Dachshunds are famous or infamous for a variety of breed characteristics, like their long backs, expert noses, and a stubborn streak even longer than that sausage-shaped spine.
Less well-known is that dachshunds are expert lickers. We have two, and those long noses get into everything.
But, why do dachshunds lick so much? Let’s explore some of the main causes.
Why Do Dachshunds Lick So Much?
This happens for various reasons. Among other things, dachshunds are notoriously neurotic dogs, and licking can become an obsessive behavior.
But that’s not the only reason your dachshund licks extensively. It may be your dachshund’s way of getting attention, or it might be a sign there’s something wrong with your beloved doxie.
Let’s take a closer look at why they do this.
One reason your dachshund licks so much is because of nausea. This won’t be true every time your dachshund licks you, themselves, or a pet spot on the floor, but if your dog recently gobbled something they shouldn’t, nausea might be the outcome. It might also explain why your dachshund licks so much.
You have to think about nausea-induced floor-licking as a dog’s version of our compulsion to swallow when struck by nausea. The repetitive mouth movement is soothing and can help alleviate symptoms.
Your Dachshund Wants Attention
Of course, illness isn’t always the explanation for why dachshunds lick so much. Dachshunds are fabulously clownish dogs, and they’re extremely devoted. They like nothing better than to have you at the center of their little dachshund universe.
That being the case, sometimes your dachshund licks you to get your attention.
Asking for Food
If the part of you your dachshund licks routinely is your face, they might be asking for food. Doxies love their food almost as much as they love their people, and when they can combine those two loves, nothing makes them happier.
But why lick your face? Incredible as it seems, puppies get a significant part of their nutrients from the food their mother regurgitates for them. The regurgitated food is often easier for young puppies to digest than solids. Your dachshund might remember this and try to persuade you to do the same thing.
While some dachshunds lick as much as they do out of a mercurial desire for food or affection, others just want you to smell like them.
One way dachshunds do that is by washing you. Like many animals, their saliva contains scent markers, and when they lick you, whether on the hands, face, or feet, those markers transfer to you. Now there’s no chance a strange dog will think you don’t have a dog of your own.
This grooming habit isn’t limited to humans, either. Our dachshunds are a bonded pair, and washing one another is an elaborate and routine procedure. At first we, too, found ourselves asking, “Why do dachshunds lick so much?”
But when it transpired the licking created a herd smell, it made sense. Grooming is Dachshund for “I love you.”
Note that if you have multiple dachshunds, it’s normal to find one doxie acting as self-appointed “groomer” to the others. This is usually the dominant half of your bonded pair, while the dog on the receiving end of the bath is deferential to their bather.
Your Dachshund Is Bored
Another answer is that your dachshund is bored.
There’s a popular misconception that dachshunds are low-maintenance dogs because they are little. But dachshunds need a surprising amount of energy and entertainment for their size. Without enough to occupy them, your dachshund may start licking compulsively as a way of entertaining themselves.
Other signs of boredom can include:
- Inappropriate chewing
- Unrolling spools of toilet paper
- Excessive barking
There are various ways to combat boredom and stop your dachshund from licking so much. Long, rambling walks can provide appropriate physical exertion, while chew and puzzle toys offer mental stimulus.
If you suspect your dachshund licks so much out of boredom, it’s time to intervene. When you see them licking compulsively, offer them a kong full of treats or a puzzle toy.
As they receive more environmental enrichment, the licking should decrease.
Your Dachshund Is Stressed
Yet another reason why your dachshund licks so much is because of stress. Stress can be brought on by various factors, but the common denominator is typically a significant change, like:
- Death in the family
- New family member
- Moving house
Dachshunds are infamously anxious dogs, and sometimes they lick as much as they do to self-soothe. As discussed, there are scent-markers in their saliva, and a bit of bathing releases those. You won’t notice the smell, but your dachshund does, and they find it therapeutic.
There are various ways to handle canine stress, but one of the more effective is using pheromone dispensers. These help prevent your dachshund licking so much because the scent-marker your dachshund is looking for is being released into the environment without them expending any effort.
Other signs of stress include:
- Inappropriate elimination
- Excessive barking
Another reason why your dachshund might be licking so much is because of a parasite, like:
Many of these parasites trigger dermatological symptoms like hives or itchy skin. To get relief from the itching, your dachshund licks itself compulsively to treat the problem.
Unfortunately for your doxie, while licking offers temporary relief, it doesn’t solve the problem. Pay attention to where your dachshund licks most often. The base of the tail is a favorite hide-out for fleas, and accessible to a doxie twisted into just the right pose. If that’s the site of recurrent licking, it’s time to call the vet and ask for a dose of flea and tick treatment.
Allergies are another condition that triggers itchy, irritated skin for your dachshund. Food allergies, while tricky to parse, are usually recognizable because the symptoms get exacerbated after a meal.
However, if your dachshund has an environmental allergy, getting to the root of it may be differently challenging. Shampoos for sensitive skin can help, as can a visit to your vet.
Finding out what’s causing your dachshund’s frequent licking requires a thorough knowledge of your dog. For instance, if they aren’t exhibiting other symptoms, you can safely rule out an underlying health condition.
The best thing you can do is know what constitutes a normal amount of licking from your dachshund. If you notice any sudden changes, ring the vet. And in the meantime, good luck persuading your dachshund that their dinner comes out of a tin and not from you. Our dachshunds remain unconvinced.