, incredibly affectionate, and once they are able to trust you and get comfortable in your presence, it’s all snuggles and kisses.
A Yorkie can’t put its love for you into words, although their shrill barks can be endearing. So instead, it uses physical cues and actions to show its affection. Licking you is one of the ways it does so.
Adorable as this may be, it can sometimes get irritating and excessive. Or you may simply prefer dry snuggles over sloppy licks. To reign in the excessive licking, you can start calmly but sternly showing your disapproval of the act. Tell your dog to stop when it’s licking and when it does, reward the behavior with a little treat. While this one may take some time, and it can understandably be tough to reject the sweet affection. Eventually, your Yorkie will recognize this act as bad and tone down the licking.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll also enjoy: Yorkies in Heat: Signs, Cycles, Length & Symptoms
Your Yorkie has a taste for your skin-salts
If your Yorkie is excessively licking you or your family members, then, believe it or not, it may have acquired a taster for you. Human taste contains several salts and acid, which a dog’s taste buds can sense. As bizarre as this might seem, your dog can become quite fond of how your skin tastes. Much like in the case of a dog showing excessive affection, you can use a combination of “No” commands and treats to train out this behavior.
Your Dog Is simply Curious
Sometimes we forget how similar animal behaviors are to ours. In the case of your Yorkie, though, it’s more comparable to babies. Babies like to inspect everything new to them using everything at their disposal; they probe it, stare at it, and put it in their mouth. It’s a matter of curiosity, which can be one reason your dog is so habitual of licking stuff. Your furry best friend may be just adventurous, so this one isn’t much to be worried about.
Your Yorkie contracted Fleas
Much like how you’re Yorkie can run into an allergic substance, its adventures around the house or the park could expose it to fleas and ticks. When these cling onto its coat and latch onto the skin, it can cause irritation and annoyance.
However, in this case, be on the look-out for other behavioral symptoms like scratching and scrubbing along with licking. The fleas often reside in the more enclosed areas like beneath the leg pits and around the ears.
While ticks are usually visible to the naked eye and you can notice them in the areas mentioned above, don’t dismiss this possibility if you can’t find any on your Yorkie. Other parasites like fleas and mites can also cause irritation, and you should consider taking your dog to the doctor.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll also enjoy: How to Make Your Yorkie Less Aggressive and Angry – You Must Do This
Your Dog Has Developed a Bad Habit
As we mentioned before, licking can simply mean endearment and affection. Your dog is merely showering you with love with its sloppy, wet kisses. While we can understand how adorable these can be, it is likely that your acceptance and allowance of these kisses may have developed a habit for your dog.
A constant positive reinforcement every time you laugh and appreciate your dog for licking registers as something good. So it’s only natural that it may want to do it again and again for affection. This is especially the case with Yorkies because they naturally desire loads of attention.
Some more Serious Health Issues
Now, before we get into this, understand that licking habits rarely add up to something serious. However, if you have checked out all of the above, something serious may be afoot.
Following are some of the possible issues that your Yorkie might be facing which can be responsible for the excessive licking:
An upsetting of a dog’s hormone levels, excessive or reduced production, can lead to skin issues, and that may be why your Yorkie is licking itself. What might be happening, in this case, is reduced production of the thyroid hormone and excess production of Cortisol, in a condition called Cushing’s disease. This often causes rough patchy spots on the skin, which constantly irritate the dog. To get some soothing sensation, your dog licks these spots in response.
Another possible cause is that your Yorkie is in a state of pain. This might be due to a cut-like injury or thorn stuck, which is a constant annoyance for your dog. If you see your Yorkie repeatedly licking the same spot on its body, be sure to investigate that site for signs of injury.
Oral growths/ Lesions
Lesions and unwanted growths in a dog’s mouth can be another source of annoyance. These unwanted parts irritate the insides of your Dog’s mouth and stimulate the salivary gland to start over-producing sweat. Licking is a way for your Yorkie to get some relief and get rid of excess sweat.
If you suspect this to be the case, be sure to inspect the inside of your Yorkie’s mouth.
It’s important to realize that sometimes, professional help is the necessary answer. If you are uncertain about the underlying cause, be sure to take your Yorkie to a veterinarian.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll also enjoy: How to Potty Train Your Yorkie and Teacup Yorkie
Prevent Your Dog from Licking Themselves to Harm – Dogs Licking Paws Remedies
Licking sounds like an innocent and harmless activity, but an excess of everything is bad, including licking. Sometimes your dog’s bad habit can lead to severe issues like hair loss and skin inflammation. There are quite a few steps you can take to prevent your dog from literally licking themselves red.
In addition to using negative voice commands and negative signals each time your dog is licking itself, you might also find it useful to invest in a buster collar.
Buster collars are readily available online, and you can also ask your veterinarian for one. They go by several names like Pet E-collars, pet cones, Elizabethan collars, and even the cone of shame. They are plastic sheet-like structures curved into cones and made to keep animals, including dogs and cats, from biting, itching, or scratching themselves. The way they work is primarily by limiting your dog’s field of vision, and whenever your dog tries to lick itself, from whichever angle, the cone comes in its path.
The cone does have its obvious downsides. It makes it harder for your Yorkie to eat or drink the stuff because it comes in their path and reduces how low they can reach. You can work around this by removing the cone for food and water breaks.
If you suspect that the cause of licking is simply boredom, then you can invest in some chew toys. Dogs love to chew toys. It not only gives them something to but also keeps them focused and entertained. Dogs get almost as excited for toys as kids do.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll also enjoy: How To Pee Pad Train Your Yorkie
Changing your Yorkie’s behavior
Dogs, and especially Yorkies, can pick up new habits very quickly. The problem is, it’s often tough to get these habits to change. From excessive barking to scratching to even growling, dogs can pick up strong behaviors, and it takes time to train those out.
While it isn’t the most straightforward job, you can revert these behaviors to normal with enough patience and determination. It’s essential to stay consistent with your intentions and making sure it’s your dog that’s caving in and changing. The idea here is to help your dog realize that particular behavior, in our case licking, is undesirable, and you are the one in control. If you slip up and give in even a few times, the dog will know that it can eventually get its way. You would compromise all the effort you put in.
Stopping Undesirable Behavior in Yorkies
You can keep in mind some guidelines when you are training your dog out of these habits. Here are a couple of tips you must follow to be successful:
Use a firm command: NO or STOP
If you’ve heard of Pavlov’s dog experiment, in which a vocal or physical queue is associated with an action like a bell noise and food, you’d understand how positive reinforcement works. If you want to train something out, you can use negative reinforcement using queues undesirable for a dog like strong “No” and “Stop” commands.
Get up and walk away
Another negative queue for dogs is if you stand up and walk away when they don’t listen to you. This especially applies to Yorkie’s because they are inherently attention-demanding, and when you walk away, they sense that whatever they might be doing is wrong.
Spray Bitter Apple on problem areas (Like Dog Chewing Nails)
Have you ever heard of anti-nail biting polishes? They are very bitter-tasting liquids you can apply to your fingernails if you tend to bite your nails. You can do something similar in the case of your Yorkie by applying some bitter substance, like bitter apple spray, on areas where your Yorkie frequency licks.
This works on a similar principle of negative queues, and soon your Yorkie will associate licking with something bad. Be sure to check whether whatever you’re using is non-toxic and your dog isn’t allergic to it because your dog is directly licking this.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll also enjoy: How to Make Training of Yorkies More Rewarding
Encouraging Good Behavior in Your Dog
You can also incorporate positive queues into your process to encourage your dog every time it obeys you.
Use a positive, encouraging tone of voice
Whenever your dog responds positively to you, commanding it to stop licking, you should change your tone completely to positive and encouraging. This way, your Dog knows that stopping can be rewarding.
Use small treats as an encouragement
What better positive reinforcement to show your dog approval than food treats? Every time you want to stop your dog from licking, you can offer it some goodies, and this one almost always works out.
Conduct training with consistency
Like we mentioned before, part of changing any behavior is to stick by your rule book. This bit is a lot about power dynamics and you making sure your dog knows who the boss is. Your training procedure should be consistent for your Yorkie to see the pattern of disapproval and eventually stop.
Here’s another Yorkie article you’ll also enjoy: How to Calm a “Jumping” Yorkie
In Conclusion – Dogs Licking Paws Remedies
Licking can be a cute and playful way for your dog to express its love and affection. In most cases, licking and even some form of excessive licking are harmless. However, it is important to keep an eye out for some of the underlying and potentially dangerous causes of licking. If it’s merely a product of boredom, anxiety, or habit, you can follow some of our tips to train out the behavior gradually. If you suspect something odd is at the root of the licking, be sure to contact a professional.