Why Does My Dog Lick the Couch?

by | Dec 4, 2022 | Behavior

Dogs lick all sorts of things, but one of their favorite places to go after is the couch. Although this is common for many dogs and puppies, it can be frustrating due to the numerous reasons that could be the cause. Furthermore, as couches aren’t the cheapest pieces of furniture in the world, they can be very costly as well! Below you will find a potential reason why your dog licks the couch. Every pet is different, so if you are unsure, it is best to consult your veterinarian.

Habitual Licking

Whether you have a dog who likes to lick your face, paws, or the couch, you may wonder why your pooch is doing so. Some dogs just love to lick and, over time, it can become a habit. It’s a common behavior that may seem harmless, but it can also be a sign of a medical condition.

The act of licking has its origins in food-seeking behavior, but today dogs lick to seek affection, attention, and a sense of belonging. In the wild, licking can be a calming behavior and has been associated with oxytocin, a hormone released in response to sensory stimulation. The hormone decreases the cascade of stress response mechanisms and promotes the release of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that are essential for feeling good.

Some dogs with digestive issues such as pancreatitis, liver disease, ulcers or intestinal parasites may lick excessively to alleviate their symptoms. If your dog is licking, consult with your veterinarian. He or she will be able to rule out metabolic and hidden medical causes for the behavior.

Separation Anxiety

Dogs lick the couch due to separation anxiety when their owners leave them home alone for too long without any companionship. If this applies to your dog, try creating a particular area for them in your home with a comfortable bed, toys, and other items that remind your dog of you. When you leave work, spend time playing with your furry companion before leaving him again.

Excess Energy

Dogs who are not exercised will lick the couch out of boredom. They need daily walks and exercise. Exercising your dog just before he sleeps will help you remember to take him out first thing in the morning.


Keeping a dog on the couch for a long period of time can cause them to lick the furniture. This behavior can be a sign of anxiety or boredom. While you’re away at work, boredom can lead a dog to destruction in your home, as he has nothing else to do but show his boredom. Buy a chew toy or two and spend quality time with your furry companion before leaving him alone. Getting rid of the licking may require a visit to your vet if increased stimulation does not work. Your vet can suggest other remedies such as medications or therapy.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a neurological disorder that involves obsessive thoughts, intrusive images, and physical sensations. It affects between 1 and 3 percent of the population. For some people, it can be very debilitating. Obsessive-compulsive canine behaviors are closely related to human OCD. If your dog has OCD, it can be a good idea to keep him or her in a structured environment. In addition, keep him or her out of cages. Cages limit your dog’s interaction with other dogs and people. If your dog is in a cage, it is more likely to develop anxiety and lead to licking the couch.

New Household Member

If your dog has met a new roommate, roommate’s child, or roommate’s parent, the licking may be due to abandonment issues. Try giving your furry companion more attention and affection and playing extra time with him when you have a newly introduced family member at home.

Displaying Dominance

Dogs lick couches to show dominance or because they are irritated with a family member. Their anger is usually directed at you, the person who feeds them or tends to their needs. To avoid this problem, make sure your dog knows who’s in charge when you are home and try giving him a special treat for being calm or having behaved (to show you he is not upset).

Dog’s Diet and Food Intake

Excess carbohydrates from pet food can cause your pup to go into a sugar/carbohydrate frenzy and feel the need to lick things. Try switching out his food supply with grain-free food that is low in carbohydrates.

Couch Smells Like You

Does your dog like to lick your hand or face for attention? If so, they may be licking the couch because it smells like you! Compared to a dog, a human’s sense of smell is almost nonexistent. Although we may not notice it, our scent can be very strong in places that we frequent, like a couch. If you think your dog may be licking the couch because of your scent, try some simple deodorizers or shampoo the couch to determine if this is the reason for the licking. Alternatively, a mixture of lemon essential oil and vinegar will do a good job of keeping your dog from licking (but you may not like it either).