Excessive Behavior: Why Do German Spitzes Lick So Much?


Gray German Spitz Mittel and fall colors

Licking is a very common behavior among dogs. All dogs do it, but it seems like the German Spitz type dogs – Pomeranians included – are even more eager to lick than some other dog breeds.

If you have more than one dog in your household you may have noticed that your dogs lick one another’s faces, ears and mouths. Wolves do it, and it’s been studied that this kind of behavior comes directly from our dogs’ ancestors. Licking means that the two animals belong to the same pack.

When your dog licks you, it may be that the reasons are the same. You two form a pack together and your dog is showing his affection towards you. Or, in some cases, it may be that you simply taste good. Especially if you’ve been exercising and you are a little sweaty your dog probably loves the taste of salt on your skin.

Dogs like to lick themselves, too, and in many cases, there is nothing wrong with that. Dogs lick their paws from time to time. As a dog owner, you are probably aware of the fact that they lick their private parts as well.

As long as the licking is done in a somewhat calm manner, it is normal and nothing to be worried about. However, sometimes licking becomes compulsive. Your dog licks and licks and even if you say something trying to divert him to do something else, he does not hear you.

This is the time when you should pay attention and start thinking about why your German Spitz is licking so much. It’s not so much that you should start thinking of ways to stop your dog from licking. Instead, you should get to the reasons behind this behavior. Oftentimes, there is a clear medical reason why your dog is licking excessively, and since your dog is not feeling well, it is your job to try to help him.

Naturally, your dog doesn’t know how to tell you what’s wrong, so sometimes it takes a little time to investigate what could be the problem. We will now go through some of the key reasons why your German Spitz could be licking too much. So, read on.

A dog licking another dog's face
Dogs of the same pack may often lick one another’s faces.

Your German Spitz licks because of boredom and/or anxieties

Sometimes excessive licking may be caused by psychological reasons, like stress or boredom. Often, in this case, your German Spitz may be licking not only himself but objects, too.

While there could be a physical/medical reason for this, there is always a chance that it is simply psychological. German Spitzes especially are extremely sensitive to their owners’ feelings. If you are experiencing stress it is possible that your dog senses this and becomes stressed, too.

I’m not saying that anxieties or stress-related issues are easy to fix, but the good news is that there is a lot that can be done. If the licking is a sign that your dog is unhappy, then you simply need to change your lifestyle to make your dog feel happy again.

As long as medical reasons have been ruled out, you can start giving your dog something else to do instead of licking. If your dog is bored, he needs more activities. There are a ton of different activity toys out there. Or, you could try teaching your dog cool tricks. For example, I have great ones here on my site. I will give you links hereOpens in a new tab. and hereOpens in a new tab.. But of course, you can invent your own tricks, just get creative! 

If your dog is suffering from really bad anxieties I recommend finding a good dog trainer that uses positive training methods, and if possible, inviting them to your home so that they can see the situation for themselves. Some veterinarians may be able to help, too, but since this is more of a training issue I would talk to a dog trainer, instead.

In some cases, however, a veterinarian is the right way to go.  A thorough check-up is always a great way to rule out any medical reasons. In fact, veterinarians should be your first stop.

Your German Spitz licks because of physical pain

The first time I became aware of this was years and years ago when one of my dogs had kennel cough. The cough itself wasn’t too bad and there was no need to see a veterinarian, but some weeks later I noticed a hairless spot on my dog’s front leg. He’d been licking and biting on it so that the tiny spot had lost its hairs.

When I showed it to my vet and when I also mentioned that my dog had had kennel cough some weeks prior, she immediately said that the two were related. There was nothing wrong with my dog’s leg but he had been licking it because of his overall discomfort. Even though my dog’s throat was hurting and not the leg, my dog had begun to excessively lick the leg.

I have two other examples to tell you as well.

My now late German Spitz Mittel was suffering from a herniated disc and the problems on his back often resulted in him licking his paws. Again, the paws were fine, but the pain made him lick and sometimes even bite his paws.

Just recently I began to take notice that my dog was licking his private parts more so than usual. The symptoms were very mild. Nobody else would have seen that there was anything abnormal, but as I know my dog better than anybody, I knew he wasn’t feeling well.

It turned out that he had an infection of the foreskin and he was prescribed antibiotics. If I hadn’t paid close attention to the slight change in his behavior, he wouldn’t have received the medication on time and it would have prolonged the process of getting back in good health.

As you can see, it is not easy to determine where the problem is and which part of the body is hurting. Sometimes he may lick the exact spot that is hurting. For example, there may be skin issues and/or allergies. But this is not always the case. For example, if your German Spitz is licking his legs there is a great chance that the problem lies somewhere else.

Your dog is unable to show the exact place that is hurting, but if your dog keeps licking in an excessive manner, you at least have a clue that something isn’t right, and your dog has a chance of getting the help that he needs. Vets are great at spotting what’s wrong and giving your dog the right kind of treatment. Your job is to know when something is wrong.

German Spitz type dogs love to lick their owner’s face.

Conclusion

Especially if you are a new dog owner, you may now ask how it is that you will know whether your dog’s licking is excessive or normal. Well, I’d say you will know.

In case your dog is licking too much he will do it very often but in a compulsive way, too. If you try to ask him to do something else he simply keeps on licking as if he doesn’t care about anything else. While, if your dog is simply licking his legs to keep them neat then he will immediately look at you and is ready to do something more fun if only you ask him to.

In time, you will get to know your dog and you get better at spotting if anything’s wrong. The good news is that most medical issues will take place at an older age when you have already spent a few years with your dog getting to know them.

My advice to you is that whenever you think your dog is licking either himself, objects, or you in a way that you think is abnormal, it is always best to do a medical check-up first. There is a chance that there is something serious behind it. It could also be a somewhat minor issue but one that requires medical intervention nonetheless. For example, if your dog keeps licking the walls or the floors of your house there could be digestive issues.

And then, if nothing comes up, then you might start thinking of behavioral problems.

Just remember, you are not alone. There are lots of professionals that are willing and able to help your beloved German Spitz. Your job is to listen and understand your dog.

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