Monthly Archives: September 2017

Why Do Dogs Lick?

There are many different reasons that your dog will lick you, both environmental and biological. Dogs lick their owners, pack members and themselves for many reasons, and if you want to change the behavior, it helps to understand why they do it.

Reasons dogs lick

  • Affection
  • Grooming
  • Communication
  • Attention Seeking
  • Behavior issue
  • Medical issue
  • To show submission
  • Humans can taste good
  • They are rewarded for it

Affection

Most people assume their dog licks them because the dog loves them. And much of the time, they are right. Your dog licks you because they love you and the dog themselves will experience pleasure as well. Licking for affection causes your dog to release pleasurable endorphins that calm and comfort them.

Grooming

Most people think of cats as cleaning when they lick themselves but dogs often lick to clean themselves as well.

Communication

Dogs will lick other dogs to tell them all sorts of things. It could be “I’m hungry” or “I submit to you” as well as “Let’s be friends.” Your dog will do this with you and other people as well, but since humans just aren’t that good at “speaking dog”, we often miss the message. 

Attention seeking

Your dog craves attention from you and will do all kinds of things to get it. It’s really not any different than how kids (and even adults) will act up to get attention from people. A kid might not lick your face to get attention (or maybe they will) but your dog certainly will.

Compulsion

We know that dogs have feelings and emotions similar to humans do, from love to fear and even anxiety. Dogs can exhibit obsessive-compulsive behavior and also suffer from anxiety. Licking can provide stress relief, but obsessive licking won’t cure anxiety and if this is the case, you need to try and treat the root cause.

Medical issue

Dogs who frequently lick their feet may be trying to soothe a persistent itch caused by allergies. Dogs who lick their anal area frequently could be suffering from allergies or may need their anal glands expressed. Consult your veterinarian if you have concerns. 

To show submission

Dogs are pack animals with many related social behaviors. Licking is often a submissive gesture to the dominant pack leader. Your dog may be showing obedience and respect to you and other humans they love.

Humans taste good

You’ve seen your dog lick their bowl, the floor or a surface where food was or a spill happened. Dogs can taste very tiny food particles and it’s possible they could lick you because they taste yummy little bits of food. Sometimes they also enjoy the salt on our skin.

They are rewarded for it

You might be rewarding your dog’s behavior when they lick you. They get attention, they may get a good scratch or rub, maybe even a treat. That’s all positive reinforcement for their licking. As we mentioned before, they may also get some pleasant endorphins from licking, so that is a reward as well.

Most of the time, your dog licking you is very normal behavior. Unless you’re seeing some sort of obsessive behavior, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. 

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Foods That Are Dangerous For Dogs

Foods that are bad for dogs

Many dog owners are known to sneak their best friend some scraps from the dinner table when no one is looking. 

Those cute faces just seem to say “PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE!” and it can be hard to resist.

Some human food can be okay for your dog in small amounts, but others can be dangerous.

In this post, we list human foods that can be unhealthy, dangerous or even toxic to your dog. Read further so you don’t accidentally make your dog sick.

14 Foods Dangerous to Your Dog

Here are some of the worst foods for your dog. They can be very dangerous to their health and have been known to even be fatal to some dogs.

Avocado – The inner avocado is safe for dogs and can even be found in some dog foods. The problem is the skin and leaves. They contain persin, which is an oil-soluble toxin that can be dangerous to non-human mammals. According to the ASPCA, persin may cause “respiratory distress, heart failure, edema”.

Chocolate – Most dog owners know not to give their dog chocolate but it is worth repeating: Chocolate can be toxic to dogs. It contains Theobromine, which can cause a dog to vomit, have diarrhea, become overly thirsty, or even cause abnormal heart rhythms, seizures, tremors, or death. 

Related: Chocolate Overdose: What to do if they find your secret spot 

Macadamia Nuts – Macadamia nuts can make dogs very ill, causing vomiting, tremors, loss of control of body movements (ataxia), weakness, and depression. Symptoms usually show within 12 hours of eating and can last 12 to 48 hours before recovering.

Grapes and Raisins – Grapes are one of the most toxic foods for dogs. Eating grapes can lead to kidney failure and even death. Raisins and grape juice can be even more dangerous because they are in a more concentrated form.

Garlic and Onions – These plants are toxic to dogs in any form, whether fresh, cooked, dried, or powdered. Onions and garlic are part of the allium plant family, which can cause damage to dogs red blood cells and organs. Symptoms include weakness, vomiting, breathlessness, and loss of interest in food.

Sugar-Free Gum & Candy – Sugarless gum and candy is often sweetened with Xylitol, which can be deadly to dogs. According to the VCA, xylitol ingestion causes life-threatening hypoglycemia (dangerously low blood sugar).

Related: How to Clean Your Dog’s Teeth

Raw Meat, Fish, Eggs – Dog ancestors may have eaten raw meat, but your dog shouldn’t. Raw meat contains bacteria that can lead to food poisoning. Raw fish can hide parasites that cause fatal diseases. Raw eggs can contain salmonella or e. coli.

Alcohol – Alcoholic beverages can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.

Citrus Fruits – The stems, leaves, peels, fruit, and seeds of citrus plants (oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit) contain citric acid and oils that can cause irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression if ingested in significant amounts.

Green Tomatoes – Ripe red tomatoes are okay, but unripened green tomatoes and tomato plants contain solanine, a toxin that can cause gastrointestinal distress, lethargy, weakness, and confusion.

Caffeinated Drinks – Caffeine is very unhealthy for dogs and possibly only fatal. This includes coffee and tea, coffee beans and grounds, cocoa, chocolate, colas, and energy drinks. It can cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, restlessness, increased heart rate, fast breathing, and muscle twitches.”

Dairy Products – Many dogs are lactose intolerant and cannot properly digest dairy foods. Too much cheese can cause constipation or diarrhea, obesity, and lasting gastrointestinal issues. 

Yeast Dough – Bread dough needs to rise. If your dog eats it, then the dough will rise in their stomach, stretching the abdomen and causing pain. When the yeast ferments the dough to make it rise, it makes alcohol that can lead to alcohol poisoning.

Salty Snacks – Salty snacks like pretzels and potato chips can make your dog seriously thirsty. It could lead to sodium ion poisoning, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, tremors, high temperature, and seizures and possibly even cause death.

The following is a list of foods that are dangerous to dogs. Even though some foods on this list may be okay in small amounts, we do not recommend feeding your dog these foods.

List of foods you should not feed your dog

  • Alchohol
  • Almonds
  • Avocado
  • Apricot pits
  • Bacon
  • Beer
  • Bones
  • Cheese
  • Cherry pits
  • Chives
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus (peels, leaves, seeds)
  • Coffee
  • Dairy
  • Energy drinks
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peach pits
  • Pecans
  • Plumb pits
  • Popcorn
  • Potatoes (Raw)
  • Potato chips
  • Pretzels
  • Raisins
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Raw meet, fish & eggs
  • Salt
  • Sugar-free gum & candy
  • Tea
  • Tomatoes (green, plants & leaves)
  • Walnuts
  • Wine
  • Yeast dough

To be safe, we don’t recommend you feed your dog any of these foods. If your dog has ingested any of these foods, contact your veterinarian. 


Related Information & Sources: ASPCACanine Journal – DogtimeHumane Society – RoverWebMD