You love your Chihuahua, but let’s face it—no one loves having dog slobber all over their body or home. So, if your Chihuahua seems to have picked up licking as their pastime, you’re undoubtedly wondering, “Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?”
Chihuahuas lick for various reasons, including because of the salt on your skin, allergies, and liking texture on their tongue.
I’ll share the most common scenarios that Chihuahuas lick so that you can start rectifying the problem.
9 Reasons Your Chihuahua Is Licking So Much
Without further ado, below are the most common reasons that your Chihuahua licks.
1. They Love You
Licking is a love language to your Chihuahua. They may be licking you because they see you as someone important to care for, much like mother Chihuahuas lick their babies to clean and care for them.
Your Chihuahua may also be showing you respect when they lick you. That can trace back to their wolf ancestry, where subordinate wolves in a pack sometimes lick a dominant wolf’s muzzle.
Reprimanding your Chihuahua when they lick you out of love can confuse them. So, try distracting them with their favorite toy and whisper sweet nothings in their ear about how much you love them too.
2. You Taste Good
If you’re wondering, “Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?” and your Chihuahua never used to lick your skin, take a hard look at your sodium intake. Researchers found that dietary salt loading can cause excess sodium on your skin. In layperson’s terms, that means eating one too many potato chips.
Should you be unwilling to change your sodium-consuming ways for your Chihuahua, the next best thing is to wash your hands after eating sodium-laden food before petting them.
Then, give your Chihuahua their favorite chew toy and distract them whenever their nose makes a beeline to your skin.
3. They Like Texture
It may sound odd, but your Chihuahua might be licking a lot because they like the feel of the item on their tongue. Since Chihuahuas don’t have hands, they rely on their tongues and noses for exploring the world.
A sign that your Chihuahua might like the texture of something is if they start licking a new object they find out of the blue.
Blankets, carpets, and new appliances are all contenders for texture licking. If feasible, remove the item your Chihuahua is licking and see if it solves the problem. If not, you might have to get creative with blocking them off from it or teaching them to ignore it by rewarding them with a treat when they’re not licking.
4. They Have Allergies
Dog allergies are a common reason that Chihuahuas lick themselves. And, no, I’m not talking about a human’s allergy to dogs. Instead, many environmental factors can cause dogs to experience allergies, such as:
- Food allergy
- Air freshener
Aside from licking themselves, other signs that dogs have allergies include a runny nose, itchiness, hives, and sneezing.
5. You Spilled Something
I’m not talking about the pieces of mozzarella cheese that just fell to the floor as you made pizza. Instead, if your Chihuahua is zeroing in on a particular spot on your floor, think back to whether you spilled something there.
Did you spill something yesterday? Last week? Three months ago?
Dogs have approximately 94 million more sensory receptors in their noses than humans. So, even if your living room carpet smells clean to you, your Chihuahua can sense if your 2-year-old spilled milk there, even when they weren’t around to watch it happen.
6. They’re Anxious
Canine separation anxiety is an issue for many Chihuahuas, given how much they love being around people. So, if you have a camera in your home to check up on your Chihuahua and notice them licking their body or objects frequently when you’re away instead of sleeping, they could be using it as a coping mechanism for their anxiety.
Managing separation anxiety in Chihuahuas can be challenging. But it’s important to address it for your dog’s emotional wellbeing. It could also save your house from destruction or excessive shedding.
I recommend hiring a trainer to help your dog manage their anxiety (that doesn’t involve licking everything in sight). Your veterinarian may also prescribe your pet some anti-anxiety medication.
7. They’re Practicing Good Hygiene
Dogs don’t have as good a reputation as cats for being clean, but they still enjoy self-grooming. I know that can be hard to believe after your Chihuahua comes inside from playing in mud puddles!
Licking is one of the best ways for Chihuahuas to groom themselves (and, yes, that means they might be licking their backend too).
As long as your Chihuahua isn’t licking themselves constantly, there’s a good chance they’re doing so to stay clean. There’s nothing wrong with letting them lick themselves in these cases.
8. They’re Bored
If you have a high-energy Chihuahua and no amount of exercise seems to calm them down, they might resort to licking their body. In contrast, if you’ve skipped one too many walks with your dog, it’s time to brave the cold, rain, or whatever was holding you back and take them for a walk.
Aside from ensuring your Chihuahua gets a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise per day, it’s also essential to provide your pet with toys to prevent them from licking their body out of boredom.
I love surprising my dogs by rotating the toys I give them. Whenever I pull a “new” toy off the shelf and tuck away their current toy, they get so excited as if I had just bought it from the store. Dog puzzles that use treats are another excellent way to prevent your Chihuahua from licking out of boredom.
9. They Have a Medical Condition
If you’re still wondering, “Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?” and none of the answers here seem to fit the bill, it could be because your Chihuahua has a medical condition.
Should your Chihuahua bite at their skin in addition to licking it, that could be a sign they have a flea, tick, or mange infestation.
A bacterial or fungal infection on their skin is another common reason why Chihuahuas lick themselves. Some might even be licking due to a hormonal imbalance or feeling pain.
So, if you suspect that a medical condition could be the reason for your Chihuahua’s sudden licking behavior, it’s best to take them to the vet.
How To Stop Your Chihuahua From Licking?
Assuming you’ve ruled out medical issues for why your Chihuahua is licking, taking time to train them using positive reinforcement techniques is an excellent solution.
Whenever your dog stops licking, reward them with a small treat or give them attention. They’ll soon associate not licking with more treats and praise.
Of course, you can’t expect your Chihuahua to ignore the tasty meat juice that trickled onto your kitchen floor. So, being proactive about removing lick-inducing items is essential.
The Bottom Line
Repetitive licking is typically a harmless behavior that Chihuahuas develop. Once you determine the root cause of their licking, you can address it accordingly.
Remember, if you have any doubts about your Chihuahua’s health, it’s always a good idea to take them to the vet.
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.