There are dogs that snuggle with their owners as a sign of affection, and there are others that prefer to take a more slobbery route that involves licking the owner’s face.
A few licks every now and then won’t hurt, but with the tiny Yorkshire Terrier, licking can get a bit excessive and overboard. Yorkies lick just about everything, from each other to their paws to empty air.
So why do Yorkies lick, exactly? These little creatures lick for a host of reasons that are either behavioral/licking behavior or medical, from boredom and separation anxiety to stomach upsets and skin problems.
As a responsible pet dog owner, you ought to learn about all these reasons so that you’re able to determine whether or not your small dog is suffering from health issues.
With that said, this article is going to cover the most notable reasons why the Yorkshire Terrier breed tends to lick so much, so stick around.
Affection and Attention
The number one reason why your Yorkie is constantly obsessive licking you or others in your household is to show affection. Dogs are incapable of speaking human language, and so they resort to other means of expression and communication to show affection, one of which is licking.
All dogs are affectionate at the core, with some being more affectionate and needy than others, like the Yorkie. Studies show that the levels of oxytocin (the love hormone) in a dog is affected by their interaction with their owners, solidifying the fact that dogs lick their owners’ faces for affection or attention.
It’s also worth noting that dogs are able to sense when their owners are stressed or upset. So, if you go home from a long and stressful day at work and you find your Yorkie urging to give you a lick, know that it’s simply trying to comfort you.
Salty Skin? Scrumptious!
Seeking affection and attention isn’t the only reason why a Yorkshire Terrier may be licking you or another member of your household. The dog may simply be licking you for the taste of your dry skin, as odd as that sounds.
Human skin naturally has an acid mantle, which is a fine acidic film that serves as a barrier to potential contaminants such as viruses and bacteria. The pH of human skin ranges from 4.7 to 5.7, so it’s mildly acidic. Moreover, when we sweat, more acid becomes present on our skin, in addition to salt.
Out of the five different taste receptors that canines have, one is for acid and another one is for salt. Putting two and two together, it’s clear as day your Yorkie is quite fond of your skin.
Your Yorkshire Terrier may also give your furniture or clothes a few licks simply because they smell the scent of your skin on them.
Your Yorkie Is Curious
Virtually all dog breeds sniff around to identify new items or people in their environment. Dogs like the Yorkshire Terrier, however, may satisfy their curiosity by licking items or people, rather than sniffing them.
Just as you use your hands and fingers to get a feel for things, Yorkies use their tongues for the same reason. It’s also worth noting that Yorkies have a pretty strong sense of smell, which gives them all the more reason to taste whatever it is they can smell in order to quench their curiosity.
We understand that it can get annoying if done excessively, but the good news is that you can train your dog to quit its constant licking.
Just a Bad Habit
Your Yorkie’s excessive licking may be nothing more than just a bad habit. Think of the first day you got your dog; you probably showered it with kisses, and it showered you back. After all, who can resist a cute little Yorkie’s kiss?
What you failed to realize, at the time, is that your acceptance of such dog behavior just because it’s cute will indicate to your dog that this behavior is normal and that you actually like it, instilling it as a habit that you’ll later find irritating and disgusting, and breaking such a habit will take lots of time and effort. You’ll probably need to hire a dog training professional.
Boredom or Anxiousness
The above-mentioned reasons why your Yorkie may be lip licking so much aren’t all that serious, but it’s not always sunshine and lollipops when you see your dog’s darting tongue all over the place.
If your dog is feeling stressed, nervous, or anxious, they may begin to lick themselves, another dog, or the empty air licking. This begs the question: What exactly triggers these feelings?
Well, there are a number of scenarios we can think of that may trigger the feeling of stress or anxiousness in a dog. For example, if your dog sees you putting on your shoes or grabbing your keys, it knows you’re about to leave the house, triggering a compulsive disorder.
When you bring out your vacuum cleaner, your canine companion may begin to feel stressed or nervous because it knows how loud and scary the sound of a vacuum cleaner is.
If your dog isn’t quite fond of going to the groomer or vet, it may begin to feel stressed when in your car because it suspects that your destination is the grooming salon or the vet’s office. These are just some of the scenarios that come to mind. We’re pretty sure there are others.
If you can pinpoint the different occasions that result in your furry friend getting uncomfortable or anxious, try to dedicate some time to comfort your dog by redirecting its focus so that it stops associating these occasions with unpleasant feelings.
Dental problems aren’t limited to human beings. Dogs can develop them, too, especially the tiny Yorkie because of how small their jaws are.
When a Yorkie develops dental issues, it may resort to constant licking as a way to clean tartar buildup and food residue. Licking can also help a Yorkie soothe gum irritation.
Just as it is a priority to groom your dog on a regular basis, teeth cleaning must also be amongst your list of dog-related priorities as soon as your canine friend is able to consume solid food.
We strongly recommend getting your dog accustomed to teeth cleaning from an early age, as it’s tough to enforce new habits onto an older dog. Ideally, your dog’s teeth should be cleaned once a month.
If you’re having a hard time cleaning your old dog’s teeth, try Hill’s Science Oral Care Dry Dog Food. It’s basically dog food that helps reduce tartar and plaque build-up with the aid of kibble technology, promoting better dental health.
It also uses interlocking fiber technology to keep your dog’s breath fresh and its teeth clean. It’s not recommended for puppies or pregnant dogs, though.
Another way you can go about improving your old dog’s dental health is to get it some brushing chews like Arm & Hammer’s. They’re not as effective as professional teeth cleaning, but they’re an option.
Licking Due to Allergies
In addition to licking their owners, furniture, clothes, and air, Yorkies tend to lick themselves. If you notice your Yorkie licking its paws, belly, back, or other parts of its body, it may be suffering from some sort of allergy.
Yes, domestic dogs can develop allergies just as we do. They may have allergic reactions to certain foods or environments. If your dog spends a lot of time in your backyard or garden, it may develop an allergic reaction to certain types of grass or fertilizers.
How can you be sure? All you have to do is monitor your dog’s compulsive behavior after it has been outside. If it turns out that it does have an allergic reaction to grass or fertilizers, we advise you to wash your dog’s paw after every walk.
If you notice your dog constantly licking its paws, there’s a good chance it has a food allergy. We recommend referring to your veterinarian for a more accurate analysis of your female dog.
Licking Due to Fleas
Another reason why your Yorkie may be licking itself is that it has contracted fleas. Luckily, this is one of the reasons that are easy to identify visually.
If your Yorkie has contracted fleas, it won’t just dog lick itself, but it’ll also chew and scratch itself to alleviate itself from the itching.
Not sure if your Yorkie has contracted fleas or not? Inspect your dog’s armpits and stomach areas, as these are two places where fleas love to dwell.
There are various ways you can go about helping your adult dog get rid of fleas, the most convenient of which is topical flea treatment, which involves applying a medication onto your pet’s back or neck so that it’s unable to lick it. The medication then surges into your pet’s skin, helping to get rid of fleas. Consider Advantage II Flea Treatment for Small Dogs.
Another way you can help your dog get rid of fleas is to use oral flea treatments. Basically, these are tablets or chews that contain pesticides that are harmless to pets and humans.
Once consumed, the pesticides enter your pet’s bloodstream, killing those bloodsucking fleas. Don’t worry if you have children, as the pesticides are contained safely within your pet’s body.
If it turns out that your dog does have fleas, one of the best ways to eliminate fleas from your home is to vacuum every single day for a couple of weeks. Vacuuming will help remove larvae and eggs from your home, in addition to fleas that your pet may have scratched off.
Serious Health Problems
If none of the above-mentioned reasons seems applicable to your dog, then you must consider the possibility that your dog may have a serious health condition causing it to lick excessively.
If your dog is constantly licking one area of its body in distress, it may be suffering from pain in that specific area.
If you notice your male dog balding or developing red patches around its body, it may be suffering from a hormonal imbalance. To be more specific, it may be suffering from Cushing disease due to the lack of thyroid hormones.
Another serious health condition that may be the reason behind your dog’s constant licking is dermatitis due to allergies, mites, or others. It may also be suffering from dog’s mouth lesions or some other sort of oral growth that’s causing it to produce excessive saliva and lick the air frequently.
Lastly, your dog may have gastrointestinal problems. It could be anything from gastric bodies to chronic pancreatitis. Such conditions usually come with excessive licking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does My Yorkie Lick Me All the Time?
Your Yorkie may be dog’s licking you simply to communicate its affection, or it can be licking you for the salty taste of your skin.
How Do Yorkies Show Affection?
There are plenty of ways that Yorkies show affection to their yorkie owner. Primarily, they resort to licking and face kisses. They also show affection by bringing their toys to their owners, leaning on or gazing at their pet owners, and, of course, snuggling their owners as they’re sleeping.
Why Does My Yorkie Like to Cuddle?
It’s in a Yorkie’s genes to be a sweet and loving animal. They love to cuddle because they find it comforting. They also cuddle to show affection.
Why Is My Yorkie So Clingy?
Yorkshire Terriers are clingy because they’re protective of their space and the people they’re attached to. They may be small, but they’re completely fearless.
Yorkies are one of the most gentle and loving breeds of dogs you can have. Being excessive lickers may deter first-time adopters from getting a Yorkshire Terriers, and it may drive current Yorkie owners nuts, but dogs can be trained to quit their bad habits.
Hopefully, with the aid of the information provided in this guide, you were able to determine why your Yorkie likes to lick so much and whether or not it should be taken seriously. Until next time.