Shih Tzus are known for their affectionate and loving personalities, and licking is often a way for them to show their love and affection. However, excessive licking can also be a sign of underlying health or behavioral issues. In this article, we’ll explore some of the reasons why Shih Tzus may lick their owners excessively.
Why does my Shih Tzu lick me so much?
Affection and bonding
Shih Tzus are affectionate dogs that love to be close to their owners. Licking is a natural behavior for dogs to show affection and bonding. When your Shih Tzu licks you, they are expressing their love and affection towards you. It’s important to reciprocate this affection by giving them attention, cuddles, and petting.
Shih Tzus are social dogs that crave attention from their owners. If your Shih Tzu is licking you excessively, it may be a sign that they want attention or interaction with you. This could be a result of boredom, lack of exercise, or separation anxiety. To address this, make sure your Shih Tzu is getting enough attention, exercise, and playtime. If you’re away from home for long periods, consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to keep your Shih Tzu company.
Anxiety and stress
Shih Tzus are sensitive dogs that can experience anxiety and stress in response to various triggers, such as loud noises, unfamiliar people or animals, or changes in their routine. Excessive licking can be a sign of anxiety or stress, and it may be accompanied by other symptoms such as panting, pacing, or trembling. To help your Shih Tzu cope with anxiety and stress, try to identify the triggers and avoid them if possible. You can also use calming aids such as pheromone diffusers or supplements to help your Shih Tzu relax.
Excessive licking can also be a sign of underlying medical issues in Shih Tzus. For example, skin allergies or infections can cause itching and discomfort, leading to excessive licking and chewing. Dental problems such as tooth decay or gum disease can also cause excessive licking of the mouth area. If you notice that your Shih Tzu is licking a specific area excessively, take them to the vet to rule out any medical issues.
Nutritional deficiencies can also cause excessive licking in Shih Tzus. For example, if your Shih Tzu is lacking essential vitamins and minerals, they may try to compensate by licking objects or surfaces that contain those nutrients. To address this, make sure your Shih Tzu is getting a balanced and nutritious diet that meets their specific needs. Consult with your vet to determine the best diet for your Shih Tzu.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
In rare cases, excessive licking in Shih Tzus may be a sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This is a behavioral disorder that can cause dogs to engage in repetitive and compulsive behaviors, such as licking, chewing, or tail chasing. If you suspect that your Shih Tzu may have OCD, consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist for diagnosis and treatment.
In summary, excessive licking in Shih Tzus can have various causes, including affection and bonding, attention seeking, anxiety and stress, medical issues, nutritional deficiencies, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you notice that your Shih Tzu is licking excessively, observe their behavior and look for any other symptoms. If you’re unsure of the cause, consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist for diagnosis and treatment. With proper care and attention, your Shih Tzu will continue to be a loving and affectionate companion for many years to come.