Why Does My Dog Lick Me Excessively At Night

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Why does my dog lick me excessively at night? This question has plagued dog owners for centuries, and the answer is not always simple. In this article, we will explore the possible reasons why your dog may be licking you excessively at night, and we will provide some tips on how to address the problem.

There are a number of possible reasons why your dog may be licking you excessively at night. One possibility is that your dog is trying to communicate something to you. For example, your dog may be licking you to show affection, to get your attention, or to relieve stress.

Why Does My Dog Lick Me Excessively at Night?

Why does my dog lick me excessively at night

Excessive licking in dogs can be a common occurrence, particularly during the night. Understanding the underlying causes can help address this behavior effectively.Medical conditions can contribute to excessive licking. Allergies, skin irritations, or infections can cause discomfort, leading to increased licking as a form of self-soothing.

Hormonal imbalances, such as Cushing’s disease, can also trigger excessive licking.Distinguishing between normal and excessive licking is crucial. Occasional licking, especially after meals or while grooming, is considered normal. However, if licking becomes persistent, excessive, and interferes with your dog’s daily activities, it warrants attention.

Addressing the Underlying Cause

Excessive licking at night can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition that requires veterinary attention. It’s crucial to identify and address the root cause to effectively alleviate the behavior.

Medical Conditions

  • Allergies:Environmental allergens, such as pollen, dust, or certain foods, can trigger excessive licking due to skin irritation and discomfort.
  • Skin infections:Bacterial or fungal infections can cause intense itching and licking, especially at night when the dog is less active.
  • Hormonal imbalances:Conditions like Cushing’s disease or hypothyroidism can lead to hormonal changes that stimulate excessive licking.
  • Neurological disorders:Certain neurological conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), can manifest as repetitive licking behaviors.
  • Pain:Underlying pain, such as from arthritis or joint problems, can cause discomfort and trigger excessive licking as a coping mechanism.

Diagnostic Procedures

To determine the underlying cause, your veterinarian may perform various diagnostic tests, including:

  • Physical examination:A thorough physical exam can reveal skin lesions, infections, or other abnormalities that may indicate an underlying condition.
  • Skin tests:Allergen testing can identify specific allergens that may be triggering the excessive licking.
  • Blood tests:Blood work can check for hormonal imbalances or other systemic issues that may contribute to the behavior.
  • Imaging tests:X-rays or MRI scans can help rule out underlying pain or neurological conditions.

Treatment Options

Treatment for excessive licking depends on the underlying medical condition. Some common options include:

  • Allergy management:Identifying and avoiding allergens can alleviate itching and reduce excessive licking.
  • Skin infection treatment:Antibiotics or antifungal medications can clear up infections and reduce skin irritation.
  • Hormonal therapy:Medications can regulate hormonal imbalances and alleviate symptoms associated with excessive licking.
  • Behavioral therapy:Techniques such as distraction, positive reinforcement, and training can help redirect the dog’s attention away from excessive licking.
  • Pain management:Medications or physical therapy can help manage pain and reduce the discomfort that may trigger licking.

Behavioral Causes and Solutions

Excessive licking at night can also stem from behavioral triggers. Understanding and addressing these underlying causes is crucial for resolving the issue.

Dogs may resort to excessive licking as a coping mechanism for anxiety, stress, or boredom. Identifying and addressing these emotional factors can significantly reduce the licking behavior.


Anxiety in dogs can manifest in various ways, including excessive licking. Triggers can include separation anxiety, fear of loud noises or strangers, and changes in routine. Providing a safe and calming environment, engaging in regular exercise, and utilizing anxiety-reducing aids (e.g.,

pheromone diffusers) can help alleviate anxiety and reduce licking.


Stressful situations, such as moving to a new home, changes in family dynamics, or being left alone for extended periods, can also contribute to excessive licking. Creating a predictable routine, providing plenty of exercise, and offering interactive toys can help reduce stress levels.


Boredom can lead to dogs seeking out self-soothing behaviors like excessive licking. Ensuring your dog has sufficient physical and mental stimulation through regular walks, playtime, and interactive toys can combat boredom and redirect their licking behavior.

Home Remedies and Management Techniques: Why Does My Dog Lick Me Excessively At Night

Why does my dog lick me excessively at night

Excessive licking can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, so it’s important to rule out any physical causes with your veterinarian. Once medical causes have been ruled out, you can try some home remedies and management techniques to help soothe your dog’s skin and reduce licking.

Here are some home remedies that may help:

  • Apply a cool compress to the affected area for 10-15 minutes at a time, several times a day.
  • Give your dog a bath with oatmeal shampoo. Oatmeal has soothing and anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve itching.
  • Apply a topical ointment or cream containing hydrocortisone to the affected area. Hydrocortisone is a mild steroid that can help reduce inflammation and itching.
  • Give your dog oral antihistamines to help reduce itching.

Here are some management techniques that may help:

  • Keep your dog’s environment clean and free of allergens.
  • Avoid exposing your dog to triggers that cause them to lick excessively.
  • Provide your dog with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to help reduce boredom and anxiety.
  • Make sure your dog’s diet is healthy and balanced.
  • Consider using a cone or Elizabethan collar to prevent your dog from licking the affected area.

Here are some products and aids that may help:

  • Doggy Lick Soother: This product is a topical spray that contains natural ingredients that help soothe and protect the skin.
  • Bitter Apple Spray: This product is a deterrent spray that can be applied to the affected area to discourage licking.
  • LickiMat: This product is a food-dispensing mat that can help keep your dog occupied and reduce licking.

Case Studies and Examples

Excessive licking in dogs can be a complex issue with various underlying causes. Here are some real-life case studies that demonstrate how these causes were identified and addressed, leading to successful treatment plans:

Case Study 1: Medical Cause, Why does my dog lick me excessively at night

A 5-year-old Labrador retriever named Buddy was excessively licking his paws. The vet conducted a thorough examination and blood tests, which revealed a bacterial infection. Buddy was prescribed antibiotics, and his licking subsided once the infection was cleared.

Case Study 2: Behavioral Cause

A 2-year-old German shepherd named Luna was licking herself raw on her belly. The vet ruled out any medical conditions and referred Luna to a veterinary behaviorist. The behaviorist identified that Luna’s licking was a form of displacement behavior, a way for her to cope with stress.

Luna was placed on a behavior modification program that included positive reinforcement, and her licking gradually decreased.

Case Study 3: Home Remedy

A 10-year-old beagle named Max was excessively licking his hindquarters. The vet suspected allergies, but the allergy tests came back negative. Max’s owner tried various home remedies, including adding omega-3 fatty acids to his diet and applying a soothing spray to his hindquarters.

The licking gradually subsided with these home remedies.These case studies highlight the importance of identifying the underlying cause of excessive licking in dogs. By addressing the root of the problem, pet owners can effectively manage this behavior and improve their dog’s well-being.