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So you’re starting to notice your whippet has increased how often they’re licking. A few licks here or there is no big deal, but when it becomes excessive it can be quite annoying.
Why do whippets lick so much or is something else going on causing yours to lick?
Why Do Whippets Lick So Much?
Whippets lick because they’re showing their affection, exploring the world around, they taste something, or want to help groom you. If they are excessively licking themselves this could be a sign of anxiety, or they are just cleaning themselves, relieving irritation, or simply bored.
In this post you will find 16 reasons for a whippet to lick so much and some tips to reduce this behavior when excessive. Some of these reasons might actually surprise you.
Reasons #11 was the biggest shocker to me.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
7 Reasons Why Whippets Lick Themselves
1) To Clean & Groom Themselves
This is by far the most common reason a whippet will lick and most of us already know this.
Whippets were not born with opposable thumbs so they cannot grab a bar or soap and scrub themselves down.
All they can do is lick themselves clean! So if you find your whippet is a variation of spots they are likely just self grooming.
2) They Are Self Entertaining
Bored whippets can be found doing all sorts of things.
When your whippet is looking for ways to entertain themselves you may find them licking.
If there is no noticeable reason for their licking they could just be bored.
Not only will it provide entertainment but it also feels good for dogs to lick.
If you think your whippet is licking due to boredom, try distracting them with a toy and making sure to give them enough mental stimulation in a day to reduce this.
3) Coping Mechanism
Dogs will often use licking as a means of comfort.
Whippets are generally shy and timid by nature which makes them more prone to getting anxiety.
This is especially true when not properly socialized or trained at a young age. This can lead to whippets feeling anxious.
Studies show that when a dog licks endorphins are released in their brain resulting in a feeling of comfort.
Endorphins are a chemical known for its abilities to act like a natural painkiller.
Which means anytime your dog licks they are actually coping with their anxiety.
If you think your whippet is dealing with anxiety, consider grabbing them a lick mat to reduce the licking of you or random objects in your home.
4) Discomfort Or Pain
Before dogs were domesticated when in the wild in order to survive they would use licking as a strategy to prevent infections.
This means built into your whippets DNA is this natural instinct.
If your pup is in pain or hurt they may lick in order to provide temporary relief of pain, or to try and heal a wound.
This is not the best way to heal wounds anymore since they have us.
We have medication and much more effective ways of healing our furry friends.
If your dog has an injury you do not want them licking the wound. This will make things worse and could actually cause infection.
5) Ticks, Fleas, Or Mites
Pest and parasite can be extremely uncomfortable for any dog to deal with. Ticks, fles, and mites are the most common pests you’ll come across.
If your whippet is heavily lick in a specific area and maybe even trying to chew it, check for any parasites.
Whippets trying to soothe irritated areas will lick in order to itch and relieve the discomfort.
If your whippet was recently at a park, around tall grass, or exploring in bushy areas, give them an inspection.
When it comes to each individual parasite, fleas and ticks will be easy to find during your inspections.
However, mites can fly under the radar since they are invisible to the naked eye.
One big indication of mites is dry skin and hair loss.
If you determine your whippet has a parasite infestation seek treatment from your veterinarian immediately.
6) You Whippet Has Allergies
Allergies are one of those things that cause many dog owners problems.
In fact there was a study done at LSU, a school of veterinary medicine, that found over 30% of dogs will have some form of skin irritation from allergies.
In addition, allergies to food is an inherited problem in Whippets that can start at any age. These symptoms can include itchy skin, recurrent ear infections, and chronic vomiting or diarrhea.
Itchy skin can cause your whippet to lick excessively and could be due to an allergy to food.
It’s important to know that skin irritation can be caused from food allergies but also from the environment.
There are many things that could give a whippet allergies so it’s important to speak with a vet to treat any allergic reactions.
7) Your Whippet Has Dry Skin
We all know the feeling of dandruff and an itchy scalp, whippets get the same thing!
If you notice white flakes in your dog’s fur they might just have dry skin that is itchy. So in order to itch they lick and pull at sections of their fur.
The best solution for dry skin is dandruff shampoo, moisturizer cream, and moisturizer sprays. You can even use some supplements to help your whippet!
Here are a couple high end products that can help with a whippets dry skin:
5 Reasons Why Whippets Lick You & Other People
1) Flavor & Taste
Whippets love salt! If you have ever come back from a workout and notice your pup is licking you they may be tasting some salt left over from your sweat!
Your feet, arms, and legs all release sweat which can have a taste. Your whippet may enjoy the flavor of your skin.
Whippets are very affectionate and can be needy. Some will lick you to try and get your attention.
If you respond to your whippet anytime they lick you, you may be reinforcing the behavior. This can be by simply looking at them when they lick you, or when you tell them to “stop”.
These things indicate to them that when they lick you, you give them attention.
Thus, if your whippet is licking you or others for attention the solution is to stop responding!
If you ignore them and just walk away or look away when they lick you this stops reinforcing the behavior.
Once they stop, then you can give them attention but never right after they lick you.
Related Reading: Are Whippets High Maintenance? (What To Expect + Tips)
3) Expressing Love & Care
There is no data to suggest whether or not a dog knows what a kiss is the same way you do.
However, licking is still a way for dogs to express love and affection.
A whippet’s mother would have licked them at a young age to clean & groom them.
This is the most basic form of showing love and care in the animal kingdom.
Thus, your dog displays their affection similarly to you by licking.
4) Helping Clean
Whippets clean themselves by licking and thus they may be trying to clean you by licking you!
Perhaps it’s been a few days since you showered last and your dog can smell that you need a cleaning.
So they help out as best they can.
5) You’re The Alpha
Dogs are pack animals by nature and there’s always a leader/alpha in every pack. You’re likely the leader if your whippet is licking you.
If you notice they lick you with submissive body language (avoiding eye contact, ears pulled back, etc.) this could signify that they know you are the alpha.
Wolves are said to lick the face of their superiors in a pack as a form of submission.
4 Reasons Why Whippets Lick Random Things
1.) They Enjoy Leftovers
For dogs any bit of human food or flavor they can get the better! That means cleaning up our crumbs, spills, etc.
Even though you may think you have cleaned up the spill there might be some leftover flavor only your dog can identify.
Thus, leading them to lick up the remainder of the flavor.
2.) Gauging Their Environment
Whippets interact with the world around them using their mouths. This means licking, putting things in their mouth, etc.
When your whippet licks something or puts it in their mouth, it’s comparable to how we humans grab things to interact with them.
If your dog is licking random objects and putting things in their mouth, they might just be checking it out.
3.) They Like The Feel
Have you ever felt a really soft blanket and didn’t want to stop petting it?
Well whippets can have this same experience with things they like the feel of. The only difference is they use their mouth!
So your dog might lick the feeling and texture of the object on their tongue. It could be a texture, or even a temperature thing.
4.) Familiar Flavor
You probably spend quite a lot of time in your house. Over time your house begins to smell like you and even your furniture.
Especially places in your house where you spend a lot of time, like your couch perhaps.
If you find your whippet likes to lick weird areas and objects it might be because they smell or even taste similar to you.
If your pup wants attention or is feeling lonely they may lick things to make them feel better.
Since they smell/taste like you it makes them feel better.
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