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Why Do Dogs Lick Their Toys? (5 Reasons For Dog Licking)

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If you’re here then you’re probably noticing your pup constantly licking their toys. And you’re likely curious why and what you should do about it.

In this post we’ll be discussing the answer to why do dogs lick their toys.

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Toys:

There are a number of reasons dogs lick their toys. It could be hunger, thirst, anxiety, they enjoy the taste, an obsessive-compulsive disorder, or they are simply exploring the world through their mouth.

Dog licking usually stems from dogs being social creatures. Licking begins when they are born, mothers lick puppies to clean them and stimulate bodily functions.

Then, as puppies grow they begin to lick at their mothers to stimulate nursing and for other reasons.

Dogs continue to lick into their adult life as a means of giving off friendly gestures, grooming, etc…

For this reason there are tons of positive associations toward licking that dogs have ingrained since they came into the world.

The problem with licking is when it becomes a bother for owners, becomes compulsive, or interferes with your dog’s quality of life.

Let’s dive into this further to find out exactly why your dog is licking its toys.

Why do dogs lick their toys

Why Do Dogs Lick Toys? (5 Explanations)

Let’s go through the list of reasons why your dog is licking toys.


In some cases dog toys are able to absorb moisture and they can also become a sticky surface for holding food. A lot of toys actually come with specific flavors which can also contribute to your dog licking it’s toys.

If your dog is hungry or thirsty then they may opt to try and satisfy their needs by licking their toys.

If they do not have access to water or have not eaten in a while then this could definitely be one of the reasons!

In addition, if you know your dog has been fed and has proper access to water then it could also be a diet issue.

After a meal if you notice your dog still continues to lick their toys and you have explored the other potential causes on this list then it might be your dog’s diet.

If you have recently changed your dogs diet or notice constant toy licking after eating certain foods consult with your vet about potential dietary issues.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

dog licking toy

Now if your dog does fall under this category then you might notice your dog licking more than just toys.

If they have a constant urge to lick their toys and you find them doing it all the time your best option is to discuss with your vet for the best option moving forward.


This is a classic problem many dogs suffer from that can be attributed to a number of different things.

If your dogs licking is a more recent habit something might be causing them to be anxious. This can make licking their toy a soothing behavior for them.

If you notice this habit when there may be a reason for your pup to be anxious it’s actually considered a soothing behavior and can be good for your pup.

A perfect example is when owners are leaving their pups. In some cases your dog might get separation anxiety and licking their toys is a way of cooping. 


As discussed in the opening introduction dogs come into the world and immediately learn habits evolving licking. For dogs licking a toy could just be exploration out of curiosity.

If your pup developed certain licking habits while growing up they can continue as they grow up.

Enjoyment/Likes The Taste

dog enjoying taste of toy

This is likely the case for most dogs. Usually toys come with specific flavors that make for an enjoyable taste for pups.

It’s likely your dog just likes the taste of the toy and perhaps if this is a treat dispensing toy they can still pick up some of the flavor left behind. So this is why some dogs lick their toys.

So how do you stop a dog from licking it’s toy?

How to Stop Your Dogs Bad Licking Behavior

First consider you what else has happened since your dog started doing it. If it is a new habit you just started noticing, think back to the environment and situation.

In addition, the more detail you can remember the easier it will be to determine the cause. If you moved houses, got a new job, new family member, etc.

All these things can impact your dog so keep this in mind.

Another thing to consider is, what is different when your dog is licking the toys?

Is your dog licking toys at specific times during the day, or after going on walks? Narrow in on details and you’ll be able to determine the root cause.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure the reason is not a negative one:

Ensure Access to Water and Properly Fed

why does my dog lick his stuffed toys

As mentioned, if your dog is hungry or thirsty it can be a reason for dogs licking toys. Making sure your pup has access to water and is properly fed at all times will remove this from one of the probable causes.

Reduce Anxiety

If you think that your pup might have separation anxiety or something else is causing them to be anxious try to limit these possible reasons.

Making sure your dog is well exercised, fed, hydrated, and cared for will help.

Consider getting toys that can help with anxiety if your pup suffers from separation anxiety and just remember licking is a soothing behavior in this situation.

Mental Stimulation & Interaction

Making sure your pup has proper mental stimulation and interaction with you (the owner) is crucial for your pups health. All owners should play with their dog, take them on daily walks, and stimulate them in the way they need (every breed is a little different).

Get Help

If you still cannot figure out why your dog has been licking toys, your best option is to take them to the vet.

By doing so, you will be able to get the answers you need tailored towards your particular dog.

This is an important step to rule out medical causes if you believe their behavior is out of the ordinary.

Differences Between Normal and Problematic Licking

dog licking toy

There is a difference between licking, which is considered normal, and problematic.

Normal licking is when your dog licks their toys, you, or themselves, and it’s not excessive. You will know when your dog is licking excessively when it becomes a nuisance or bothersome to you.

This could signify anxiety or something else that might need vet assistance.

Here are some signs that show your dog’s licking might have turned

Here are the signs of problematic licking:

Nuisance Licking

Your dog excessively licks people or objects to the point it becomes a nuisance. If your dog is doing this, you might consider trying to break this habit.


Your dog licks and then bites. This can be a problem because it can lead to aggression.

Obsessive Licking

Problems with licking can also develop if your dog becomes obsessed with licking and it starts to interfere with everyday activities.

Licking Till Injury

Your dog licks their own body obsessively to the point of injury.

Your dog excessively licks one particular area on their body to the point of raw skin or open wounds. This is a severe medical condition that needs to be looked at by a professional asap.

Damaging Your Home

Your dog excessively licks furnished or other objects around your house to the point of damage.

Suppose you think your dog’s licking habits are problematic. In that case, it is best to seek professional help from a vet, behaviorist, or trainer that can help you modify their behavior in a positive way.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Normal For Dogs To Lick Toys?

Yes, dogs are normal to lick their toys as this is a form of play behavior. In addition, dogs will often lick their toys during periods of high energy or excitement.

However, suppose your dog is licking their toys excessively. In that case, it could be a sign of anxiety or another underlying issue that needs to be addressed. If you are concerned about your dog’s licking behavior, it is best to consult with a professional.

Why Do Dogs Get Obsessed With One Toy?

Dogs can get obsessed with one toy for several reasons. It could be the toy is especially stimulating or satisfying for them to lick. It could also be the case that the toy smells like something they love, which comforts them.

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Toys After Eating?

Some dogs will lick their toys after eating because they are still hungry. Others might do it because they enjoy the sensation of licking something after they have eaten. In addition, some dogs may have developed a habit of licking their toy right after eating.

Final Thoughts

Congratulations! You now know the answer to the question, “Why do dogs lick their toys”. We hope this information was helpful to you and your pup.

Please share this post so we can help more people answer their dog product questions and keep the dogs of our world safe and healthy!

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