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Why Does My Dog Lick The Sheets? – How to Make It Stop

If you have a dog, you may have noticed that they sometimes lick the sheets on your bed or couch. Why do they do this? Is it a sign of affection, boredom, anxiety, or something else?

In this article, we will explore some of the possible reasons “why does my dog lick the sheets” and what you can do to prevent or reduce this behavior.

why does my dog lick the sheets? – Common Triggers

The most frequent motivations for canine sheet chewing include:

Self-soothing – Licking provides calming sensory stimulation for anxious or stressed dogs. The sheets muffle the licking sounds.

Attention-seeking – Chewing fabrics make noise, drawing owners’ reactions. Even scolding is rewarding.

Displacement behavior – Substituting sheets for desired play or cuddle contact.

Boredom – Inadequate physical and mental exercise leads to destructive chewing habits.

Medical causes – Allergies, pain, nausea, or other issues cause strong licking urges.

Scent comfort – Your scent on sheets provides a feeling of familiarity and security.

Texture appeal – Soft, silky bedding textures satisfy oral exploration drives.

Play – Pups especially will joyfully mouth, tug and shake sheets during zoomie bursts.

So in most cases, sheet licking stems from a combination of behavioral motivations and instinctive canine drives. Now let’s review tactics to curb excessive fabric chewing.

How to Stop Your Dog From Licking Sheets

More exercise – Ensure your dog gets sufficient physical and mental stimulation daily to prevent boredom.

Remove access – Close bedroom doors or use baby gates to restrict access to unsupervised sheet chewing.

Apply deterrent spray – Use bitter anti-chew sprays on sheets to make them unappealing.

Rule out medical causes – Have your vet examine for any illness or pain contributing to obsessive licking urges.

Provide alternative chews – Redirect chewing drive onto more appropriate items like stuffed Kongs.

Crate train – Confine at bedtime in a crate with only safe chew toys, not bedding.

Ignore attention-seeking – Don’t react or scold sheet chewing to remove the reward of your attention.

Anxiety management – For stress/separation anxiety lickers, try calming supplements, pheromones, and training.

With patience and consistency, most sheet-licking improves by addressing the underlying motivations. Now let’s go over some key identification points on normal vs. problematic chewing.

When Is Sheet Chewing Problematic?

While occasional sheet nibbling is normal, consider it problematic if:

  • Happens multiple times per day
  • Lasts over 5-10 minutes
  • The dog seems unable to stop despite cues
  • Leads to destruction/consumption
  • Related to new anxiety/stress
  • Accompanied by other obsessive behaviors
  • Triggers fight with other pets

Consult your veterinarian and trainer at the first signs of obsessive sheet-focused licking to prevent escalation. Medication may be warranted alongside training for anxiety-related cases.

Why Do Some Dogs Only Lick the Sheets in One Specific Spot?

Licking one particular area can indicate:

Scent comfort – Dogs focus on areas strongly smelling of owners, for security.

Allergy trigger – Saliva staining concentrated where the dog is reacting to laundry detergent or fabric chemicals.

Habit – Dogs naturally return compulsively to spots they’ve licked before.

To discourage, extra rinse and double dry sheets to remove residual irritants. Switch to gentler hypoallergenic scented detergents. And limit access so they can’t establish a habitual licking spot.

Why Does My Dog Lick the Sheets After I Make the Bed?

Dogs often lick bedding right after owners finish neatly making the bed because:

  • Your scent is strongest having just handled the sheets
  • The visual stimulation of smoothed linens triggers their instinct

Rather than make beds off-limits, try allowing your dog briefly onto the bed immediately after it’s made to satisfy their investigative urges while you are present to supervise. Once they’ve sniffed sufficiently, redirect them off the bed.

Why Does My Dog Only Lick the Fitted Sheet Underneath?

Licking the bottom sheet while leaving the top sheets untouched often signals:

Temperature regulation – Cool tile floor feels good on the belly

Odors – Scent accumulates more on the bottom layers

Texture – The taut elastic of fitted sheets makes a tactile “scratchy” surface

Hidden dirtDogs smell previous spills or food crumbs along the tucked-in edges.

In these cases, focus deterrents just on the fitted sheet area while allowing access to regular top sheets to chew.

Why Is My Dog Suddenly Licking and Chewing His Bed After Years of Normal Behavior?

New onset furniture or bed chewing in an adult dog often indicates:

Pain – Oral behaviors soothe areas like arthritic joints. Licking releases natural endorphins.

Allergies – Inhalant, food, or skin allergies can cause new licking compulsions.

Anxiety – Stress related to changes in schedule, environment, family members, etc. Manifests as obsessive behaviors like fabric chewing.

Cognitive dysfunction – Disorientation from canine cognitive decline leads to confusing bedding for food (mattress munching).

Have your veterinarian examine for medical issues and consider anti-anxiety medications or supplements if behavioral changes. Any sudden new problem in a senior dog warrants a full senior wellness exam.

Why Does My Dog Rub His Face on the Sheets After Licking Them?

Face rubbing after oral behaviors serves to:

  • Remove saliva from fur
  • Deposit facial pheromones
  • Spread the dog’s own scent
  • Dry wet muzzle on fabrics
  • Direct smell particles toward the nose

As long as your dog’s facial skin remains healthy, view bedding face rubs as a harmless ritual. But do wash sheets frequently to remove odor buildup.

My Puppy Licks and Chews the Sheets – How Do I Stop This?

Don’t despair about destructive puppy sheet chewing. Puppies explore the world with their mouths, and bedding offers novelty textures. Instead:

  • Provide ample chew toys to satisfy oral drives on appropriate items
  • Limit unsupervised bedroom access via baby gates
  • Use pet-safe deterrent sprays for the sheets’ “taste” factor
  • Ensure adequate exercise and enrichment
  • Crate train puppy rather than bed privileges at first

Growing maturity leads most puppies to outgrow destructive chewing habits by one year old.

What Are Signs of OCD Tail Chasing in Dogs?

Repetitive tail chasing warrants evaluation for obsessive-compulsive disorder if:

  • Happens absent any external stimulation/trigger
  • The dog appears unable to stop despite distraction attempts
  • Lasts for prolonged periods
  • Causes physical damage to the tail
  • Paired with other repetitive behaviors like sheet licking

Consult a veterinary behaviorist when obsessive behaviors impair quality of life. Anti-anxiety medication combined with training offers the most effective treatment approach.


While frustrating, try not to take sheet-licking habits too personally. Instead compassionately investigate the underlying motivation behind your dog’s behaviors. With attention, patience, and early intervention, destructive sheet nibbling can become a thing of the past. Establish rules and structure to set your dog’s routines up for success. A comforted dog relaxes rather than consuming your linens!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my dog only lick the sheets at nighttime?

The darkness and quiet at night provide opportunity. Dogs also may be self-soothing anxiety about being left alone by licking familiar-smelling sheets. Crate training prevents bed chewing at night. Exercise and stimulation before bed also help dogs settle calmly.

My dog keeps chewing the tag on the end of my sheets – how do I stop this?

Tags provide the perfect tug-toy texture. Avoid chew temptation by cutting tags off sheets and bedding. Check the rest of the linens for plastic clips, fringes, tassels or other tempting textures to trim if needed. Provide rope toys for tugging instead.

I scolded my dog for licking the sheets but he keeps doing it – help!

Yelling at sheet chewing adds attention rewards and increases anxiety. Silently remove access to licked items. Reward settling on a mat or bed instead. Use bitter-tasting deterrents on sheets. Identify and address the root cause, such as insufficient exercise, stress, or sickness. Harsh discipline worsens obsessive behaviors – be patient and contact a certified trainer.

Why does my dog only lick the bed when I’m in it?

Your presence while in bed stimulates attention-seeking behaviors in dogs hoping to engage you in play or cuddling. Licking fabric elicits a reaction. Settle your dog in another room before getting into bed and reward them for calmly sleeping separately.

My dog licks the sheets until they’re soaking wet – how do I train this out of them?

Wet sheet licking to the point of saturation signals high anxiety or a possible compulsive disorder. Limit access using crates or closed doors. Address any underlying medical conditions. Work on calming techniques and mental stimulation. Speak to your veterinarian about anti-anxiety medication or natural supplements to reduce obsessive urges.

Why does my dog nibble little holes all over the edges of the sheet?

Focus on edges indicates attention to loose threads or hidden smells. Fold edges under the mattress to deter access. Ensure no food is dropping between the mattresses. Redirect chewing urge to more appropriate items and provide plenty of physical and mental exercise.

My dog only chews the sheets when I’m gone – how can I stop this separation anxiety?

Try the following strategies to curb anxious sheet chewing when you leave: Provide engaging puzzle toys stuffed with treats before you go, play calming music, use pheromone diffusers, practice brief absences and reunions, schedule a dog walker mid-day, and crate train to prevent bed access. Consult a trainer for customized separation solutions.

Why does my dog rub their face on the sheets after licking them?

Face rubbing after licking spreads facial pheromones and oils onto the sheets. It also lets them absorb smell particles from the fabric into their nasal cavity. This ritual deposits scent and satisfies sensory drives. As long as your dog’s face remains healthy, view sheet face-rubs as normal canine behavior.

How do I stop my puppy from chewing and sucking the blankets when trying to sleep?

Puppies self-soothe and drift off while nibbling blankets. Provide safe chew toys instead. Use crates without any bedding at first. Supervise or confine the puppy during naps. Most outgrow suckling blanket behavior by 8-12 months old. If they remain overly attached to blankets as adults, speak to your veterinarian.

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