A dog’s tongue carries far fewer taste buds than those found on a human’s tongue but more than a cat’s tongue. It uses its tongue for drinking water, grooming, and tasting food, and it also affects the sound of its bark.
It’s pretty natural for a dog to lick its body, its food, and even you when it greets you. But what about furniture pieces?
As a dog parent, if you’ve been asking yourself, “why does my dog lick the couch?” you’re in luck.
In this article, we’ll answer this question and help you teach your pooch to stop this annoying behavior.
Why Does My Dog Lick the Couch?
Your dog naturally likes to lick stuff. Licking is a way of exploring its surrounding environment, just like we touch things.
But if it suddenly starts licking your couch excessively, you might be quite frustrated for several reasons.
First, licking the couch makes it sticky, and this isn’t the impression you want your guests to have when they visit your house.
Second, furniture is expensive, and constant licking can damage the fabric, change its color, or leave stubborn saliva stains.
Finally, the constant licking might be a sign that your pooch is suffering from a medical issue that requires immediate attention.
So, you need to determine the reason why your dog is doing this. Several medical and behavioral reasons might trigger your dog to lick the couch.
1 – Cleaning it Off
You might be the real culprit here if you usually eat on the couch.
In this case, your dog might be simply licking the couch to eat food spills.
When you sit to snack and eat on the couch, you might accidentally leave splashes of sauce, crumbs, and even tiny pieces of leftovers that you overlooked. Your dog will notice them, and the smell will attract it.
Your dog might also be licking your smell off the couch. Dogs have very sensitive noses, and after sitting on the couch for long hours, your body’s odor will get transferred to the fabric.
Your pooch will try to lick your sweat’s odor and taste off the couch.
2 – Likes the Taste
The dog might simply like the taste of the couch.
Couches can be made of microfiber, silk, velvet, suede, leather, or any other material. So, if your dog tried licking the material once and it liked the taste, it won’t stop unless you intervene.
Some types of fabric, like suede, can have a soothing effect. Leather, on the other hand, might be cooling and refreshing.
3 – Boredom
Boredom, lack of exercise, and spending a lot of time alone are all reasons that can drive your dog to act in an annoying way.
If the dog is bored or anxious, it will start to lick different surfaces, including the couch, to release any excess energy.
4 – Illness
Your dog might be licking the couch excessively because it’s not feeling well.
Dogs can’t speak, but they’ll try to communicate with us when something is wrong. Your pooch might be trying to tell you that there’s something wrong with it and that it needs help.
In most cases, dogs will start to lick the couch if there’s a wound on the tongue or they’re suffering from toothache. However, in some cases, diseases in the pituitary gland can cause the dog to lick different objects, including furniture pieces.
5 – Bad Habit
Again, in this case, you might be the culprit.
A lot of times, dog owners will blame their dogs for different types of behavioral patterns, forgetting that they didn’t teach them. If your dog is acting in an annoying way, it might not know any better.
Your dog might be licking the couch all the time because it licked it once, and it liked how it felt. But, at the same time, you weren’t around to teach it that this is wrong.
Housebreaking your dog is essential, no matter how old it is. So, if you don’t spend enough time and effort teaching your dog good behavior, you should expect it to do all sorts of wrong things.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Licking the Couch?
After determining why your dog is licking the couch, you should be able to come up with a solution to treat this problem.
What you shouldn’t do is punish your dog or act aggressively around it. You shouldn’t yell at your dog or threaten it because this will make it too scared.
As a dog parent, you have to be patient and understand the root of the problem. You should also determine if this is a new or old behavior that you’ve missed or ignored for too long until it became unbearable.
In most cases, scolding and punishing your dog leads to the opposite result. Your dog will feel more threatened and anxious around you, so it won’t stop acting out by licking the couch or engaging in any annoying behavior.
Keep an eye on your dog, and take notes of any change in its behavior. After that, you should follow the next steps to make sure that it doesn’t lick your furniture excessively.
Take it to the Vet
In very rare cases, licking the couch and acting out can be a sign that there’s something physically wrong with your dog.
Dogs can’t communicate verbally, so they’ll try to attract your attention to them when there’s something wrong. Since some medical conditions can push your dog to lick furniture pieces, the vet will run several tests to rule out any medical reasons.
Your vet will treat any mouth ulcers, wounds, or tooth problems that your dog might be suffering from. It will also check and scan the dog’s body for any tumors or infections that might be affecting its behavior.
Once you’re sure that your dog is healthy, you know that you have a behavioral problem that you should work on.
Clean the Couch
Clean the couch using a suitable cleaner to remove all body and food odors. For example, if you tend to eat your dinner on the couch while watching TV, make sure that you wipe it off properly after you’re done.
Remove any food stains or splashes as they might stain the couch, and also attract your dog’s attention. Use the vacuum cleaner to remove any crumbs or leftovers, and use a suitable cleaning solution to keep the material in top condition.
An upholstery shampoo will also remove sweat and other body odors from the couch, so your dog won’t be attracted to it. You can also use a furniture deodorizer to keep the couch smelling fresh.
Deal with Boredom and Anxiety
If your dog is licking the couch because it has got nothing else to do, you need to address this problem.
Telling the dog that it’s wrong to lick the couch without giving it any other alternative will make it confused.
Your dog needs to spend time playing and exercising, and this physical stimulation is essential for its physical and mental health. So, after returning home from work or getting done with house chores, it’s crucial to spend time playing with your pooch.
Taking the dog for daily walks will help release its energy, so it will be less bored and anxious when you’re not around. This also will soothe your dog, so it doesn’t feel that it has to attract your attention.
If you’re worried about the dog licking the couch when you’re not around, you can give it a new toy that it can lick and bite on instead.
Use Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is the only potent way of teaching your dog good behavior and drawing its attention to bad behavior. So instead of punishing your pooch for doing something wrong, you should reward it whenever it does something right.
The idea is to teach your dog what is acceptable and what is not. Positive reinforcement and continuous training take time, but they definitely pay off.
You should be around when your dog licks the couch and show discontent or simply stop interacting with it. If it stops, you should praise it and give it a treat as a reward.
By repeating this several times, the dog will begin to distinguish between good and destructive behaviors and understand that good behavior leads to receiving treats while bad behavior doesn’t.
You can use positive reinforcement to teach your dog to stop any bad behavior that annoys you or might harm it. Eventually, this will be how your dog naturally acts.
Changing the taste of the couch might encourage your dog to stop licking it. However, for this method, you need to buy a reliable bitter-tasting spray and use it wherever the dog likes to lick.
The idea isn’t to harm your dog but to simply change the material’s taste, so it can be less appealing to your pooch. This is why you need to ensure that the spray is made of natural ingredients and that it’s not harmful to dogs.
You should check the product and make sure that it won’t stain your couch. You must also make sure that your dog isn’t allergic to any of the ingredients.
Using chili flakes and other irritating substances is dangerous. Although these are natural substances, spicy food like chili flakes can harm your dog excessively.
Chili flakes can burn the delicate lining of your dog’s mouth or its nose and make it extremely uncomfortable. When ingested, it can also lead to stomach pain and digestive problems.
How to Remove Dog Saliva Stains from the Couch?
In addition to being an annoying behavior, licking the couch can leave saliva stain marks on the fabric. With time, these stains will look nasty and leave your couch smelling bad.
Luckily, there are several cleaning techniques that can help you get rid of the saliva stains on your couch. However, you should always test them on a hidden spot to make sure that they won’t affect the material’s color.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
This cleaning solution will remove the stains and kill any bacteria, making your couch smell fresh and clean. Nevertheless, you should make sure that you’re using cold water and not hot water, which will cook the proteins in the stain and make it set.
Before opting to clean your couch with water, make sure that the fabric is water-safe. You might accidentally cause the colors to bleed and eventually ruin your couch forever.
Mix one tablespoon of vinegar with a tablespoon of dish soap, and then gradually add a tablespoon of baking soda so it doesn’t fizz much. After that, add this mixture to a spray bottle and top it off with one cup of cold water.
Spray this solution where the stain is, let it sit for about 15 minutes, and then rinse it with a clean wet cloth. Make sure that the cloth is white so the color doesn’t bleed on the couch’s fabric.
Use another dry cloth to blot any moisture and let the couch completely dry.
If your couch is made of velvet, use lemon juice instead of vinegar.
Rubbing alcohol will work if your couch’s fabric isn’t water-safe. All you have to do is spray some rubbing alcohol on top of the stain and then let it sit for a while.
Use a clean cloth to wipe out any excess, but blot the moisture rather than rub it. If you feel that the fabric feels different, use a soft toothbrush to fluff it.
Leather and suede can be challenging to clean, and this is why you need to make sure that you’re buying a reliable and suitable cleaner.
Other cleaning solutions might ruin your couch, so it’s a good idea to invest in a special furniture cleaner that won’t damage the material.
You can also hire a professional cleaning service to get rid of the stain without damaging the couch’s surface.
Although dogs naturally like to lick stuff, licking a couch’s surface excessively can be a sign that there’s something wrong.
In some cases, your dog might start to lick the couch because it’s sick. On the other hand, it might be bored, anxious, or simply interested in how it tastes.
You need to keep an eye on your dog to determine the real reason why it’s acting the way it does and then think of a proper solution to deal with the problem.
I have two Associate’s degrees, one in Medical Assisting and the other in Computer Technician, and I am roughly five classes from a bachelor’s degree. Though I never ended up working in the medical field, I have five and a half years of experience in IT. I recently became a stay-at-home mom to my two young boys, and I’m so excited to start this adventure with them! In my spare time, I love to bake and read pretty much anything I can get my hands on.