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Why do dachshunds lick so much?

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Why do dachshunds lick so much?
Dachshunds deserve an award for their expert smooching skills. The breed seems to have very active tongues, and they’re 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 say when they’re covering you (or the sofa) in kisses? Here are the most common reasons why dachshunds are licking.

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!

When your dachshund gets stressed, they lick — sort of like humans who 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, and some long walks would 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 your doxie is licking more because of a health issue, they’ll lick a particular spot on their body repeatedly. 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. 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!

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