Lots of pet parents love having their dogs in bed with them at night, especially when it’s time to cuddle a little before closing their eyes.
The thing is, sometimes your dog might exhibit behavior that confuses you, such as licking your bed sheets, blankets, and pillows. This might sound odd, but the good news is that most of the time, this is no cause for concern.
Nevertheless, it’s good to know the reasons why dogs might be doing this, mainly so you can determine what to do about it.
Why Does My Dog Lick My Bed Sheets?
There are numerous reasons why dogs will lick bedding, including the sheets, pillowcases, and blankets. They include the following:
1. There Are Food Crumbs in Your Bed
Lots of people eat snacks in their beds, and that can result in crumbs being left there. As you already know, dogs are great at finding even the tiniest morsel of food in anyone’s bed, and once they find it, they’re all over it!
If your dog is licking at the sheets, it might simply be because they’re in the mood for a snack, and those sheets are providing it to them!
2. Your Dog Has OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, isn’t exactly uncommon in humans, but it can affect pets as well. OCD usually involves some type of compulsion to do a certain thing – in this case, licking the sheets. They don’t realize they’re doing it, and as dogs, they certainly don’t recognize that it’s OCD. Still, OCD in dogs can be demonstrated with this particular habit.
3. Your Bed Smells Like You
Dogs have a super-strong sense of smell, and since they love their owners, they’re going to love what smells like them.
When they lick the sheets, it’s their way of feeling a little closer to you and showing you affection. Yes, it may result in soggy sheets and you may not appreciate it, but at least they’re doing it for a good reason.
4. Your Dog Has a Condition Called Pica
Pica is a condition that causes dogs to lick any non-food item they can find, including your bed sheets. You may notice them licking other items as well, and they’ll become almost obsessive about the behavior. If you think this might be the problem, you should contact your vet.
5. Your Dog Is Bored
When dogs get bored, they can do some strange things, including licking the bedding in your bed. You can redirect the behavior by training him not to lick the sheets or giving him his favorite toy to play with instead.
Training the dog works best because it is more permanent, and don’t forget to use positive reinforcement such as treats instead of punishment.
6. Your Dog Might Have Anxiety
Dogs can get stressed and anxious just like humans do, and licking the sheets can be a way to show this anxiety.
Nervousness and being fidgety are also signs of anxiety, so naturally it’s best to find the source of the anxiety before doing anything else. You might need your vet’s help with this, but they are more than happy to help you any way they can.
7. Your Dog Is Malnourished
When a woman is pregnant and starts craving things such as cardboard, it’s a sign she isn’t getting enough of the right nutrients. Similarly, dogs can start licking bed sheets, in addition to other items, when they aren’t getting the same.
If this is the case, keep an eye on what you’re feeding them to make sure they are getting the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive.
Other Things to Look for When Your Dog Licks Your Bedding
There are other less-common reasons why your dog keeps licking your sheets. They may simply be bored, they may like the texture of the sheets, or they may either like or dislike the scent of the sheets.
If your dog is licking your sheets, think about whether you’ve switched laundry detergent or dryer sheets recently because this may be the cause of the licking.
If you want the behavior to stop, you have to first figure out why they’re doing it in the first place. Even if you can’t figure it out, you can try to train the dog and redirect its behavior.
Be consistent with the training and only use positive reinforcement. If the problem is the scent of the sheets, all you have to do is go back to the detergent you were previously using.
If the behavior is too difficult for you to figure out on your own, enlist the help of your veterinarian because they can help you determine if the problem is physical, emotional, or a little of both.
The good news is, the problem is usually both simple to figure out and simple to remedy. Licking sheets is rarely a permanent or serious problem, so don’t stress over it just yet.
Most of the reasons why dogs lick bed sheets are not serious, and they can include boredom, anxiety, OCD behavior, malnourishment, or things such as like or dislike of the sheets’ scent, finding food crumbs in your bed, or even a condition called pica.
The best thing to do is determine the cause of the licking before trying to find a remedy.
Fortunately, most of the reasons they do this are easy to figure out and easy to remedy, but never hesitate to enlist the help of your vet if necessary.