Why Do Havanese Dogs Lick So Much? [Endless Affection Or?]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Have you ever found yourself cuddling with your adorable Havanese companion, only to be inundated with an incessant shower of affectionate licks?

While their furry charm and unwavering devotion are highly desirable, I can’t say the same for the wet slobbery kisses.

Why do Havanese dogs lick so much?

Well, if you’ve found yourself in these shoes, get ready to discover the secrets behind their licky ways, and find out how you can deal with it without breaking your dog’s heart.

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10 Reasons Why Your Havanese Licks So Much

Reasons Why Your Havanese Licks So Much

Dogs tend to use their tongues to explore the world around them.

Plus, licking is a common behavior that serves various purposes.

Let’s explore the most common ones.

1. Affection and bonding

If you’re an owner, you would know by now that Havanese dogs are very affectionate, and licking is one way for them to show their love for their humans.

It is also their way of strengthening the bond with you, their fur parent.

When your pet licks you, it’s their way of showing that they love you and want to seek closeness.

2. Grooming behavior

Since they don’t have hands to groom themselves, dogs have no choice but to use their tongues. 

Your pet may lick themselves, or even other dogs in their pack, to keep their fur clean and nice looking.

3. Exploration and investigation

Licking is one way for your pet to explore new objects and unfamiliar scents. Simply put, it’s an effective method for gathering information.

Doing so allows them to taste and investigate their surroundings, helping them understand the things around them better.

4. Communication and expressing emotions

Barking and body language are not the only ways for our pets to communicate. They can also do it through licking.

Your furry pal may lick to show different emotions like excitement, happiness, or even anxiety. 

5. Seeking attention or reassurance

Havanese are social creatures who love attention and crave reassurance from their humans. 

If they feel lonely or insecure, they may resort to licking as a way to gain your attention and seek comfort, which is usually quite an effective way to capture the attention of most fur parents.

6. Habitual behavior

Some Havanese develop a habit of excessive licking, even without a specific reason or trigger. 

This can be a repetitive behavior that provides them with comfort or serves as a way to self-soothing. 

7. Taste or food residue on skin

We all know that dogs have a keen sense of smell and taste.

If your Havanese detects a delicious flavor or food residue on their skin, they may lick it to savor the taste or clean up any remnants. 

It’s their way of enjoying a lingering food sensation.

8. Dry or itchy skin

Dryness or itchiness on the skin can be bothersome for your pet and excessive licking may be their attempt to relieve irritated skin. 

If the licking is persistent and focused on a specific area, then your Havanese could be suffering from the itchies. 

9. Allergies or skin irritations

Just like skin dryness, allergies or skin irritations can cause your Havanese to lick excessively.

Besides scratching, it could be their way of soothing the discomfort caused by allergies or skin irritations.

10. Dental or oral health issues

Problems with teeth or oral health can lead to excessive licking of the mouth in dogs.

They may lick their lips or chew on objects as a response to dental discomfort. 

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Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Dog mouth quivers after licking

Is It Normal for Havanese Dogs to Lick Excessively?

Occasional licking is normal for Havanese dogs.

Your pet could just be expressing their love, communicating with another pet, or simply grooming themselves. 

Excessive licking, however, can be a cause for worry. It could indicate an underlying health or behavioral problem. 

If the licking becomes persistent, obsessive, or interferes with their daily activities, then it is something that you should look into.

How Can I Differentiate Between Normal Licking Behavior and Excessive Licking in My Havanese?

How do you tell the difference between normal and excessive licking?

You have to observe your pet and check how often and how long they do it.

If it happens sporadically and stays brief, then you can consider it as normal behavior. The licking should also serve a specific purpose.

Is your dog licking because they’re grooming themself? That’s normal.

But, if your Havanese does it too often or too long, to the point that it causes irritation or injury, then that’s cause for concern. 

It can be accompanied by other signs like redness, swelling, or hair loss on the area being licked.  

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How to Stop Your Havanese From Licking You So Much?

If you’ve established that your pet is licking too much, you can try these tips to make them stop the concerning habit.

Redirect their attention

When the licking is becoming too much, redirect your pet’s focus to a more appropriate activity or toy.

Give them a chew treat or let them play with an interactive toy that will engage their mind.

Maybe take them for a quick romp around the neighborhood. 

The licking will stop if your pet is too busy doing something else.

Train and reinforce the “No licking” command

Teach your pet to follow the “No licking” command and use positive reinforcement to make the habit stick. 

When your pet manages to stop themselves from licking, reward them with praise or a delicious snack.

Very soon, the licking will immediately cease as soon as you tell them to stop.

Provide appropriate chew toys or treats

If your pet is licking excessively due to anxiety or boredom, you can curb the habit by handing them appropriate chew toys or treats.

Having something to gnaw on will satisfy their instinct to lick and chew. Try giving your pet a dental chew or a bully stick.

Not only will these address the excessive licking, but they can also boost your furry pal’s dental health.

Engage in regular exercise and mental stimulation

Make sure you provide your Havanese enough physical exercise and mental stimulation.

A well-exercised and mentally stimulated dog is less likely to engage in excessive licking due to boredom or pent-up energy.

Seek professional guidance if excessive licking persists

If you’ve tried all the suggestions above and your pet continues to lick excessively, I think you should call in a professional.

With the help of a vet or a certified doggy trainer, you can determine what could be causing the licking habit and address that problem appropriately.

When Should I Bring My Havanese to the Vet for Excessive Licking?

In most cases, you should be able to resolve this without more drama.

However, if all else fails and your efforts of curbing your pet’s licking behavior remain fruitless, then it could be time to ask for assistance. 

Additionally, if your furry friend seems uncomfortable or in pain or if the area that your pet insists on licking is red or looks inflamed, you may really need to call the vet.

Don’t let your pet’s condition get worse.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I allow my Havanese to lick me on my face and lips?

It’s generally best to avoid letting your Havanese lick your face and lips to prevent the transfer of bacteria. This health risk that you might not want to take.

Why does my Havanese lick the air?

Licking the air could just be a behavioral quirk or a learned habit. However, it can also be a sign of a medical issue like nausea or dental problems. See if the licking habit persists and call your pet’s vet if any other symptoms arise.

Why is my Havanese biting and licking its paws?

Excessive biting and licking of paws can indicate allergies, skin irritation, or boredom. It’s advisable to check for any signs of irritation. You should also make sure that your Havanese’s paws are clean and free of food debris. 

Why do Havanese dogs lick so much at night?

Havanese may lick more at night due to boredom, anxiety, or discomfort. Make sure that your pet’s needs are met and that their sleeping environment is comfortable. If these do not curb the nightime licking, consider giving your pet’s vet a call.

In Conclusion: Why Do Havanese Dogs Lick So Much?

As you know now, the abundance of licks from your Havanese dog is most likely driven by their innate need for affection, communication, and grooming.

As long as it doesn’t become excessive, there’s really not much you need to do, but if it does turn out otherwise, you can try out all the steps I shared above.

Check out these other dog behavior articles too:

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

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