So, you noticed that your Chihuahua licks a lot. Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?
And now you wonder? keep reading to discover:
- What excessive licking is and what it indicates.
- A simple way to prevent paw-licking (the spotlight falls on reason #9).
- Why the reason for your Chihuahua licking a specific spot on the floor could be more severe than just some spilled food or a drink.
- And much more…
Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?
Chihuahuas lick their peers and owners out of affection, and licking another dog they’ve just met is a sign of submission. Other reasons why Chihuahuas lick includes curiosity for how something tastes, grooming, and cleaning themselves.
If they lick excessively, it’s a sign of an issue known as a compulsive disorder. This is caused by boredom, anxiety, pain, and stress.
It’s essential to know the exact reason behind your Chihuahua’s licking.
That’s why I’ve outlined certain situations that you might recognize. I’ve also answered the most common questions Chihuahua owners have about them.
Please keep reading to check out what they are to be able to decode your Chihuahua’s licking behavior.
Why do Chihuahuas lick themselves?
Reason #1: Big groomers
Chihuahuas like to stay clean and lick themselves as an act of grooming.
If you have two Chihuahuas, they will lick each other. And it’s normal, and this is a way of cleaning and showing affection.
Reason #2: Excessive licking
What you see could be excessive licking, and you could look at it as over-grooming.
One way to tell that’s what’s going on is if it lasts for hours on end. When your Chihuahua does this, they’re attempting to calm themselves down.
Caution: Make sure there aren’t any sores on their body.
Tip: You can give them something else they can occupy their time with. A stuffed Kong works best to draw their attention to problem-solving. And they get a reward out of it, metaphorically and literally.
Reason #3: Skin irritation
For example, if your Chihuahua has dry skin, they might try ‘fixing’ the problem by licking. Or scratching.
What causes dry skin could be cold winter weather and a lack of fatty acid in the body.
Reason #4: Boredom
Have you noticed that people have specific ways of dealing with boredom? It might be tapping their fingers or feet.
While dogs do not use the same actions, they do have a way of showing us something is up in their inner world.
You see their boredom manifested in different ways, such as compulsive licking, scratching, or biting. All of these have in common that they can be detrimental to your dog and home.
Reason #5: Anxiety
Anxiety is also something not only related to humans but also our canine friends.
Have you caught yourself doing something such as biting your nails and lips or twirling your hair when you’re nervous? It’s a bad habit, but it has its place.
Whenever you or someone else reverts to this, it’s a subconscious attempt to deal with the stress and psychological discomfort.
What you can do:
When your Chihuahua experiences anxiety, making the environment as stress-free as possible is essential.
Make sure the Chihuahua is in a quiet room without too much noise coming from the outside.
You could dim the lights at night before you go to bed to make it even more comfortable and relaxing for your dog.
Pay attention to your movements when you’re around your Chihuahua. Moving slower and calmer around them generally is better if they’re easily stressed. After all, dogs tend to pick up on the energy their owners give out.
You can also get your Chihuahua with collars, food, treats, and sprays with pheromones.
Reason #6: Hormonal disbalance
Whether your Chihuahua has a thyroid deficiency or your body produces too much cortisol, it all comes down to hormonal disbalance.
Reason #7: Pain
There’s always the possibility that your Chihuahua licks itself a lot because they’re experiencing physical discomfort.
When your Chihuahua has something stuck in its paws, such as a thorn or a sharp piece of wood, it will try to get rid of it.
They will either chew their paw or lick excessively.
Reason #8: Parasites
This is one of the most common reasons dogs lick themselves so much.
Any parasites such as ticks, fleas, and mites could cause your Chihuahua to feel bothered and try to get rid of the problem by licking.
Tip: After walks, always check for ticks or fleas.
Caution: Bear in mind that mites are microscopic, meaning they would go unnoticed by you if it weren’t for the signals your Chihuahua is giving out.
If you have a reason to believe some parasites could be bothering your Chihuahua, waste no time and schedule a vet appointment. Your vet will choose an appropriate treatment for your Chihuahua’s safety.
Why do Chihuahuas lick their feet?
Reason #9: Allergy
Are the paws pink? Do you notice any loss of hair there?
In this case, your Chihuahua might be suffering from an allergy. It could be caused by grass, pollen, dander, dust mites, detergents for cleaning the house, medicine, flea removal products, or food ingredients.
This makes the paws of your Chihuahua itch.
What are the consequences of obsessive paw-licking?
Your precious little Chihuahua could develop canine acral lick dermatitis (ALD), also known as lick granuloma.
What you can do:
It’s advisable to clean your Chihuahua’s paws with dog wipes after you return home from a walk, and a warm washcloth would also do the job.
Caution: If you notice any wounds, change of color of the paws, or soreness, seek veterinary help.
Reason #10: Water on the paws
They could lick them afterward if you have the habit of washing your Chihuahua’s paws. Some Chihuahuas also do this after a wet walk in the rain.
Why do Chihuahuas lick your feet?
Reason #11: Liking the smell
Now, this is different and way less worrying.
If you’ve just come out of the shower, your Chihuahua could be drawn to the aroma of the lotion or soap you have used.
Your Chihuahua might even enjoy your feet smell after being in shoes all day.
Whether you’ve been wearing leather shoes or sneakers, your feet get sweaty and have a particular smell that your Chihuahua distinguishes.
Maybe you prefer being licked on the feet instead of on the face.
Why do Chihuahuas lick their lips?
Reason #12: Gum or teeth infection
If a Chihuahua licks their lips often, it could indicate a health issue with the gums and teeth. Chihuahuas are prone to dental problems due to their small mouth. If you notice excessive licking, take your Chihuahua to the vet.
Why do Chihuahuas lick me?
Reason #13: Affection
This is connected with the experiences during early puppyhood. Mother dogs lick the litter, and this stimulates defecation and urination. Plus, it’s how the Mom cleans her young.
When you look at it, these are all signs of caregiving.
When you get a Chihuahua puppy, chances are you will be licked. If you’re not a fan of a dog licking you, then you can train your Chihuahua to stop early on.
You can exit the room when your puppy starts licking you. Then it would help if you stayed out for at least several minutes. This aim is to show your Chihuahua puppy that you don’t like this behavior and will go away.
There are pros to being licked by your Chihuahua, though.
This will make you both feel closer and strengthen your bond. If you don’t mind, that is a bit of dog saliva. 🙂
Reason #14: Love and respect
Let’s look at wolves. The young ones would lick their mothers’ mouths to indicate they wanted food.
The mother wolf would then regurgitate the food she had brought back to the den.
As to Chihuahuas, it’s common for two of them to groom each other as a sign of love and respect.
By doing these, they’re strengthening the bond between themselves. This is what wild dogs that go in packs would do to maintain the pack’s bond.
When your Chihuahua is licking you, you can consider it a sign of love and care…
If you don’t like ‘kisses’ on the mouth, that’s fine, but it doesn’t mean you should stop your Chihuahua from licking you.
After all, it’s the most natural behavior, and to a great extent, it’s part of being a dog.
If you’re not entirely okay with being licked, you can teach your Chihuahua to stop when it hears a command such as ‘enough’ or ‘stop.’
While this will allow your Chihuahua to follow its instincts, it will also ensure it won’t be licking you when you don’t want them to.
You’ll also be able to apply that with other people who are not okay with it, such as guests or people you meet during dog walks.
Why does my Chihuahua lick my face?
Reason #15: Submission
Submission is typical behavior for wolves and dogs. As wolves grow up, some will lick the snouts of other adults. This means they acknowledge the other wolf is more dominant, and they acknowledge and respect that.
Your Chihuahua might be trying to show you she recognizes you as the leader in the house.
Reason #16: Salty skin
Maybe it comes surprising, but dogs love how salty skin tastes. This applies to your feet after wearing shoes all day and your body after exercising.
Reason #17: Tasting what you ate
If you have recently eaten, your Chihuahua might want to learn more about that smell. And what better way to do that than actually tasting it?
Why do Chihuahuas lick the bed/the couch/the floor/the carpet?
Reason #18: Spilled food or drink
It’s only natural for Chihuahuas to be curious and check out that drink you spilled or the spot where you’ve dropped something tasty.
Reason #19: Liking the texture
Chihuahuas explore the world primarily with the help of their noses and tongues. So, if they see something new that smells, tastes, or feels good, they’re prone to lick it.
Bonus reason: Gastrointestinal issues
Sometimes, when a Chihuahua experiences gastrointestinal disorders, they might start licking a spot excessively on the carpet, on the floor, or part of the couch or bed.
This calls for a vet visit if you notice your Chihuahua panting or furrowing its forehead.