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dog's new bizarre licking habit lasts for hours, then starts again

  1. #1

    dog's new bizarre licking habit lasts for hours, then starts again

    First off, (apologies for long post) hello to the fellow folks who're also living in their dog's home & thank you for the reading entertainment & supplying a few tips you've unknowingly given me during my 5 months of surfing!

    Second, I've wanted to post about my 10 year-old Malteese's strange behavior for a week but it almost sounds too stupid to ask about or sound like a helicopter doggy-mom. I may be slightly stupid & my doggies may be slightly spolied, but I do not helicopter over my dogs- I prefer to call it 'peeking with one eye' from my luxury jet I also have a 14 year-old Poodle. My question...

    Early last week my Malteese began licking whatever fabric, including carpet, that he's closest to until he is *literally* panting heavily, after 15-20 min. As soon as he's got the panting under control, he starts over & only stops again when panting again, wash, rinse, repeat. He won't stop for water & he'll do this cycle for hours unless I interrupt for outside time, etc. or because the sound of him licking my pillow doesn't work well with me trying to sleep. Day and night he does this but when he decides he's done, he sleeps soundly until disturbed but obviously, he's losing sleep. He previously slept through the night.

    When he won't stop the freakish fabric licking long enough to even drink water, I carry him to his water dish but most times, he's uninterested. Two nights ago I intentionally stayed awake to watch him, thinking surely he naps between OCD licking my pillows, sheets & blankets? No. He licked between panting from midnight until just after daylight. On a few occasions, I made him stop because it's just weird! He just moved elsewhere & started over. After the 2nd day of this, the lack of interest in water led me to finally start putting him on my bed & offering water from a small bowl. Only at those times does he drink the typical amount he used to. Today is day 8 of his new fetish. If I wasn't clear enough, he will walk to his water bowl & happily fill up by himself 1-2 times daily.

    Nothing has changed in his environment & outside of water issue & getting to know fabrics intimately, I've noticed no other changes. Besides prefering to only lick blankets when indoors & awake. My dog is a carpet licker, it's bizarre & really, it puts me in the mind of mental health issues of humans- OCD, etc. Should I be concerned? He seems happy so should I quit interfering during his alone time with fabrics? Am I crazy? Is he? It is me, isn't it?

    Seriously, thank you for any advice. Oh, no I'm not pranking the forum, I'm asking for advice or opinions because I'm quite concerned after a week of this.

  2. #2
    Well, this sure is embarrassing! Thousands of dog lovers here that must think I'm either a nut, a troll, or both. If no one has any advice or suggestions by Monday, I'm going to call my vet. He already knows I'm a bit of a nutter but overlooks it.

    Again, thanks!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Sarah, sometimes licking fabrics could be a sign of heartburn. My dog wasn't licking material, but she did have signs of heartburn. I gave her a half of a Ranitidine (150mg) tablet, and she was a 50 pound dog. It seemed to help, and my vet said it was fine to give it. With a Maltese, I'd probably try 1/4 tablet. Good luck, don't think you're a nutter at all, LOL!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Sounds like your dog is looking for roughage. How is his poop? Any changes? Check his stomach. Does it move irregularly than before? It could be an upset stomach, too.

    Some dogs try to eat grass in order to regurgitate something they've eaten. Has he dried doing this in a lawn or a grassy environment?

    Finally, I definitely suggest a visit to the doctor. It could be a symptom of something else.

    Just in case the vetty narrows it down to behavioral issues, try doing this. Make a concoction made of lemon and water... some say 1 part lemon and 10 parts water is enough, I on the other hand prefer a stronger blend of citrus... Try spritzing this to the places he obsessively licks and see if it deters him. If it doesn't increased the 1 part lemon zest to 2... to 3... to 4... until he decides the smell isn't worth it. Finally, if lemon doesn't work, use vinegar in your concoction instead.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    That is an odd behavior. That or it could be some sort of security issue.

Please reply to this thread with any new information or opinions.

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