If you are a French bulldog parent, you know how much your fur baby likes to lick. You also understand that it has poor licking standards and choices – from its own feet to other dogs’ pee.
My French bulldog licks everything – why? There are many reasons why French bulldogs lick everything. Some reasons like air licking due to the Flehmen response or couch-licking because of a grease stain are entirely normal. However, other reasons stem from either physical (allergies) or behavioral issues (anxiety), thus warranting prompt and adequate professional attention.
In this article, we will review the most common reasons why French bulldogs lick everything, as well as the objects towards which the licking is most intensely directed. Finally, we will give tips on how to stop your Frenchie from licking everything.
REASONS WHY FRENCH BULLDOGS LICK EVERYTHING
The reasons why French bulldogs lick everything can be classified as normal and abnormal. The group of abnormal reasons is further classified into physical and behavioral causes.
Normal causes for licking
- Hunger and thirst
- Eating something sticky
- Flehmen response.
Abnormal physical causes of licking
- Allergic reactions
- Gastrointestinal issues.
Abnormal behavioral causes of licking
- Confusion, stress, and anxiety
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Attention-seeking behavior.
WHY DO FRENCH BULLDOGS LICK THEIR PAWS SO MUCH?
Dogs generally lick their paws because of two reasons – there is something on them or in them.
If your French bulldog is licking its paws, consider the behavior is a red flag and give your trusted vet a call. Accompanying signs like redness, slimy or foul-smelling discharge, pus, blood, and open sores are also concerning.
Sometimes, the primary issue can be more minor than the self-inflicted consequences made by your Frenchie’s tenacious licking. Therefore, it is imperative to contact your vet as soon as you notice something wrong is going on with your French bulldog’s paws.
For example, your French bulldog might have stepped in the water while walking, and now it is licking its paws to clean them up.
It is also possible that your French bulldog stepped on a foxtail, and now this nasty foreign body is lodged deep into its paw. To prevent or timely manage such scenarios, always wipe your Frenchie’s paws after going out and give them a quick examination (foxtails usually get embedded between the toes).
The second most common reason for paw licking is allergy. French bulldogs are prone to an array of different allergic reactions – from seasonal and contact allergies to atopic dermatitis and food intolerances. Unlike in people, allergies in dogs usually manifest on the skin, causing excessive itchiness and irritation of the ears and paws.
French bulldogs are also likely to develop yeast infections. The yeast infection can develop due to excessive moisture in the feet area or as a result of prolonged licking and disturbance of the natural microflora balance on the feet skin.
WHY DO FRENCH BULLDOGS LICK YOUR FEET?
As gross as it may sound, French Bulldogs like to lick people’s feet. There are several reasons Frenchies are fascinated and fond of licking feet.
French bulldogs find this activity to be an exceptionally efficient attention-seeking method. For example, if you are watching your favorite TV show and ignoring your bored Frenchie, licking your feet will probably make you take your eyes off the screen and talk to your French bulldog.
Intriguing smells (and tastes)
Some French bulldogs like licking feet simply because they find the feet smell intriguing. Sometimes we are not even aware that our feet got the smell of our shoes and socks.
However, your Frenchie’s nose is much more powerful and can pick up the scent changes. Additionally, if sweaty, the feet are covered in salt, and once again, it is gross, but French bulldogs find that salt quite tasty.
Finally, there are French bulldogs who like licking feet because they know that it is licking-acceptable. Namely, if you dislike receiving slobbery kisses and having your Frenchie lick your face but do not mind having your feet licked, your bulldog will soon learn the difference and focus on the areas it can lick without being scolded.
WHY DOES MY FRENCH BULLDOG LICK THE COUCH?
Unless you dropped a greasy piece of food on the couch, there is no logical and objective reason why your French bulldog would obsessively lick the couch.
However, once the logical food factor is eliminated, there are several potential and not-so-logical options.
The most common reason is boredom. What a bored dog lacks in entertainment suffices in imagination.
If your Frenchie feels neglected and bored, it can engage in various self-entertaining behaviors (from chewing your shoes to licking the couch or other furniture). Considering most self-entertaining ideas in dogs are destructive, couch-licking can be regarded as a relatively benign alternative.
Anxiety and stress
The second reason is anxiety or stress. French bulldogs and dogs, in general, are prone to different forms of fear, and one of the coping mechanisms is engaging in repetitive activities – like licking, biting, chewing.
If your French bulldog is excessively licking because of anxiety, the couch may not be the only target. Basically, licking any surface in the house will provide comfort and relief.
Finally, some French bulldogs suffer from a specific form of obsessive-compulsive behavior called excessive furniture licking. Think of your dog’s couch licking as the canine equivalent of nail-biting or checking the lock a strict number of times before leaving the house.
If your Frenchie cannot be distracted from the couch-licking, licks intensely, and seems spaced out, it is probably suffering from excessive furniture licking.
Obsessive-compulsive disorders in dogs are considered severe behavioral issues and warrant close working with a licensed canine behaviorist.
WHY DOES MY FRENCH BULLDOG LICK THE AIR?
If licking the couch was weird, just imagine your French bulldog licking the air. Well, surprisingly, dogs have several (not so illogical) reasons for licking the air.
Picking up a scent
Like all dogs, French bulldogs have a so-called Jacobson organ – a vomeronasal organ responsible for picking up and analyzing scents.
If your Frenchie finds itself in a new environment and suddenly starts licking the air while wrinkling its nose and curling back its lips, it tries to pick up as much scent as possible for the Jacobson organ. The overall experience is called Flehmen response.
As already described, French bulldogs with skin conditions (especially allergies) are very likely to engage in excessive paw licking. However, if you have repeatedly scolded your Frenchie for licking its paws, it may redirect its licking attention on something else – the air.
Foreign body in the mouth roof
French bulldogs are willing to put just about anything in their big mouths, and sometimes that anything can get stuck in the roof of the mouth.
For example, if your Frenchie was playing with a wood stick, a fragment may get lodged between the teeth of the upper jaw or the mouth rooftop. In such cases, the air licking is a misguided effort to get rid of the foreign object.
WHY DOES MY FRENCH BULLDOG LICK OTHER DOGS’ PEE?
Even the idea of licking pee is disturbingly gross. However, French bulldogs and dogs in general disagree. Believe it or not, dogs find licking pee not only exciting but practical activity as the dog’s pee holds valuable information.
The pee consists of uric acid, ammonia, hormones, and bacteria (and some sugar in diabetic dogs). From an information-gathering point of view, uric acid and ammonia are useless. However, the bacteria and hormones can tell a lot about the dog that produced the urine – gender, heat availability, and even overall health status.
Just because your French bulldog likes licking other dogs’ pee, it does not mean you should encourage this behavior. Although the behavior is generally harmless for healthy Frenchies, dogs with compromised immune systems can quickly require leptospirosis by licking the pee of infected dogs.
It is worth mentioning that male intact (non-neutered) French bulldogs are more likely to lick other dogs’ pee than fixed males and females in general. This is because intact males constantly search for breeding partners, and other dogs’ pee serves as reliable direction signs.
HOW CAN I GET MY FRENCH BULLDOG TO STOP LICKING EVERYTHING?
To stop the licking behavior, you must determine the trigger. It is impossible to get your French bulldog to stop licking everything unless you know where the licking urge comes from.
Sometimes, determining the source of the problem requires consulting with your vet. If the vet decides there is nothing physically wrong with your Frenchie, he/she will refer you to a licensed canine behaviorist.
Licking is a normal part of your French bulldog’s behavior. However, licking is a red flag warranting further investigation when excessive or directed toward specific objects or times.
If your Frenchie is suddenly obsessed with licking, it is advisable to seek professional help and get to the bottom of the problem. Sometimes, the problem is minor and easily solvable. However, other times you will need to put extra effort and even collaborate with a canine behaviorist to manage the situation.