The Surprising Reasons Why Dachshunds Lick So Much

Last Updated on April 1, 2024 by admin

Ever wondered why dachshunds have a penchant for licking everything in sight? This adorable breed’s excessive licking may seem peculiar, but there are actually several surprising reasons behind this behavior. From showing affection and seeking attention to exploring their surroundings and even as a self-soothing mechanism, dachshunds have their own unique motivations for their frequent lick-fests. Understanding these reasons can deepen our bond with these lovable dogs and enhance our appreciation for their delightful quirks. So, let’s uncover the fascinating secrets behind why dachshunds lick so much.

Oral Hygiene

Keeping Their Mouth Clean

Dachshunds, like many other dogs, have a natural instinct to keep their mouths clean. Licking is their way of maintaining good oral hygiene. As they lick their fur and skin, they inadvertently clean their mouth as well. This behavior helps remove food particles and bacteria, preventing potential dental issues such as plaque buildup and bad breath.

Removing Food Residue

It is not uncommon for dachshunds to get food residue stuck in their teeth or gums while eating. Licking their mouths and teeth helps to dislodge those stubborn bits of food that tend to get wedged in hard-to-reach areas. By licking, they efficiently remove these food particles, reducing the risk of dental problems and potential infections.

Maintaining Dental Health

Regular licking can improve a dachshund’s dental health. The act of licking stimulates saliva production, which plays a crucial role in maintaining the pH balance in their mouth and combating harmful bacteria. Additionally, the movement of their tongue against their teeth acts as a natural form of cleaning, removing debris that may lead to plaque buildup. Therefore, while excessive licking may be a concern, moderate licking can contribute positively to a dachshund’s overall dental hygiene.

Communication and Social Behavior

Expressing Affection

Licking is a common way for dachshunds to express their affection towards their owners and other pets. When a dachshund licks you, it is their way of showing love and bonding with you. They view licking as a sign of endearment and seek to establish a close connection with their human companions. So, if your dachshund licks you, consider it as their way of communicating their deep affection towards you.

Establishing Dominance

In some cases, excessive licking may be a sign of dominance. While dachshunds are generally friendly and loving, they may exhibit dominant behavior through licking. By licking another dog or even their human owner, they assert their dominance in the relationship. If you notice your dachshund excessively licking you or other pets, it may be important to set boundaries and establish yourself as the pack leader to maintain a healthy balance in your relationship.

Showing Submission

On the flip side, licking can also indicate submission in dachshunds. When they lick another dog’s face or expose their neck, it is a submissive gesture, signifying respect and deference. Similarly, your dachshund may lick you as a way of showing their submission and recognizing you as their superior. Understanding the context and accompanying body language can help determine whether the licking behavior is driven by submission or dominance.

Bonding with Owners and Other Pets

Licking is an essential part of the bonding process for dachshunds. It helps them build a strong connection with their owners and other pets in the household. Through this act, they release endorphins, which create feelings of pleasure and relaxation. When your dachshund licks you, they are not only showing affection but also forging a deeper bond and reinforcing the emotional connection they share with you.

Exploring Their Environment

Tasting and Smelling Their Surroundings

Dachshunds have a heightened sense of taste and smell, and licking is one way they explore and gather information about their environment. By licking objects and surfaces, they can gather taste and scent cues, providing them with valuable insights into their surroundings. While it may seem like a peculiar behavior, licking enables dachshunds to familiarize themselves with various scents and flavors, allowing them to navigate their environment more effectively.

Investigating Different Textures

Another reason why dachshunds lick is to explore and understand different textures in their environment. Their tongues are incredibly sensitive, and by licking surfaces, objects, or even people, they can gain a better understanding of the textures they encounter. This tactile investigation stimulates their senses and allows them to gather information about their surroundings, contributing to their overall sensory experience and mental stimulation.

Relieving Stress and Anxiety

Self-Soothing Behavior

When dachshunds experience stress or anxiety, licking acts as a self-soothing behavior. It provides them with a sense of comfort and relief by releasing endorphins, which can help alleviate their negative emotions. You may notice your dachshund engaging in excessive licking during stressful situations, such as thunderstorms or when they are left alone for extended periods. It is important to identify the underlying cause of their stress to address the excessive licking behavior effectively.

Coping with Separation Anxiety

Dachshunds are known to be loyal and attached to their owners. When faced with separation anxiety, they may resort to excessive licking as a coping mechanism. Licking helps them cope with the distressing feeling of being separated from their beloved humans. If your dachshund exhibits excessive licking when you leave the house or displays other symptoms of separation anxiety, it is crucial to implement strategies to help them feel more secure and reassured when you’re not around.

Reducing Stress Levels

Licking triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural mood-enhancers. Consequently, dachshunds may engage in licking to reduce their overall stress levels. Whether they are feeling anxious, bored, or restless, licking acts as a form of stress relief for them. However, it is important to monitor excessive licking, as it can lead to other issues such as skin irritations or digestive problems if not appropriately addressed.

Allergies and Skin Irritations

Licking to Relieve Itchiness

One of the main reasons why dachshunds lick excessively is due to allergies or skin irritations. Just like humans, dogs can experience allergies to various environmental factors, such as dust mites, pollen, or certain foods. When dachshunds have itchy or irritated skin, they instinctively lick the affected area to provide temporary relief. It is crucial to identify the underlying cause of their allergies and work with a veterinarian to develop a treatment plan to alleviate their discomfort and minimize excessive licking.

Soothing Skin Irritations

In addition to allergies, dachshunds may develop skin irritations such as hot spots or rashes. Licking these irritations is their way of soothing the discomfort and promoting healing. While their intentions may be well-intentioned, excessive licking can worsen the condition or cause secondary infections. Therefore, it is important to address any skin issues promptly and consult with a veterinarian for appropriate treatment options.

Boredom and Excess Energy

Boredom as a Cause for Excessive Licking

Dachshunds are active and intelligent dogs that thrive on mental and physical stimulation. When they feel bored or lack opportunities for play and exercise, they may resort to excessive licking as a means of occupying themselves. This behavior may serve as a self-entertainment strategy, attempting to fill the void of boredom. Providing your dachshund with adequate mental and physical stimulation can help combat excessive licking caused by boredom.

Channeling Excess Energy

In addition to boredom, excessive energy levels can also lead to excessive licking in dachshunds. If they have not engaged in enough physical exercise or mental enrichment, they may feel restless and resort to licking as a way to release their pent-up energy. Regular playtime, walks, and interactive toys can help channel their energy in a more productive manner, reducing the likelihood of excessive licking as an outlet for their excess energy.

Hunger and Food-Related Behavior

Licking in Anticipation of Food

Dachshunds are known for their love of food, and licking can be a sign of their eagerness and anticipation for mealtime. Whether it’s when preparing their food or during the moments leading up to being fed, they may express their excitement by licking their lips or salivating. This behavior is a natural part of their food-related behavior and signifies their enthusiasm for a delicious meal.

Food-Seeking Behavior

Licking can also be a food-seeking behavior in dachshunds. If they detect traces of food or lingering scents on surfaces or objects, they may lick in an attempt to find and consume any remnants. This behavior is instinctual and stems from their natural hunting and scavenging tendencies. While it may be an endearing behavior, it is important to ensure they are receiving a balanced diet and not consuming harmful or inappropriate substances.

Health Issues

Oral Health Problems

While licking can contribute to good oral hygiene, excessive licking can be a sign of underlying oral health problems in dachshunds. Gum disease, tooth decay, or mouth infections may cause discomfort, leading them to excessively lick their mouths as an attempt to alleviate the pain. Regular dental check-ups and maintaining good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing their teeth, can help prevent oral health issues and identify any problems early on.

Digestive Disorders

Dachshunds are prone to digestive disorders, such as pancreatitis or inflammatory bowel disease. Excessive licking can be a symptom or coping mechanism for these conditions. If your dachshund exhibits persistent excessive licking, along with other digestive symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Gastrointestinal Upset

Similar to digestive disorders, gastrointestinal upset can also cause dachshunds to engage in excessive licking. When they experience stomach discomfort, such as acid reflux or indigestion, licking may provide temporary relief. It is important to monitor their eating habits, feed them a balanced diet, and identify any potential triggers that may be causing their gastrointestinal upset.

Allergies or Sensitivities

Excessive licking can also be a sign of allergies or sensitivities in dachshunds. In addition to skin irritations, certain food or environmental allergies can trigger itching or discomfort that leads to excessive licking. Identifying the allergens or irritants through allergy testing or elimination diets can help manage the underlying cause and reduce excessive licking associated with allergies.

Attention and Affection Seeking

Desiring Attention from Owners

Dachshunds are social dogs and crave attention from their owners. Excessive licking can be a way for them to seek attention and interaction. When they engage in licking behavior, they are looking for a positive response from their owners, such as petting, praise, or playtime. By responding to their need for attention, you can strengthen your bond and fulfill their social needs, potentially reducing excessive licking behaviors.

Requesting Physical Contact

Licking can also be a way for dachshunds to request physical contact from their owners. They may gently lick your hands, face, or other areas as a way of expressing their desire for closeness and physical connection. Recognizing and responding to their cues for physical contact can help satisfy their need for affection and decrease excessive licking arising out of their longing for such contact.

Seeking Comfort and Reassurance

Dachshunds are sensitive beings and may use licking as a means to seek comfort and reassurance from their owners. In times of stress, anxiety, or when faced with new or unfamiliar situations, they may resort to excessive licking as a way to self-soothe and find solace. Providing a secure and comforting environment, along with positive reinforcement training techniques, can help alleviate their anxiety and reduce the need for excessive licking as a coping mechanism.

Instinctual Behaviors

Maternal Behavior

Even if not a mother themselves, female dachshunds may display maternal behavior towards other pets or even humans. Licking is a common maternal behavior, as it mimics the cleaning actions a mother dog would perform to care for her puppies. If your dachshund licks you excessively, it could be a manifestation of their maternal instincts, expressing their love and nurturing nature towards you.

Alleviating Itching or Irritation from Fleas or Ticks

When dachshunds encounter fleas or ticks, they can experience itching and irritation. Licking is their way of trying to alleviate this discomfort. By licking the affected areas, they may temporarily relieve the itch and attempt to remove any pests or irritants. Regular flea and tick prevention measures, along with appropriate treatment if infestations occur, are essential in preventing excessive licking connected to external parasites.

In conclusion, the reasons why dachshunds lick so much can vary based on different factors, including their instincts, emotions, and physical conditions. Understanding the underlying causes behind their licking behavior is crucial in order to determine whether it is normal or requires attention. By maintaining good oral hygiene, addressing stress or anxiety, providing proper stimulation, and addressing any health concerns, you can help ensure that your dachshund’s licking behavior remains within healthy boundaries. Remember, a dachshund’s affectionate licks are often a sign of their love and deep connection with you as their owner.