Why do dogs lick the bed sheets? (Explained)

Dogs are known for their quirky behavior, and one such behavior is licking the bed sheets. While it may seem harmless and even endearing to some dog owners, others may find it concerning or unpleasant. In this article, we will explore the reasons why dogs lick the bed sheets.

Why do dogs lick the bed sheets

Before we continue exploring the possible reasons why dogs lick bed sheets, it is important to clarify that this behavior isn’t limited to sheets. If your dog is licking your bedding, whether it’s your sheets, blankets, or pillows, the following reasons also apply here:

Maybe there are some food crumbs on the bed sheets

Dogs have an excellent sense of smell and can easily detect any food residue left on the bedsheets. If you have had a meal or a snack in bed, your dog may lick the sheets to try and find any crumbs or leftover food. It’s essential to discourage this behavior to prevent any digestive issues in your dog.

The dog wants to smell you

Dogs have an impressive sense of smell, and they rely on it to recognize their owners. If you’ve been away from home for an extended period, your dog may lick the bed sheets to smell your scent and feel closer to you.

Please note that animals such as dogs have a much stronger sense of smell than other animals and humans. According to a reliable source, it is estimated that dogs’ sense of smell is between 10,000 and 100,000 times stronger than our own. This behavior is common in dogs that suffer from separation anxiety and miss their owners when they’re away.

Your dog may be suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Some dogs may develop obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and exhibit repetitive behaviors such as licking. Dogs with OCD may lick bed sheets as a compulsive behavior, even when there is no apparent reason for doing so. This behavior requires attention and may require professional help to manage.

You’ve encouraged the behavior

Dogs learn through positive reinforcement, and if you have rewarded your dog for licking the bed sheets, they will continue to exhibit this behavior. It’s essential to discourage this behavior by ignoring your dog or redirecting their attention to a more appropriate behavior.

Changes in their diet

Dogs may exhibit unusual behaviors when there is a change in their diet. If you’ve recently changed your dog’s food or introduced a new treat, they may lick the bed sheets due to a gastrointestinal issue. It’s crucial to monitor your dog’s diet and consult with a veterinarian if there are any changes in their eating or drinking habits.

Dogs suffering from anxiety

Dogs are susceptible to anxiety, and it can manifest in different ways, including excessive licking of bed sheets, pillows, and blankets. If your dog is anxious, they may lick the bed sheets as a way of self-soothing. It’s important to identify the source of anxiety and manage it to prevent any adverse health effects.


Pica is a condition where dogs eat non-food items such as fabric, plastic, or other materials. If your dog is licking the bed sheets and exhibiting signs of chewing or swallowing fabric fibers, they may be suffering from pica. This condition requires immediate attention and medical intervention to prevent any blockages or digestive issues.

There’s a medical issue

In some cases, dogs may lick the bed sheets due to an underlying medical issue such as allergies, skin irritations, or gastrointestinal problems. It’s crucial to monitor your dog’s behavior and consult with a veterinarian if there are any changes in their habits.

How to stop your dog from licking your sheets

While it’s perfectly normal for dogs to lick themselves, their owners, and even their surroundings, it can become a problem when they start to lick your sheets, pillows, and blankets. Imagine having a clean white bed sheet and blanket on your bed, with pillows covered with white pillow cases, and coming home to notice that your dog has stained everything because of excessive licking. This can lead to unpleasant smells, stains, and even damage to your sheets.

So, we will discuss some effective ways to stop your dog from licking your sheets.

Adjust your dog’s diet

If you noticed that the changes in your dog’s diet are what are causing your dog to lick your sheets, pillows, and blankets, the first thing to do is to ensure that your dog’s diet is balanced and meets their nutritional needs.

Make sure that your dog is getting enough vitamins and minerals in their food, as a deficiency in certain nutrients can cause excessive licking behavior in dogs. Speak to a veterinarian to determine if any dietary changes are necessary.

Train your dog not to lick your sheets

Train your dog to avoid licking your sheets by giving them a clear command such as “off” or “leave it” and rewarding them with a treat when they obey. Be consistent in enforcing the command and avoid punishing your dog for not following it, as punishment can confuse your pet and worsen the behavior. Praise and reward your dog for exhibiting good behavior.

Block access to your bed

Another way to prevent your dog from licking your sheets is by blocking access to your bed. This can be done by closing the door to your bedroom or by placing a barrier such as a baby gate to prevent your dog from getting onto your bed. Consider providing your dog with their own comfortable sleeping area nearby, such as a dog bed.

Make sure you’re not encouraging this behavior

Be mindful of your own behavior and make sure you are not inadvertently encouraging your dog’s licking behavior. If you give your dog attention or affection when they lick your sheets, they may interpret it as a positive response and continue the behavior. Instead, redirect your dog’s attention to another activity or give them attention when they exhibit good behavior.

Use a deterrent spray

There are commercially available sprays that are formulated to deter dogs from licking surfaces. Spray the product on your sheets, and the unpleasant taste or scent can discourage your dog from licking.

Use a deterrent device

Another option is to use a deterrent device, such as a motion-activated air canister that emits a hissing sound or a quick burst of air when your dog approaches the bed or tries to lick the sheets.

See a veterinarian for a checkup

If your dog’s licking behavior persists despite your efforts to train them not to, it may be due to an underlying medical condition. For example, anxiety or allergies may cause your dog to lick excessively. A veterinarian can examine your dog to determine if there are any underlying medical issues and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does My Dog Eat Strange Items?

Dogs may eat strange items for a variety of reasons, such as boredom, anxiety, medical conditions like pica, and gastrointestinal disorders. In some cases, this behavior may also be due to a genetic predisposition. It’s important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and address the behavior through training and environmental enrichment.

Why does my dog bite my shoes?

Dogs may bite your shoes for a number of reasons, such as teething, boredom, anxiety, or attention-seeking behavior. Additionally, dogs may be attracted to the smell of the shoes or may view them as a toy. Providing your dog with appropriate chew toys, regular exercise, and training can help redirect this behavior. It’s important to discourage this behavior, as it can lead to the destruction of personal belongings and potentially harm the dog if they ingest parts of the shoe.

Why do dogs lick their paws?

Dogs may lick their paws for various reasons, such as grooming, alleviating discomfort or pain, or due to anxiety or boredom. It’s important to observe the frequency and intensity of the paw licking behavior to determine if it’s normal grooming or something more concerning.

Excessive paw licking can be a sign of skin irritation, allergies, infections, or other medical conditions. It’s recommended to consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues and address any behavioral concerns.

I hope I have been able to explain and answer the question, “Why do dogs lick the bed sheets?” in detail. What do you think? Does your dog lick the bed sheets, pillows, and blankets? How were you able to stop this behavior? Leave your answers in the comment section below.

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