Does your dog lick your bed and bedding?
Have you wondered why they do this?
Would you like to know if you should be worried about it?
In this post, we will list the reasons why dogs lick beds and bedsheets and then help you decide what to do about it if you are concerned.
Why Do Dogs Lick Beds and Bedding Sheets?
A dog might lick your bed for many reasons, including natural curiosity, an affinity for your scent, boredom, anxiety, social grooming, or a medical condition.
Here is a list of some of the most common reasons for this behavior:
- Natural canine curiosity.
- An affinity for your scent.
- Stress or anxiety.
- Social grooming and hygiene.
- A medical condition.
- Hunger or thirst.
- As a plea for attention.
Now, let’s look in more detail at why your dog might lick your bed sheets.
1. Natural Canine Curiosity
Dogs explore the world with their mouths, tongues, and teeth much more than humans.
They lick, bite, chew and nibble random items to help them understand what they are.
It really could be this simple. Your dog could be licking your bed as part of its instinct to explore the world through its mouth.
NOTE – You might also like to read this post, answering the question: why does my dog stare at me when they are lying down?
2. An Affinity for Your Scent
Dogs live a lot of their lives through their noses and sense of smell.
As their owner and pack leader, you are very important to them; pet dogs will often have a strong affinity for their owner’s scent.
If you have ever left your dog overnight with your vet or at boarding kennels, they will probably have asked you to leave the dog with some clothing or bedding with your scent.
By having something that smells of your scent, the dog finds it easier to relax.
So if you have been sleeping in your bed, it will smell your scent, and they might be attracted to this smell which causes them to start licking your sheets.
NOTE – You might also like this post looking at why dogs rip up their beds.
When dogs get bored, they bite, chew, and lick random items to alleviate their boredom.
Obviously, if you think this is the case, you should figure out ways of keeping them more physically and mentally stimulated to relieve the boredom.
4. Stress or Anxiety
When dogs feel stressed or anxious, they often chew or lick things to help self-soothe.
If this is the case with your dog, you will probably notice that it is obsessive and frantic when they lick the bed rather than just a random lick here and there.
5. Social Grooming and Hygiene
Dogs use social grooming as a form of bonding between pack members.
Obviously, your bedsheets aren’t part of your body, but the dog might not fully realize that.
If you think about it, bedsheets aren’t that different from a dog’s fur coat which could explain this behavior.
6. A Medical Condition
Some medical conditions can cause increased licking from dogs.
If you are worried about your dog’s bed licking behavior and think it might be related to a medical issue, please consult a vet as soon as possible.
If you are in financial difficulty and are worried about vet bills, this site lists helpful resources for charities to help you pay your bills.
(If you don’t live in the US, you can use Google to find similar help in your country, there is a lot of support out there for dog owners who are in difficulty).
7. Hunger or Thirst
Some dogs will lick at things such as furniture or bedding when hungry or thirsty.
Obviously, this one should be easy to figure out. Give your dog some food and water and see if they stop licking your bed.
Please always ensure your dog has access to fresh water, and if they suddenly become dehydrated, you should take them to the vet.
8. As a Plea for Attention
If your dog is feeling needy for some love and attention, they might lick your bed as they have learned that you give them more of your focus when they do so.
If this is the reason your dog is licking your bedding, the solution is easy, give your dog some love, cuddles, and playtime.
How to Stop Your Dog from Licking Your Bed
Firstly, you must do your best to determine why they are licking the bed.
If you look at the list above and do your best to figure out the root cause, you can take action to fix it.
For example, if your dog is stressed. Why are they feeling this way, and what can you do to help them feel less uptight?
If you think it is just part of their normal behavior but would like to stop them from doing it.
You can try training them out of it using this two-step process:
- Say “No” in a firm and clear voice.
- Distract them with something they like.
For example, if you catch your dog licking your bed, firstly, in a very clear and firm voice, say “NO.”
Then as soon as they stop licking the bedding, use something fun or tasty to distract them away from it.
For example, you could lead them into another room and give them five minutes of play or cuddles.
Or you could use a treat to distract them away from the bedding.
This method might not be perfect, but it will give them the idea that you don’t want them licking your duvet or mattress, and as such, the behavior should reduce (assuming you keep up with training).
Do you Need to Worry About This Bed Licking Behaviour?
Your dog licking your bed probably isn’t anything to worry about unless you think it is caused by boredom, anxiety, or a medical condition.
If you think your dog is bored, you should work hard to make them less so.
More walks, more time interacting with people, more toys, more chews, more time in the yard, all these things can help.
If the dog is struggling with anxiety, you should work hard to reduce their stress levels.
If you are unsure how to do this, please consult your vet or a canine behaviorist.
What Does it Mean When Your Dog Licks Fabric?
Dogs licking fabric can be due to natural curiosity, an attempt to gain their owner’s attention.
Or a method of calming down and relieving stress.
Or potentially a sign of an underlying medical condition.
Does Your Dog Lick Their Bed?
What about if your dog licks their own bedding? This video explains why they might be doing so.
Just click the video to start playing:
Final Thoughts On Why Dogs Lick Beds and Sheets
Dogs lick beds for various reasons, from natural curiosity to stress, anxiety, and even medical conditions.
It is most probably nothing to worry about, but as is always the case, if you are worried about your dog’s well-being, you should take them to the vet for a check-up.
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!