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7 Reasons Poodles Lick So Much: (And How To Stop It)

Most owners don’t approve of their poodles licking them, but even if you do, it helps to know exactly why they engage in this behavior and what it means.

In some instances, licking can be a sign of something worse. This article covers everything owners should know.

All will be explained clearly below…


7 Reasons Why Your Poodle Licks You So Much

As explained above there can be a wide range of reasons as to why your Poodle tries licking so much.

Fortunately, most dog-licking behaviors (especially when it’s to you) can be explained through behavioral reasons.

1. Salty skin

Our skin is naturally salty and for your Poodle this can be rather tasty. This is especially the case in the mornings after having sweat through the night.

2. Bored / Anxious

Excessive licking is also classified as pacifying behavior and has the ability to calm her nerves. If she’s anxious, she may come to you for a licking session.

3. Showing Affection

Dogs unfortunately can’t communicate using our language, so they do it in other ways. Licking can be seen as a sign of affection and is frequently seen among packs of dogs in the wild.

Although research up until now has not proven that a dog’s lick is their version of a kiss. Sorry!

4. She’s Grooming You

Similar to showing affection, dogs often help out with grooming each other. Licking your arms, hands, and feet could be interpreted as your poodle trying to help keep you clean.

5. It Makes Her Feel Good

According to Animal Planet, when dogs lick us, their brain releases endorphins that both relieve stress and make them feel good.

6. It’s a Habit

There’s a chance that there is no logical reason other than it’s one of her habits. What once started as a curious lick, slowly turned into a habit.

7. Stress

If your poodle is stressed, she’ll likely resort to licking her paws excessively. Paw licking is a pacifying action and is commonly done by dogs with high-stress levels.

Things that may cause your poodle stress include:

  • Being left alone too long
  • Insufficient exercise
  • Insufficient stimulation
  • Insufficient attention
  • Environmental changes
  • New neighbors
  • Outside noises
  • Moving homes
  • Changing of routines
  • Loss of another pet or family member
  • Someone else in the home is stressed

This is original content produced and published by The Puppy Mag |

Trending Article: 15 Fruits That Poodles Can Safely Eat (and ones they can’t!)

Stop Your Poodle From Licking You In 5 Steps

Let’s get into the ways that you can teach your Poodle that licking is not the behavior you like or want from her.

1. Ignore the behavior

The first step is to ignore the behavior. Most of the time, your poodle will be seeking your attention and she can interpret your response in many different ways.

When you react, she will deem this as receiving your attention, and to her, that’s a good thing.

2. Say no and pull away from her licking. You can also walk away.

Sometimes ignoring her will not work. So it’s time to tell your Poodle that you don’t like this behavior.

In a clear strong tone of voice say “No!” and pull away from her licks. If she stops, that’s excellent, and it means this will be a sufficient enough lesson for her.

Although consistency is a must!

3. Redirect her licks. Give her a toy

The next thing to try is replacing your arm, hand, foot, or face with a toy. Try a puzzle toy that you can insert treats into for the ultimate distraction.

To make this more of a lesson, before you give the toy, give her a stern “No!” while she’s licking you.

Give her the toy, and once her attention is with the toy, praise her. Slowly but surely this will teach her that she should be licking or biting her toy, and not you.

4. Use bitter spray

If you’re not familiar with bitter spray, you can check it out here. You can get non-toxic, completely safe bitter sprays that taste foul to dogs.

You can spray a little on your skin where she usually tries to lick you and this will immediately discourage her.

5. Stay on top of her exercise

Licking can be caused by boredom, or by having pent-up energy in the first place. Poodles can be very hyper and are known for having rushes of energy.

If your Poodle is in her prime (2-7 years) she will be capable of receiving 1-2 hours of exercise per day. And this excludes playtime that you should be giving her throughout the day.

Related Poodle Article on The Puppy Mag: Can Poodles Be Left Alone?

When Licking Is a Sign Of Something Worse

Sometimes, excessive licking can be a sign that something isn’t quite right.

When this is the case, your Poodle will typically lick themselves rather than you.

  • The No.1 spot where your Poodle will excessively lick is her paws.

Excessive licking could be caused by anxiety, allergies, gastric reflux, dry skin, or an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

If your Poodle won’t leave a certain part of her body alone, it may indicate there is an issue specifically in that area, which you can visually inspect yourself.

Fortunately, excessive licking is easily spotted, allowing you to take action sooner rather than later and schedule an appointment with your veterinarian.

Recommended Read: Do Poodles Always Have Curly Hair?

Why Do Poodles Lick The Air?

This is a little different from what’s previously been discussed. So let’s find out… why does your Poodle lick the air!?

Thankfully, the occasional air-lick is nothing to be worried about and is fairly normal behavior.

However, if you notice your Poodle either licking the air frantically or for long periods of the day it could be a sign of one of the following:

Something is stuck in her mouth or throat
Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Partial seizure
Acid reflux issues

Before worrying too much, simply call your veterinarian for advice over the phone if your Poodle excessively licks the air. Your veterinarian will ask you a few questions and will more than likely book an appointment for you.

Final Thoughts

Whether you don’t mind the lick or you hate it, it’s good to know why it’s happening and whether or you should be calling the vet.

When the licking is directed to you, it can usually be explained with behavioral reasons. But when excessive licking seems to be up in the air or directed onto herself, it could mean there’s something wrong.

Remember, If you are ever unsure, always consult a trained veterinarian.

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Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.