why do dogs lick their toys

why do dogs lick their toys


Why Do Dogs Lick Their Toys?


You’ve probably seen your dog licking their toys and wondered why they do it. Is it just because they’re a dog, or is there a deeper meaning behind it? Well, to satisfy your curiosity, let’s dive into why your furry friend might be doing this.

1. It’s a Form of Play

Toys are a significant part of your dog’s life. They provide a source of entertainment, mental stimulation, and exercise. When dogs lick their toys, it could simply be a part of their play routine. Dogs use their tongues as humans use their hands, exploring and interacting with their environment.

2. It’s a Way to Clean Their Teeth

Believe it or not, licking their toys can help dogs clean their teeth. The act of licking can remove food particles and plaque, promoting better oral health. You may have noticed that:

  • Some toys are specially designed to clean a dog’s teeth.
  • Dogs often favor these types of toys for licking.

3. It’s a Source of Comfort

Dogs may also lick their toys for comfort. It’s similar to how some children become attached to certain blankets or stuffed animals. When your dog licks their toys, it can:

  1. Help them combat anxiety.
  2. Create a sense of familiarity and safety.

4. It’s a Sign of Possession

Dogs are territorial creatures. They may lick their toys to mark them as their own, sending a clear message to other pets in the house. This behavior is more common in multi-pet households.

Behavior Meaning
Licking Marking territory
Ignoring No interest

5. It’s a Hunting Instinct

In the wild, canines would lick their prey. This instinctual behavior might carry over to your domesticated pet, who sees their toy as a surrogate prey. Licking the toy is a way of ‘tasting’ their catch.


Q: Should I be concerned if my dog is excessively licking their toys?

A: If your dog is licking their toys to the point of obsession, it might be worth discussing with a vet. It could indicate anxiety or other health issues.

Q: What can I do if my dog is damaging toys by excessive licking?

A: Consider investing in more durable toys that can withstand the extra attention.

Q: Are certain breeds more prone to this behavior?

A: Not particularly. This behavior can be seen across different breeds.

Q: Can I discourage my dog from licking their toys?

A: If the behavior isn’t causing any harm, it’s best to let your dog be. If it becomes a problem, consult with a professional trainer or a vet.

In conclusion, dogs licking their toys is a normal behavior that serves various purposes. Whether it’s for play, dental hygiene, comfort, possession, or instinct, it’s just another lovable quirk in your canine companion’s behavior.