Why Do Dogs Lick Leather?

Why do dogs lick leather

Understanding why your sweet pet dog is licking your leather items such as furniture or leather car seats can go along way in helping you keep your leather items safe and sound. A licking dog can sometimes be the most worrisome sight to bare in a day, but there is always a solution!

Why do dogs lick leather? Dogs may lick leather because they might have obsessive/compulsive disorder or they might lick mainly because they smell drink, food spills or crumbs, and your scent. They also lick usually because they perceive the leather item as a giant beef chew toy.   

Although dogs lick things as a way of exploring their environment with their sense of taste, it might be an indication of a serious condition.

Hence, it is vital not to write off the licking behavior and find out if it’s habitual or unusual. Learning more about what’s normal and what’s not normal will go along way to stop the licking problem.

Reasons Why Your Dog Is Licking Your Leather Items — Details

1. Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder

Not to get fancy with words, but this is a repetitive behavior where your dog is continually licking your leather items with no obvious cause. This definitively must spark some curiosity for you to find out why.

This should certainly raise some eyebrows especially when s/he does it very often, aggressively, and in a repetitious way. Also, if s/he looks completely spaced out while licking the leather item and you find it extremely hard to interrupt him/her, it’s possibly, an obsessive or compulsive behavior.

Causes of Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder In Dogs

Obsessive and compulsive licking of leather items in dogs has some basic causes. Your dog may have initially chosen your leather furniture for “acceptable” reasons as (playthings) before the behavior became an obsessive or compulsive. This can be explained as the dog being under-socialized or experiencing stress and anxiety.

This cause may also be attributed to Canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD). This is a dementia in dogs that can cause dogs to lick your items obsessively.

In addition to the above, digestive disorders, pain, allergies, parasitic infections amongst a few other things can make your dog have unusual behavior which will include licking of leather furniture, carpets, and many others.

2. Your Dog Perceives Leather Items As a Beef Chew Toy

Dogs really love leather chew toys and because of that seeing a giant leather furniture will not be spared by your dog. S/he will perceive it as a king-size leather chew toy although it won’t obviously fit into her mouth, it will surely not escape some good licking.

3. Dog Smells Your Scent, Spills and Food Crumbs On The Leather Item

My wife and I have found out that, or dog licks our leather sofa specifically because of our scent as she licks mostly the exact spot we both love to sit. She will especially lick the leather sofa as she’s cleaning herself. There are other places in our house where you can find other leather items that our dog never bothers to lick, chew or go close to out of curiosity.

As Difficult as it is to believe, your dog may have a perfectly good reason for licking your leather items and other surfaces too. Food Crumbs on the furniture or drink spills on the floor will invite dogs to lick.

Also, sweet-scented body and hair lotions amongst other products linger on after you have used the leather items. And your guess is as good as mine, s/he will lick the leather item as she would lick you out of fondness and love. Cute!

4. Gastrointestinal and disorders

A study examined and showed that excessive dog licking can also be linked to a medical condition known as gastrointestinal and some other kinds of disorders. So after trying some remedies of reducing anxiety such as dog play dates, buying of new toys, and using dog repellents and your still doesn’t cease this behavior, see your veterinarian doctor.

The veterinary doctor will carry out some routine exams. This will be a good start and hopefully, if nothing is found you can treat the problem from a behavioral perspective and everything should be back to normal.

How to Prevent Dogs From Licking Your Leather Items

1. Apply Dog Repellent To Your Leather Item

Before you get alarmed, why not try out some non-drastic measures.! Apply a harmless dog repellent or anti-chew deterrent spray to your leather sofas, beds, carpeting, and anything leather.

The lick deterrent can be homemade. It shouldn’t be toxic but unpleasant-smelling. You can do this with a mixture of vinegar, citrus, ammonia, or cayenne pepper scent.

After applying the deterrent, whether homemade or bought, it will usually leave behind a bitter taste on the leather item which discourages the licking. Be careful to follow all instructions on the package.

Usually, anti-chew deterrents sprays require continuous usage.

Some leather conditioners and cleaners can be applied to the leather items to remove all enticements that will possibly make your dog lick before the deterrent is applied.

2. Socialize The Dog To Avoid Obsessive Licking of Leather

When you notice the dog’s licking behavior, call your vet doctor to inform them about it and if he schedules a checkup don’t panic. Prior to the checkup date (hopefully a day or two from the day you placed the call) give the dog some attention and do some activities with him/her frequently as much as you can. 

Also if you are not used to exercising with your dog, start doing so and play with him/her. Go for park walks, get it dog some new toys, and arrange or set up play dates with a friends or neighbors pet dogs. 

At this point, if it was really boredom and loneliness that was were causing your dog to be obsessively licking the leather sofa, carpet, chairs or beds, the unusual obsessive behavior should immediately go away. If this remedy works, you should keep it up and tone it down eventually to what’s just enough activity for you and your dog.

3. Revert Sudden Changes In The Environment

Stress and anxiety can be birth from a change of environment, new source of noise, new pets or new family members. If it’s stress and anxiety that is causing the excessive licking of the leather items, you should immediately try to identify the changes and undo them if possible.

If there is little you can do, consult your vet to help your dog’s anxiety with some supplements or medication, aromatherapy or other measures. If a health problem is an unfortunate cause, you and your pets doctor will have to figure out the best treatment to control or cure the condition.

I hope this article helped you figure things out with your lovely family dog!!! 😀


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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