Dogs do a lot of things that dog owners wonder about, and one of those things is licking the bars of their crate. If your dog has been doing this, you’re likely asking the question: Why do dogs lick their cage? Fortunately, we have the answer for you, so you can stop wondering.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Cage?
Dogs like their cage because they may suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety, or a medical issue. Excessive licking is only a problem if the behavior causes harm to your dog.
Common Reasons Dogs Lick Their Cage
Excessive licking is a behavior that concerns many dog owners. Learning about the common reasons for the behavior can help you decide if you should contact your vet.
Dogs suffer from anxiety just like humans do even though their stressors differ slightly from ours. When dogs are worried or nervous, many of them use licking as a coping mechanism. The act of repeatedly licking something like a crate calms them and can cause them to feel much better.
Some dogs suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, which exhibits compulsive behavior – i.e. excessive licking. It can be due to seeing another dog doing it and thinking it’s fun or just finding out that it’s fun and comforting.
Read More: Why Do Yorkies Lick So Much?
Many dogs lick excessively when they are about to be sick in their stomach – either vomiting or about to have diarrhea. The licking soothes them as they deal with the stress of not feeling well.
If your dog suffers from gastrointestinal issues, the answer to why do dogs lick their cage lies in an underlying cause, which needs to be addressed. The issues may be due to food allergies or eating food left out that spoiled before feeding.
A symptom of inflammatory bowel disease is excessive licking. You can learn about that in this study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior.
It’s a good idea to reach out to the vet to identify the cause of the gastrointestinal issues, and then the licking of the cage may stop.
Dogs with hookworm may lick metal to increase their iron levels since hookworms cause iron deficiency. Instead of allowing your dog’s licking behavior continues, ask the vet for a wormer medication to kill the infestation.
PICA is an obsessive behavior that includes eating non-food items to correct a mineral deficiency. PICA can answer the question of why do dogs lick their cage.
In addition to an iron deficiency due to hookworms, a deficiency in zinc can also cause your pup to lick the crate. If the behavior happens once and a while, it may not be a problem, but if the dog behavior continues, it’s important to seek medical attention from a veterinarian.
Poor Crate Training
Licking the crate can help a dog calm themselves, which is why they do it a lot.
A dog trainer can help with reversing the effects of poor crate training. Reach out to one for advice if you believe this is the answer to why do dogs lick their cage.
A dog’s crate can be comforting and peaceful, but after a long time, it can be downright boring. Puppies and adult dogs need to be entertained, so be sure to have some interactive toys inside of the crate for your pup to play with when hanging out in the crate for extended periods of time.
Treat Remnants on the Cage
Peanut butter can get everywhere. If your pup has ever had a peanut butter treat inside of the crate, some of it may have gotten on it. Of course, this explanation of why do dogs lick their cage would only be as long as the peanut butter remains.
Risks of Dogs Licking Their Cage
Licking a crate isn’t free from risks. When licking any material for a prolonged amount of time, it can cause small pieces of it to come off into your dog’s mouth. Whether its metal or wood, it can cause injuries inside of your dog’s mouth or somewhere inside of the body, similar to a piece of string, glass, or another foreign object.
Excessively licking the grates on the kennel should not be ignored.
Related Behaviors to Licking the Cage
Adult dogs that lick the cage may also lick their paws. Paw licking has similar causes to licking a cage minus the mineral deficiencies that licking metal can resolve.
The main reason your dog may be licking his/her paws is anxiety. Just like licking the cage, paw licking is calming. A dog’s anxiety can quickly go away with repetitive behavior.
A dog’s paws can also have interdigital cysts, which can be painful, so a dog can lick to help alleviate the pain. The same goes for any scratches, wounds, or other injuries on the paws.
Aquaphor can be put on a dog’s paws to heal any wounds that may be causing paw licking. However, if licking the cage is also happening with the paw licking, there may be something else going on, so call the vet to ask questions.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Cage
Now you know why do dogs lick their cage, so you can move forward with confidence knowing what to do. You can either work on the behavior itself with an adjustment to crate training or contact the vet.