It’s essential to understand why your Yorkie continues licking so much. Whether they’re licking YOU, the air, themselves, or random objects, this article explains why.
Let’s get to it!
Reasons Behind Your Yorkie’s Constant Licking
There’s a plethora of reasons why your Yorkie may be licking excessively, including the taste of your skin, demonstrating affection, scent detection, moisture for the nose, reaction to stress, or underlying health complications.
Let’s delve into distinct sections based on your Yorkie’s licking target.
When Your Yorkie Licks YOU
This is the most common, and often the most troubling for pet owners. Licking of the face, fingers, or feet can create discomfort, particularly when you have visitors!
When your Yorkie attempts to lick you, it’s usually for one or more of three reasons:
- To display affection
- Seek your attention/theyre bored
- Taste your skin
We use our hands for various tasks, including food preparation, that can leave intriguing scents. Our feet’s natural smell can also be enticing to a Yorkie, leading to a few licks.
Moreover, licking can be a gesture of affection. While there’s no definitive proof that face-licking equates to a canine kiss, dogs are known to lick each other in the wild as an expression of care and love.
Your Yorkie’s morning kisses are possibly a good thing!
Related Read: Why Is My Yorkie So Attached To Me?
When Your Yorkie Licks The Air
Licking the air, while slightly unusual, is fairly commonplace. However, excessive air licking is a behavior that should be closely monitored.
If your Yorkie is persistently licking the air, it could mean one or more of the following:
- Voluntary nose moistening,
- Airway hydration,
- Presence of a foreign body in the throat,
- Due to stress
- Compulsive habit
Nose wetting can imply that your Yorkie is either dehydrated or attempting to catch a strong scent. Wet surfaces capture scent particles more effectively, thus, moistening the nose can amplify the ability to smell.
Hydrating the airways could suggest throat issues, stress, or other potential oral problems.
Licking the air could also be a reaction to having something lodged in the mouth. Although it might seem odd, dogs often respond this way when food gets stuck on their mouth’s roof or if their airways are partially blocked. If your Yorkie appears to be licking the air, inspect their mouth as promptly as possible.
Finally, air licking could initially stem from stress and anxiety and might evolve into an obsessive-compulsive disorder if it persists.
When Your Yorkie Licks Their Paws
Excessive paw licking often signals the need for further exploration.
Paw licking may indicate that your Yorkie is experiencing some discomfort in that area.
Conditions such as yeast infections, mange, bacterial accumulation, or minor wounds can provoke licking. It could also signal allergies, or the presence of stress and anxiety.
Hence, paw licking isn’t something to ignore without further investigation.
Your Yorkie might either have a localized irritation needing attention or be soothing themselves to cope with stress and anxiety.
If your Yorkie licks their paws sporadically, it’s likely not a cause for concern.
Paws being the first point of contact with the ground, can collect various scents throughout the day. However, when the licking becomes excessive, it may signal a more serious issue.
When Your Yorkie Licks Surfaces
Surface licking, though slightly odd, is a common behavior.
If there has been a recent food or drink spilage, this makes sense. But it’s when there hasn’t been that it could suggest something more unusual…
If your Yorkie persistently tries to lick surfaces like walls, floors, or carpets, it might suggest they have PICA.
This condition prompts dogs and other animals to crave non-food items, sometimes indicating their diet lacks certain nutrients.
Alternatively, it could be a symptom of a digestive problem or a gastrointestinal issue, although this is less frequent.
When Should You Consult a Veterinarian?
You might be questioning when it’s necessary to consult a veterinarian concerning your Yorkie’s licking habits.
There are specific instances when reaching out to your vet should be prioritized, while other situations might not warrant immediate concern. Let’s explore these scenarios.
➡️ Scenarios when a veterinarian consultation is necessary:
● When your Yorkie is persistently licking a particular part of their body.
● When your Yorkie has been engaging in excessive licking for an extended period.
● If your Yorkie is compulsively licking surfaces, walls, or floors.
● If there is no apparent explanation for the excessive licking.
➡️ Scenarios when a vet consultation may not be necessary:
● When your Yorkie occasionally licks something, without being excessive.
● When they lick you or others (this is typically a behavioral matter).
● When they lick randomly (could be trying to discern a strong scent).
● If you have a solid understanding of what’s prompting the licking.
● If, apart from the licking, your Yorkie appears to be in good health and spirits.
Nonetheless, there is never a wrong time to reach out to your vet for guidance. Even if it’s just for peace of mind, reaching out to your veterinarian is always a prudent course of action.
How To Stop Your Yorkie From Licking YOU Continuously
Let’s explore strategies to deter your Yorkie from persistently licking you or your guests!
As this is typically a behavioral issue rather than a medical one, there are numerous techniques you can implement immediately.
1. Disregard The Licking
While your guests might find it challenging to overlook this behavior, it’s a good starting point for you.
Even though licking often symbolizes affection, it’s also a means to seek attention. By responding to it (either positively or negatively), you inadvertently validate your Yorkie’s behavior.
At times, the most effective way to discourage unwanted behavior is to give it no acknowledgement at all. Once your Yorkie grasps that licking you doesn’t attract your attention, they’ll likely stop.
This strategy could be successful for some, while others might find it ineffective.
However, if your Yorkie licks you because they taste something on your skin, simply ignoring the behavior won’t be the solution.
2. Redirect The Licking
If overlooking the behavior isn’t working, redirection might be the next best strategy.
Redirection training is often used during the teething phase to guide a puppy towards items they’re permitted to chew…
The same concept can be applied here. If your Yorkie attempts to lick you, calmly replace the targeted body part with one of their toys. Once they focus on the toy, shower them with praises and rewards.
Since most licking originates from attention-seeking, your Yorkie will gradually learn that they receive more of your attention and approval when they interact with their toy, rather than when they lick you.
As highlighted earlier, any response you give to their licks might be all they need to justify doing it more. Attempt to give them a reason to prefer their toys over licking you, which can be as simple as showing them more attention.
3. Enhance Their Exercise (Physical and Mental)
Physical and mental exercises are vital for the overall health and behavior of all Yorkshire Terriers.
If your Yorkie is in good health and in their prime years, aiming for 2 hours of physical exercise per day is a decent starting point.
In addition, mental stimulation is equally, if not more important. By keeping your Yorkie’s mind adequately engaged, they’ll remain calm, relaxed, and content most of the time. This can significantly decrease their desire to constantly seek your attention…
Having interacted with numerous Yorkie owners over the years, it’s impressive how frequently exercise alone has ameliorated and “resolved” behavioral issues.
It’s crucial to understand that your Yorkie’s licking habits, while sometimes bewildering, are typically normal canine behaviors.
Licking can be a display of affection, a means to gather information through taste and smell, or even a method to seek attention. Occasionally, it might be a sign of underlying health issues or stress.
By observing your Yorkie’s patterns and contexts of licking, you can better discern their motivations.
This helps in managing the behavior, whether it’s by ignoring the licking, redirecting it, or ensuring your Yorkie has sufficient physical and mental stimulation.
However, remember that excessive or compulsive licking could signal potential health concerns and should not be overlooked. Consulting with a veterinarian in such cases is always a good decision.