Why Do Huskies Lick So Much? (6 Most Common Reasons)

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This article has been fact-checked by Dr. Dilber Hussain, DVM, to ensure we're providing the most up-to-date guidance. READ MORE

It’s normal for dogs to lick, but it becomes problematic when they lick excessively. If your husky is spending a lot of time licking, it’s natural to wonder if it’s a sign of a problem; but why do huskies lick so much?

Huskies lick for a variety of reasons. They can lick excessively due to stress, boredom, allergies, skin issues, and pain.

Let’s take a look at when your husky’s licking is problematic, and what you can do to help them.

Is It Normal For Huskies To Lick A Lot?

Licking is a natural instinct for dogs. One of the reasons for this is that it makes them feel good. When your dog licks, their brain releases endorphins.

These endorphins make your pooch feel happy and calm. Like us, dogs will naturally engage in behaviors that make them feel good.

It’s normal for a husky to lick to show affection, explore their world, or groom itself. How much licking is normal will vary a bit from dog to dog.

Huskies do tend to lick more than most breeds. They are meticulous groomers. They are highly energetic and curious. They are also very affectionate.

This means that some licking is perfectly normal for your husky. They tend to lick their owners, items in their environment, and their own bodies regularly.

Why your husky licks will vary based on what they are licking. They lick their owners to show affection and to gather more information about you, for example.

If they are licking an object, it’s usually to learn more about it. It allows them to smell and taste the item better.

They will lick themselves as a part of their regular grooming as well.

However, if they are licking for other reasons, this isn’t normal. It’s also not normal for them to lick excessively.

If your husky seems to lick all the time, or very intensely, this is considered excessive. Another sign of problematic licking is sores or lesions on their skin due to licking.

6 Reasons Why Huskies Lick

Now that you know the normal reasons huskies lick, let’s take a look at what can cause your husky to lick too much.

The most common reasons for excessive licking include:

  1. Anxiety or Boredom
  2. Allergies
  3. Skin Issues 
  4. Pain 
  5. Naseua
  6. OCD

1. Anxiety Or Boredom

Your husky may lick when they are stressed, anxious, or bored. Because licking releases endorphins, it’s an effective self-comforting mechanism.

If this is the cause, your husky may lick themselves, you, or objects around your home.

Huskies are prone to separation anxiety, which affects 14% of dogs on average but huskies more than most. If your husky licks too much when you are away, this is probably the cause.

Huskies can also become anxious due to stressful situations, like loud noises or unfamiliar places.

In addition to licking, signs of anxiety include being destructive, potty accidents, panting, drooling, and pacing.

Boredom is also a common cause of dog licking. Huskies require lots of physical and mental stimulation. If they don’t get enough physical or mental exercise, they will become bored.

Huskies can also become destructive due to boredom. Other signs include pacing, over-excitement, and panting.

2. Allergies

Your husky may be licking itself due to allergies. Food or environmental allergies are one of the most common causes of itching in dogs.

When your pooch itches, it’s natural for them to scratch and lick the area that itches.

Allergies can cause your husky to have a runny nose, sneezing, rash, and wheezing.

3. Skin Issues

Skin issues can also cause your husky to lick excessively. Fleas or mites are often the cause. These parasites cause your pooch to itch, which causes them to lick the affected area.

If this is the cause, you’ll likely notice them biting at themselves intensely as well.

Skin infections can also trigger licking. You may notice a skin lesion, or hair loss in the area. Your husky will lick the area to keep it clean and help prevent infection.

4.  Pain

Pain is another cause of frequent licking. This is partly because licking is comforting for your pooch. It’s also a natural instinct. If you get a bruise, you may find yourself rubbing the area with your hand. Since huskies don’t have hands, they lick instead.

You may notice other signs of pain, including whining, limping, or stiffness when moving.

Pain can also be caused by an internal issue. These issues include problems with the anal gland and urinary tract infections. In this case, your husky will lick the problem area often.

You may also notice them having difficulty peeing, peeing more often, or dragging their butt on the ground.

5. Nausea

Nausea can also cause your husky to lick, according to PetMD. This typically causes them to lick the air or soft materials like carpet or bedding. They may also lick their lips.

Other signs of nausea include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and loss of appetite.

6. Obsessive Compulsive Licking

You’ve heard of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, in humans. However, you may not be aware that huskies can also develop this issue.

This is often triggered by chronic stress or anxiety, but there’s not always a clear cause.

OCD can cause your pooch to lick excessively. They may lick you, items around the house, or themselves. If they seem unable to stop or control their behavior, OCD may be the issue.

A Siberian husky in a field

How To Stop A Husky Licking – 6 Best Tips

If your husky is licking too much, there are some steps you can take to minimize licking.

1. Investigate And Observe

The first step to stopping husky licking is to investigate and observe their behavior. Do they lick a certain area? Do they lick at a certain time? Do certain situations tend to trigger the licking?

Have you noticed any other symptoms, like scratching, a rash, or behavioral changes? These questions will help you determine the cause of the licking.

2. Eliminate Parasites

If fleas have your husky itching and licking, you’ll need to get rid of them. Flea dips and flea control medications can get rid of these pests.

If mites are the issue, you can try an over-the-counter treatment. However, prescription mite medication may be required.

3. Training

If your husky is licking because it’s become a habit, or there’s a behavioral cause, like anxiety, training can be helpful.

You’ll use a command like “come” or “look” to get your husky attention. When they follow the command, they should stop licking. Then, you reward them.

You should also avoid rewarding them while they are licking. Huskies love attention, so giving them attention while they are licking can inadvertently encourage the behavior.

4. Relieving Anxiety

If anxiety or stress is causing your pooch to lick excessively, there are some ways to address this.

If possible, reduce or eliminate the cause of anxiety. Of course, this isn’t practical in many situations.

Severe anxiety can be treated with medication from your veterinarian.

You can also try CBD oil, a thundershirt, or calming pheromones.

If separation anxiety is the problem, you can leave an item of clothing that you’ve worn with them when you leave. You can also try leaving for short periods, to get them more comfortable with you being gone.

Distractions are also helpful for anxiety. You can try turning on doggie TV, and providing them with toys when they are stressed.

5. Busting Boredom

If boredom is the cause of your husky’s licking, it’s helpful to provide them with more exercise and mental stimulation. Walks, running, and fetch are a few ways to keep them active.

You can give them mental exercise by teaching them commands, playing hide and seek, and providing them with puzzle toys.

6. Calming Nausea

If your husky has nausea, you may be able to treat it at home. If the nausea is severe, lasts for more than 24 hours, or is accompanied by fever or lethargy, contact your vet.

It’s also a good idea to speak to your vet before giving them any human medication.

Foods that are easy on the stomach can also help. 1 part chicken to 3 parts rice is a great choice for mealtime. Canned pumpkin can also help settle their tummy.

When To Contact A Veterinarian

If your husky is licking due to a physical issue, including allergies, pain, or skin issues, you should contact your veterinarian.

You should also speak with your vet if they are licking enough to cause hair loss or lesions on their skin, regardless of the cause.

If you can’t identify the cause of the licking, this also requires a vet visit. Your vet can identify, or rule out, any physical causes of licking.

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About The Author

Hi, I’m Carrie! I’ve always had a special connection with nature, and animals of all shapes and sizes in particular. I’ve been a writer for nearly a decade and recently joined the Malamute Mom team. I love providing information to other dog lovers.

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