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Why do dachshunds lick so much?

Why do dachshunds lick so much?

If you have a dachshund, we're willing to bet they've already covered you in kisses today. Dachshunds deserve an award for their expert smooching skills, and every owner knows that there's nothing better than getting some love. Dachshunds are known to lick everything from their humans’ skin to furniture, floors, and walls. And while we know that doxies love food, their frequent licking isn’t always about searching for remnants of snacks and treats.

Instead, since dachshunds can’t speak the same language as their humans (we’ll keep waiting for that day!), they often use licking as a form of communication. So what is your dachshund trying to tell you when they’re licking you (or the sofa...)? Here are the most common reasons why dachshunds are lick so much.

I ruff you!

Doxies’ loyalty to their owners is one of the most lovable things about the breed, so it makes sense that they’d want to show you just how much they love you by covering you in kisses! Historically, dachshunds also use licking as a sign of submission to their pack leader. While this used to be another dachshund, they now show their respect for their human-in-charge with a little licking love. And while the breed’s love for their human parents is completely reasonable, some of those constant kisses may also be a result of the delicious taste of salty skin or a fragrant lotion.

Trying to chill out a little bit, here!

Dachshunds also lick when they get stressed — sort of like how some humans bite their nails. They may be nervous about something, and licking is a way to get your attention (especially if you usually react to their licking). If your doxie hasn’t been getting a ton of exercise lately, it’s also entirely possible that they have some pent up energy that they need to expend. Some long walks might do them some good. When dachshunds’ licking doesn’t feel like it’s intended as affection, anxiety is the next most likely cause.

Vet, please!

Sometimes your dachshund’s licking is trying to tell you something a little more serious. Usually, if a dachshund is licking a particular spot on their body repeatedly it's likely to be a health issue. It could be skin irritation, an injury, or joint pain, so you’ll want to do a little investigating to try to determine what’s going on. If your pup is licking one patch of their fur, pull back the fur to get a better look at their skin below — you may find raw or red skin if they’re experiencing irritation, or they may be trying to get at ticks or fleas that have made themselves at home. Licking an injury would look similar to licking because of skin irritation, so when you part their fur, you also want to keep an eye out for scrapes or something sharp that’s gotten lodged.

If your dachshund’s licking is focused on one of their legs, they may be trying to tell you that their joints are in a fair amount of pain. And, if they're licking their paws it could be a sign of irritation from extreme cold or heat. (We like this paw protection balm, which works almost like a chapstick for their paws from both extremes.)

While they think that they’re soothing the pain, they could actually be doing harm in the long term, so a trip to your vet wouldn’t be a bad idea. And if your doxie is licking the floor, wall, or furniture excessively, it could be a sign of nausea. Though it doesn’t sound very enticing to us humans, the licking can actually help calm their tummy.

Ok, that’s enough…

While it’s important to understand what’s causing your dachshund to go on a licking spree, it’s also very possible that you want your pup to tone it down a bit. If they’re going overboard with the kisses, there are a few things you can do to redirect their tongues. One easy solution is to give them something else to chew on, like a chew toy or a treat-filled toy. You can also work on training them to understand that too many kisses aren’t welcome by turning around or leaving the room and avoiding rewarding them when they’re going to town on your cheek. Instead, teach them the command “kiss” so that they can still show you affection in more manageable doses. You also may want to switch up the lotion you’re using if that seems to be what sparked their attention, or use a bitter spray on the furniture that they won’t stop licking.

Enthusiastic kisses from your pup are to be expected, to a certain degree, but if they’re licking non-stop, it may be worth investigating what’s at the root of their excessive behavior. One day we’ll be able to communicate with our dachshunds, but until then, interpreting the meaning of their licking is a good skill to master!

Products Referenced

Paw Protection Balm
Your pup deserves the ultimate paw-tection from the elements. Without the hassle of booties (not a doxie fave!), you can safely protect sweet dachshund paws from snow, ice, cold, and extreme heat. Developed originally for sledding dogs, Musher’s is extra hearty and one application lasts a few days.

Paw protection balmWood Chew
For teething pups and chew-happy doxies, a great chew toy is a must-have. These all-natural wood chews are top of the line--durable, long-lasting, safe, satisfying, and with a knobby shape for an easy grip. Plus, they’re sustainably harvested, made from (non-splintering) java wood. Chew-pendous!
Wood chew dachshundThe Odin
Beat boredom with this innovative treat-dispensing toy. Made from a soft, durable material, the Odin is quiet, won’t scratch up your floors, and is more than capable of holding its own against extreme chewers. The modular design allows for maximum variety: stick with one, connect two together, use kibble for an easy win, try larger treats to keep your food-obsessed dachshund distracted for hours...whatever works!

Anti-Chew Bitter Spray
Remember: chew-happy puppies aren’t giving you a hard time, they’re having a hard time. Thankfully, this useful spray — which is both alcohol-free and non-staining — can help you navigate their mouthy moods. Just spritz it on the latest target of your pup’s teething (cords, furniture, baseboards), and the bitter taste should help them learn what’s off-limits. But keep an eye on them, too...after all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
No chew bitter spray for dachshunds


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