Why Do Chihuahuas Lick So Much?

Curious, affectionate, and often endearingly quirky, Chihuahuas have a way of capturing our hearts with their unique behaviors. Among these behaviors, their licking stands out as a common and sometimes perplexing trait. So, if you’ve ever wondered, ‘Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?’ you’re not alone.

Chihuahuas mostly lick out of affection, while licking a dog they’ve just met is a sign of submission. Other reasons why Chihuahuas lick include curiosity for how something tastes, grooming, and cleaning themselves.

If Chihuahuas lick excessively, it’s a sign of an issue known as a compulsive disorder. This is caused by boredom, anxiety, pain, and stress. So, it’s essential to know the exact reason behind your Chihuahua’s licking. Here’s how you can identify this behavior:

Why Do Chihuahuas Lick Themselves?

It’s one thing to wonder “why do Chihuahuas lick so much?” and another to focus on the reason why they lick themselves as often as they do. Here are the top 4 reasons.

1. Grooming

The main reason why Chihuahuas lick so much is that they like to stay clean. So, they lick themselves mainly as an act of grooming. The problems arise when your Chihuahua starts excessive licking, and you begin to notice over-grooming.

One way to tell that’s what’s going on is to see if this behavior lasts for hours on end. However, make sure that your Chihuauha’s skin is healthy first, because that may be another reason for excessive licking.

For example, if your Chihuahua has dry skin, they might try ‘fixing’ the problem by licking or scratching. When your Chihuahua does this, they’re attempting to calm themselves down.

Tip: If you keep asking yourself why does my dog lick themselves so much, you can give them something else they can occupy their time with. A stuffed Kong works best to draw their attention to problem-solving, and they get a reward out of it!

2. Boredom

Have you noticed that people have specific ways of dealing with boredom? They usually tap their fingers or feet, similar to why do Chihuahuas lick so much.

While Chihuahuas can’t use the same actions as humans, they do have a way of showing us something is up in their inner world.

You will normally see a Chihuahua’s boredom manifested in different ways, such as compulsive licking, chewing, or biting. All of these are detrimental to your dog and home, so try to keep your Chihuahua engaged with enough exercise and playtime.

3. Anxiety

Anxiety is also something not only related to humans but also to our canine friends.

Whenever a Chihuahua is anxious, they begin licking themselves as a subconscious attempt to deal with the stress and psychological discomfort.

If you notice that your Chihuahua is experiencing anxiety, making the environment as stress-free as possible is essential. First, make sure the pup is in a quiet room without too much noise coming from the outside.

The reason why do Chihuahuas lick so much? Illustrated by a kid hugging a Chi
The reason why do Chihuahuas lick so much? Illustrated by a kid hugging a Chi

You can also try to dim the lights at night before you go to bed to make it even more comfortable and relaxing for your dog. If your Chihuahua has separation anxiety, focus on positive reinforcement to reassure them that you’re here to stay.

Also, pay attention to your movements when you’re around your Chihuahua. Moving slower and calmer around them generally is better if they’re easily stressed. After all, dogs tend to pick up on the energy their owners give out.

4. Health Issues

There’s always the possibility that your Chihuahua licks themselves a lot because they’re experiencing physical discomfort. This could either be due to an internal or external cause. Here are some examples of why do Chihuahuas lick so much in this regard:

When your Chihuahua has something stuck in its paws – such as a thorn or a sharp piece of wood – it will try to get rid of it. They will either chew their paw or lick excessively. This is one example of an external cause.

Internal causes for Chihuahua licking include health issues. Your Chihuahua may have a thyroid deficiency or its body produces too much cortisol. Both of these issues come down to hormonal imbalances that a vet can identify best.

Then, you have the issue with parasites such as ticks, fleas, and mites. These parasites could cause your Chihuahua to feel bothered and try to get rid of the problem by licking. That’s why, after each walk, always check for ticks or fleas.

If you have a reason to believe that parasites are bothering your Chihuahua, waste no time and schedule an emergency vet visit. Your veterinarian will choose an appropriate treatment for your Chihuahua’s safety, and they may start licking themselves less.

Why do Chihuahuas lick their paws? Illustrated by a tiny beige Chi
Why do Chihuahuas lick their paws? Illustrated by a tiny beige Chi

Why Do Chihuahuas Lick Their Paws?

Another behavior commonly asked by people who wonder why Chihuahuas lick so much is paw-licking. Before we talk about the why’s, let’s identify when this happens:

Are your Chi’s paws pink? Do you notice any loss of hair there? If yes, your Chihuahua might be suffering from an allergy. A dog’s allergy can be caused by grass, pollen, dander, dust, detergents, medicine, flea removal products, or food ingredients.

Chihuahua allergies make the paws of your pup itch excessively, which is why they lick them so much. The main issue with this behavior is that your little Chihuahua could develop canine acral lick dermatitis (ALD), also known as lick granuloma.

So, always clean your Chihuahua’s paws with dog wipes after you return home from a walk And, if you notice any wounds, change of color of the paws, or soreness, seek veterinary help.

Why Do Chihuahuas Lick Your Feet?

Now, the reasons why Chihuahuas lick feet so much are different and way less worrying.

If you’ve just come out of the shower, your Chihuahua could be drawn to the aroma of the lotion or soap you have used.

Chihuahuas generally love scents, so they may be drawn to your skin’s natural aroma. Your Chihuahua might even enjoy your smelly feet after they’ve been in shoes all day.

Whether you’ve been wearing leather shoes or sneakers, your feet get sweaty. As such, they have a particular smell that your Chihuahua distinguishes, loves, and licks!

Why do Chihuahuas Lick Me?

If your Chihuahua licking has moved on up from your feet to the rest of your body (including your face), there are some very interesting reasons why that happens.

1. Affection & Respect

Chihuahuas lick their owners to show them affection and respect. This behavior is connected with their experiences during early puppyhood. Mother dogs lick their litters, and this stimulates defecation and urination. Plus, it’s how the Mom cleans her young.

These are signs of caregiving. When you get a Chihuahua puppy, chances are you will be licked. This will make you both feel closer and strengthen your bond. After all, it’s the most natural behavior, and to a great extent, it’s part of being a dog.

If you’re not entirely okay with being licked, you can teach your Chihuahua to stop licking when it hears a command such as ‘enough’ or ‘stop.’ While this will allow your Chi to follow its instincts, it will also ensure boundaries between you two.

2. Submission

Submission is typical behavior for wolves and dogs – even small but mighty Chihuahuas. As wolves grow up, they will start licking the snouts of other adults. This means they acknowledge the other wolf is more dominant, and they respect that.

Your Chihuahua might be trying to show you she recognizes you as the leader in the house. In this case, you’re the dominant wolf, and she’s the submissive cub.

Why do Chihuahuas lick so much? Illustrated by a Chi puppy licking his mom
Why do Chihuahuas lick so much? Illustrated by a Chi puppy licking his mom

Why Chihuahuas Lick So Much

Reason after reason, we have explored the long-standing question: “why do Chihuahuas lick so much?” The adorable and often amusing habit of excessive licking in Chihuahuas can stem from a variety of reasons, each rooted in their instincts, emotions, and communication methods.

By understanding the underlying motivations behind this behavior, Chihuahua owners can foster a stronger bond with their furry companions and ensure their well-being.

So, the next time you find yourself pondering why do Chihuahuas lick so much, note that this simple action carries a world of meanings, expressions, and affections that enrich the relationship between Chis and their devoted human companions.