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8 Strange Reasons Your Dog Keeps Licking His Bed

Written By: Sharon Waddington

Last Updated:

While it may seem harmless, excessive bed licking can be a cause for concern. If you’ve noticed your furry friend constantly licking their bed, you may wonder why they do it. After all, dogs don’t have a language to communicate their feelings and needs, sometimes making it difficult for owners to understand.

Several reasons can explain why your dog keeps licking their bed, from stress and boredom to gastrointestinal problems, allergies, and scent marking. Some are harmless, while others can indicate an underlying medical issue.

In this article, we’ll delve into the strange reasons your dog may be obsessively licking their bed. By understanding the possible causes, you can take steps to ensure your dog’s well-being and happiness.

Why Does My Dog Lick His Bed? A puppy licking his bed.

Why Does My Dog Lick His Bed?

1. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Have you ever caught your dog licking its bed like it’s the best thing since steak? Well, I have, and I couldn’t help but wonder if my pooch was onto something. 

But as it turns out, excessive bed licking can be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in dogs. 

Yes, you heard that right, my dog may have OCD, and I didn’t even know it!

Some dogs can develop OCD just like humans, and it can cause them to exhibit repetitive behaviors like excessive licking, chewing, or scratching. 

So, the next time you catch your furry friend licking their bed like there’s no tomorrow, it might be a sign of an underlying issue and not just a weird habit. 

Who knew that dogs could be so complex? I thought all they cared about was food, walks, and belly rubs!

2. You Rewarded This Behavior

Your dog may be licking his bed because you inadvertently rewarded him for the behavior in the past. Yes, that’s right, our dogs are smart enough to pick up on our unintentional cues.

There are various ways we can end up rewarding our dog’s behavior. 

Maybe you treated them right after they licked the bed or praised them in a friendly tone. 

Once they saw that you approved of their behavior, they made it their mission to perform it repeatedly. It’s like they’re saying, “Look, Mom/Dad, I’m doing that thing you like! 

Can I have another treat now?” Who knew dogs were such master manipulators?

A Dog Licking

2. Hunger or Thirst

Have you ever caught your dog obsessively licking its bed, and you couldn’t figure out why? 

Well, it turns out that hunger or thirst may be the culprit. If your furry friend feels peckish or parched, they may start licking their bed, hoping to find any leftover crumbs or moisture.

It’s not uncommon for dogs to scavenge for food; if they can’t find anything in their food bowl, they may turn to other sources. 

That includes licking their bed, which could have crumbs or spilled water. 

So, the next time you catch your dog licking its bed, try offering them a snack or a drink of water. You might just solve the mystery of the bed licking once and for all!

4. Allergies

Just like humans, dogs can also suffer from allergies, which can cause them to itch and lick excessively.

Some fabrics, like wool or synthetic materials, can irritate your dog’s skin, leading to itching and scratching. 

The more they scratch, the more they can cause damage to their skin, making it even more itchy and uncomfortable. 

In some cases, the irritation can become so severe that it leads to infections, which can be quite serious.

If you suspect your dog has allergies, it’s important to take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis. 

Your vet may recommend switching to hypoallergenic bedding or using medicated shampoos to relieve the itchiness. 

Identifying and treating the source of the allergies can help your dog feel more comfortable and avoid further complications.

5. Their Bed is Tasty

Have you ever caught your dog licking its bed, and you’re convinced that they’re trying to eat it? 

Well, you might not be too far off from the truth. Sometimes, your dog’s bed might just be tasty, especially if you give them treats or bones in that same spot. 

Over time, the bed can pick up the scent of the treats, making it almost irresistible to your furry friend.

Dogs have a keen sense of smell and can easily detect even the faintest scents. 

So, if your dog associates their bed with food, it may start licking it to find some tasty morsels. 

It’s like a treasure hunt for them, and they won’t stop until they’ve licked every last crumb. Who knew dog beds could be so delicious?

Dog In Bed With Toy

6. Scent Marking

Dogs have scent glands in their paws and may be licking their bed to mark their territory with their unique scent.

Scent marking is a natural behavior in dogs, and it helps them communicate with other dogs. By leaving their scent on their bed, they say, “This is mine, don’t touch it!” 

It’s their way of staking their claim and establishing their dominance. So, if your dog licks their bed excessively in one spot, he might just be trying to leave its mark.

7. Health Problems

Have you noticed that your dog has been licking their bed excessively, even when they’re not hungry or thirsty? It’s possible that they’re not feeling well. 

Dogs can’t tell us when they’re nauseous or unwell, but they often display behaviors like licking to cope with discomfort. 

My German Shepherd has certainly engaged in licking her bed due to nausea or discomfort. She will also drool simultaneously. Thankfully, I’ve only witnessed it a couple of times, and it only lasted around 30 minutes.

But if your dog is constantly licking their bed, it might be worth a trip to the vet to rule out any underlying health issues.

If your dog is experiencing joint pain or stiffness, it may also lick its bed to find comfort. 

This is especially true for older dogs who may be experiencing arthritis. My dog has spinal arthritis and mild hip dysplasia, and she has an orthopedic bed, the Big Barker Bed, for additional comfort.

A clinical study by the University of Pennsylvania found that this bed can reduce joint pain and stiffness, improve joint function and gait, improve nighttime restfulness in large dogs with arthritis, and help to prevent joint issues in the first instance. 

A comfortable bed can help support your dog’s joints, reduce pain, and improve its overall quality of life.

So, if your dog is excessively licking their bed, it’s important to consider its behavior and identify the cause. 

Whether it’s health issues or joint pain, addressing the problem can help your furry companion feel better and live a happier, healthier life. 

And investing in a high-quality, comfortable bed, like an orthopedic bed, can make a big difference in your dog’s comfort and well-being.

Dog Sleeping on Bed
My dog Willow on her Big Barker orthopedic bed

8. Licking For Attention

We all love giving our dogs attention, but sometimes it can unintentionally reinforce unwanted behaviors. 

If your dog is licking their bed, and you respond by petting or talking to them, they may interpret this as positive attention and continue the behavior. 

It’s like a game to them; they’ll keep licking their bed to get your attention.

To break this cycle, giving your dog plenty of love and affection when they’re not licking their bed is important. 

This way, they learn they don’t need to lick their bed to get your attention. It might take some time and patience, but with consistent reinforcement, your dog will learn that licking their bed isn’t necessary to get your love and friendship.

Remember, positive reinforcement is key to training your dog. Instead of scolding them for licking their bed, redirect their attention to a toy or activity they enjoy. 

With time, patience, and plenty of love, you can help your pup break the habit and find new, healthier ways to get your attention.

Cockapoo In Bed With a Toy


Is It Normal For My Dog To Lick His Bed Constantly?

It depends on the frequency and intensity of the behavior. Occasional licking may be normal, but constant and excessive licking could indicate an underlying issue. It’s best to observe your dog’s behavior, note any changes, and consult with a veterinarian if you have concerns about your dog’s licking behavior.

Is It Safe For My Dog To Continue Licking His Bed?

In general, licking his bed is not harmful to your dog. However, it’s important to address the behavior if your dog is licking excessively or has an underlying medical condition. If you have any concerns about your dog’s safety or health, it’s always best to consult a veterinarian.

Additionally, if your dog’s bed is made from materials that are potentially harmful if ingested, such as foam or stuffing, it may be best to consider a different type of bed or supervise your dog while he is using it.

Can I Train My Dog To Stop Licking His Bed?

Yes, you can train your dog to stop licking his bed. The key is to determine the underlying cause of the behavior and address it appropriately. If your dog is licking due to anxiety or stress, calming techniques such as providing plenty of exercises, mental stimulation, and positive reinforcement training can help reduce the behavior. 

It’s important to be patient and consistent in your training and to always reward positive behavior. If your dog is licking due to boredom, providing more opportunities for exercise and interactive play can also help. Consulting with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist may also help address the issue.

Photo of author

Sharon Waddington

Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs.