Why Do Chihuahuas Lick So Much?

Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?

Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?

As I write this, my Chihuahua Bella is licking my leg under the table where I work. I know that it is her way of showing love and affection and also to thank me for the meal she just had.

Don’t worry, it is just a few licks – nothing excessive or obsessive.

Chihuahuas, like most small dog breeds, are affectionate, loving dogs and they love to lick their humans from time to time. They also love licking themselves – especially their paws and their private parts.

In some cases though, the licking can become excessive and could signify a deeper underlying problem.

If you are wondering why your Chihuahua licks so much, then read on, I have vital information for you.

Why do Chihuahuas Lick so Much?

Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?

Chihuahuas tend to lick themselves for a variety of reasons. The following factors lead to excess self-licking in this small dog:

1. Self-grooming

I sometimes feel that my Bella is a cat – she indulges in so much self-grooming! Like cats, Chihuahuas love to lick themselves to remove dirt, keep their paws clean, and also remove odors, if any.

2. Allergies and skin issues

Chihuahuas tend to lick when they suffer from skin issues, yeast infection, or allergies .

Many Chihuahua owners wonder ‘why do Chihuahuas lick their paws so much?’ The answer could be that your pet has some infection, skin problem, or an allergy due to environmental, food, or other sources. If your pet is licking its paws all the time, a few dietary changes might help.

3. Hormones

When Bella comes in heat (she is unspayed), she indulges in constant licking of her genitals to stem the flow.

A female dog might also lick excessively due to fluctuating hormones or hormonal imbalance as well.

4. Internal and/or external parasites

Chihuahuas with worms in their tummy might also indulge in excess licking behavior.

Also, external parasites like ticks and fleas could cause allergic reaction that can lead to itchy skin. To alleviate the itching, your pet might lick affected areas of the skin.

5. Underlying health issue and pain

Sometimes, an adrenal gland issue or a health problem can trigger excess licking in Chihuahuas. Watch out for other signs and symptoms so you can consult your veterinarian for further evaluation.

Licking also may be a sign that that particular body part that your pet is licking is causing pain. Nausea and vomiting can also trigger bouts of licking in Chihuahuas.

Some Chihuahuas also lick to make up for nutritional deficiencies or when they are hungry or their diet does not satisfy them.

6. Boredom

Often, Chihuahuas and other small dogs that aren’t exercised enough could end up licking their paw pads to release pleasurable endorphins.

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Your dog needs an activity to do without which it is likely to use licking as a pastime.

7. Stress and anxiety

Another reason why do Chihuahuas lick so much could be that the dog is stressed or anxious about something.

Has there been a change in its life circumstances: perhaps you moved to a new place, or got another dog? Do you leave your Chi home alone for long periods when it hasn’t been trained to live alone before?

In such a case too, your pet might lick to soothe itself or calm its nerves.

8.  Dental or gum problems

If your aging Chihuahua suddenly starts losing its teeth, it might lick a lot to alleviate pain. Excess salivation or conversely, dry mouth, can also cause licking.

Dogs with periodontal disease could also lick themselves often.

Why Do Chihuahuas Lick their Humans So Much?

Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?

In addition to self-grooming, or licking their paws or privates, some Chihuahuas also lick their pet parents.

Often, Bella wakes up my husband by planting slobbery kisses on his face every morning. It is her way of saying ‘good morning’ or at least that is what we like to think!

Here are reasons why Chihuahuas love licking their humans:

1. To groom their pawrents

A Chihuahua often grooms itself by licking so there is reasons to believe that they like to groom their owners by licking them as well.

Chihuahuas are affectionate dogs and they love showing their affection by kissing and licking. Licking is also a way of ‘marking territory’ to show this human is mine!

2. To convey their love and affection

Many Chihuahuas lick the kids in the house since that is their way of showing them love and affection.

These small dogs have big hearts and they like to give love to everyone around them. Just as a mother dog licks her puppies with affection, a Chi might lick its ‘human siblings’.

3. When they want to taste your skin

Often Chihuahuas lick their owners when their skin is sweaty. They might like the salty taste of sweat, particularly after you work out.

All dogs have an organ called the Jacobson’s organ that allows them to smell and taste at the same time. That is why licking helps them get a sense of all flavors present on the surface they lick.

This is often the reason why many Chihuahuas lick their pet parents to taste the food or flavors of food left behind on their skin.

4. Oral problems

Chihuahuas with gum issues, periodontal disease, or dental problems might lick human skin as a way of alleviating pain. Licking might help reduce the salivation or drooling when a dog has gum trouble or loose or missing teeth.

5. For attention

Licking you excessively also may be a gesture to show that your Chihuahua needs extra TLC when it isn’t feeling too well. It may be a cry for help or simply wanting or needing attention.

What are the Dangers of Chihuahuas Excess Self-Licking?

All dogs lick themselves but it could become a cause for concern when it becomes excessive or obsessive.

Here are the dangers of excess self-licking in Chihuahuas:

A. Loss of fur and lick granuloma

Chihuahuas that indulge in a lot of self-licking are at risk of losing hair in patches in the areas it licks or worse, develop lick granuloma. You might start seeing the skin underneath it which could reveal hot spots, blisters, lesions, redness, and other signs of inflammation.

B. Skin infections

Excess licking can also transmit germs to cuts or blisters present on the skin. Without intervention, your pet is at a risk of developing secondary skin infections, pus-filled blisters, or other complications that could require antibiotics.

C. Urinary infections

Female Chihuahua that indulges in excess licking of the private area could inadvertently transmit germs from the anal glands to the vulva. This could lead to urinary tract infections which require antibiotics for treating.

D. Stomach problems

Often, Chihuahuas that lick their paws tend to make them wet with their saliva. Dirt, grass, and debris can easily stick to the wet paws. When your Chihuahua again licks the paws, this dirt and microbes can enter its digestive tract.

This could lead to gastro intestinal issues, intestinal parasites, etc. Symptoms of these include diarrhea, vomiting, lack of appetite, and so on.

E. Develop compulsive disorder

Licking can also become a compulsive behavior in that, a Chi that gets so habituated to ‘bathing’ itself might become irritable, angry, or even aggressive when you forbid it from licking.

What are the Dangers of Chihuahuas Licking Humans?

Do Chihuahuas like to be kissed?

When your Chihuahua licks you, you might like it although there are some pet parents that forbid it from the start

The fact is that even vets recommend not to let your dogs lick you. Here are the dangers of Chihuahuas licking humans:

1. Transmission of germs

Your dog’s licks on your face could transfer germs from its private parts to your mouth and nose.

This could give rise to many health issues, especially in people or kids with weak immune systems.

I must mention here, the case of the Wisconsin man who allowed his dog to lick his eyes, nose, face, etc. He, unfortunately, developed a Capnocytophaga infection that ultimately resulted in the loss of his limbs via amputation.

Note that this is an extreme case and the chances of this happening are very rare.

2.  Could lead to behavioral issues

If you continue to allow your Chi to lick your feet or hands and it becomes a habit, it could lead to behavioral issues. You certainly want to avoid those.

How to Stop Your Chihuahua from Licking itself Excessively?

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Here are some steps to curb excess self-licking in your fur baby:

1. Treat allergies

Allergies can come from any number of sources: the shampoo you use, the dog food your pet eats, and even fleas, grasses, mold, etc.

Speak to your vet to change your dog’s food. You can also add omega essential fatty acid supplements to treat dry skin.

2. Alleviate boredom, stress, and separation anxiety

Treat your dog’s boredom by taking it out on 2-3 walks each day. This will help expend that pent-up energy and make it too tired to indulge in licking.

Make sure your pet gets a lot of attention and love from you and keep your pet by your side when you are home. You can also train your Chihuahua to chew on dental chews or bones instead of licking or chewing.

3. Discourage your dog’s behavior

To stop compulsive paw licking, you could use bitter sprays. Alternatively, use a cone or collar around your pet’s head to stop licking of private parts.

4. Use medicines

Your vet can prescribe medication to treat underlying health issues. These include anti-histamines or antibiotics. In extreme cases, your vet can also recommend steroids.

Anti-itch creams or sprays can also deter licking.

5. Eliminate parasites

If your Chihuahua has fleas or ticks, get rid of them using spot treatments, collars, or sprays. You must also eliminate these parasites from your pet’s bed by washing them regularly.

Also de-worm your Chi to get rid of hookworms and other internal parasites.

How to Stop Your Chihuahua from Licking its Humans Obsessively?

If your Chi’s licking you/your family members is getting out of hand, try the following solutions:

1. Ignore it

Ignoring the behavior is often the best way to stop excess licking. You can also reward your pet to show positive reinforcement – your Chi will understand that it gets treated if it does not lick.

2. Take a bath

This will eliminate the taste/scent of sweat or food which is causing your pet to lick you. You can also switch to another perfume or scent which your Chi finds less appealing.

3. Distract your furry friend

Place a toy in its mouth when it starts licking you. This will reinforce what is and isn’t OK to lick.

4. Exercise your pet

Take your Chi for a walk. Once it is tired, it will not have the energy left for obsessive licking.

FAQs on Why do Chihuahuas Lick So Much?

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1. Why is my Chihuahua licking the furniture?

Chihuahuas licking furniture is often a sign of anxiety, stress, or boredom. It could even be due to an underlying health issue. Please see a vet to treat excess furniture licking.

2. How do I stop my Chihuahua from licking the couch?

Use a bitter spray like this one to deter chewing of furniture or licking of the couch in your Chihuahua.

Bodhi Dog New Bitter 2 in 1 No Chew & Hot Spot Spray | All Natural Anti-Chew Remedy | Safe for Skin, Wounds, Anything Else | Made in USA (8oz)

 You can also place cotton balls soaked in bitter spray in areas where your Chihuahua licks. This is a safe and harmless way of preventing excess licking in puppies and adult Chihuahuas.

3. Why is my dog licking the pillows and bed?

Chihuahuas often lick our pillows and beds because of the sweaty and salty taste we leave on them. When we sleep, we discard a lot of dead skin cells and your Chihuahua is probably licking those. Washing your bed linen frequently can curb this behavior.


Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?

Chihuahuas often lick themselves and their owners for a variety of reasons. They mostly lick their humans to show love and affection but also out of boredom or stress.

Excess self-licking could stem from allergies, health problems, or boredom and anxiety.

We hope this guide helps you put a stop to this Chi behavior.

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