Mabel the Rescue Dog

Encourage Dog Lovers to Adopt 💕

Right before I go to sleep, I tend to lick myself a lot. For a while, I’m sure it bothered Molly since I sleep right next to her, but now, I’m sure she’s used to it. Sometimes I lick my paws, my legs, or even my butt, and I know many dogs are the same way. So, is there a specific reason for this?

Normal Licking at Night

Some dogs lick themselves when they’re bored. So, if your dog isn’t ready for bed, they might lick themselves as a way to pass the time. A lot of the time, this is why I do it. When I’m bored, I also tend to lick people or furniture too. Sadly, I’m not allowed to lick our new couch though.

However, I recently saw on Rover’s blog that some dogs lick before bed due to instinct. As puppies, dogs get licked by their moms, often before they sleep. When your dog licks, it could be related to their memories of their mom. It could also just mean that they’re trying to clean themselves like their mom used to clean them.

If the licking is just occasional and in different areas of their body, then there’s likely not a cause for concern. Yet, if your dog’s licking increases, that’s a different story.

When to be Concerned

Excessive licking could be a sign that your dog is in pain. If a certain area of your dog’s body hurts, then they may repeatedly lick it to try and soothe the area. If they start licking more than usual, then you should pay attention to what area they’re focusing on.

Parasites and infected anal glands are the most common reasons for increased licking. Bugs like fleas are more active at night, so you should check your dog for critters before bed to ensure that they’re safe. If you can’t find the reason for licking, then you should visit your vet if it doesn’t go away. They can help you get to the bottom of it.

Allergies are also a common cause for licking, so if your dog only licks at night time, then they might be allergic to the detergent used on the sheets or something else in your bedroom. If that’s the case, try to find the allergen and eliminate it.

Should You Try to Prevent Licking?

If the licking is occasional and just part your dog’s regular routine, then there’s no need to prevent it unless it bothers you. As I mentioned before, licking is often a sign of boredom, so make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise before bed. That way, they’ll be tired enough to sleep right away.

However, if the licking is unusual, then you should seek help as soon as you can. Excessive licking is often the sign of an early medical problem, so it’s important to catch it before those symptoms worsen. Remember, dogs can’t talk to humans, so it’s up to you to recognize our behaviors and help us as needed.

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2 thoughts on “Why Do Some Dogs Lick Themselves Before Bed?

  1. Charity says:

    This is absolutely true. My dog didn’t lick much but other dogs I’ve had do. It’s tricky sometimes because they can’t tell us why. I have a question. Do you know if it’s possible to request a specific breed when you are contacting shelters/rescues? Please email me a response. Thank you.


    1. I agree, things would be much easier if dogs could just talk to us. As for your question – yes, it’s possible to find specific breeds at rescues and shelters, but depending on the breed, you might have to travel farther to find what you’re looking for. I know some places even have breed-specific rescues. I personally think the easiest way to find specific adoptable dogs near you is on – on there you can search by breed, size, and age, which could make your search easier. I’ve noticed that there are less dogs available right now because more people seem to be getting dogs during the coronavirus, but if you’re patient, the right dog will definitely come along. I hope this helps!


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