As we searched for relatable Maltese licking stories, we came across all manner of ways these adorable dogs can work their tongues.
“My little Sophie is a licker, and slaps her tongue on everything. I’ve tried covering her mouth and urging her to stop but it’s five years and she’s yet to,” writes one person.
So, why do Maltese lick so much?
Your Maltese may lick the air to soothe mouth injuries, due to underlying illness, after taking sticky food and more. If your Maltese licks you so much, it may be their way of showing adoration, worry, or boredom. You can try stopping your pet from licking you excessively by ignoring them.
Why Does My Maltese Lick Me So Much?
A big reason for the obsessive Maltese licking behavior is a display of affection. Maltese lick their pups to show love. So, they may lick you to indicate that they care for and enjoy your presence.
Alternatively, they may be trying to soothe you and express your dominance over them. Maltese are park animals, and licking each other is a form of greeting. As they lick, they will position their bodies lower than their pack leaders to show submission.
Your Maltese may lick another dog while scooching to display their supremacy and leadership over them. However, you may not be having other pets in your home, in which case you are the Maltese’s pack. So, licking you may be a form of greeting to show your power over them.
Maltese adore your company and hate being alone. When they lick you, they may also want you to focus on them. While they can grab your attention in other ways like barking or whining, they may decide to lick. This method is more relaxed and less annoying than other attention-seeking behaviors.
Your Maltese may understand that a subtle way to draw you in, such as licking, is better received than other aggressive methods.
As they lick, they want something from you. It may be simply to express their love, or they want to eat, a need to play, use the loo, and so forth.
Of course, if they want to use the bathroom, you can pick up the tell-tale signs like fidgeting and attend to them.
How Do I Stop My Maltese from Licking Me?
The first step in solving the problem is determining your response when your dog licks you.
Do you caress them, cuddle them, or whisper soothing words?
Responding affectionately may be the reason for the constant licking. Unless you enjoy your Maltese licking you, ignore their licks.
Assuming them will make them realize they can’t get your attention by licking, so they may stop doing so.
Provide Them With Something to Focus On
Maltese are a jolly bunch with a lot of personalities and an appetite for exciting activities. They may decide to lick you, other things included, out of boredom.
As we continued searching, we realized that licking is widespread. The conversation got a little concerning as we met another Maltese parent.
“Toto licks way too much and I suspect it’s a compulsive obsessive disorder. She licks our leather couches, sheets, visitors, and even the air.”
Licking may be a way your dog is keeping their little mind busy. Does your Maltese smother your entire house with their kisses and licks? They may need something that provokes their minds.
Direct their energy and boredom to something else. Maybe you don’t give them enough walks. Maltese require two walks a day, in the morning and dusk. And each should last about a third to half an hour.
You can also create time to play fetch or tug of war with them. Engaging in more activities provides them with many alternatives to concentrate on, and this may reduce licking.
Exercising and other activities give your dog another way of getting their endorphin fix. These chemicals help in soothing your pet, and inadequate activity may result in compulsive licking behavior.
Identify and Try Solving the Stress Inducer
Dogs may lick you to try to calm themselves. Establishing what troubles them may help stop the behavior.
Maybe, your Maltese licks you during high traffic hours with cars honking everywhere. You can try soothing them by giving them a calming treat.
Why Does My Maltese Lick the Air?
When noticing it for the first time, licking the air may seem a little weird.
What causes this behavior?
Something Stuck in Your Pet’s Mouth
Unlike humans, our four-legged friends lack hands that can help hold and quickly eliminate things that bug us.
Your Maltese may lick the air to rid themselves of something stuck in their mouths. They may be trying to scrape off the remains of a treat or their lunch.
If you notice your Maltese licking the air, try opening their mouth to ascertain there are no food remnants. If so, then there isn’t a big deal. But if there is something more serious, try removing it or seek your vet’s help.
Your Maltese may be ailing from a dermatological disorder and decide to lick the air.
Typically, a dog with a skin condition will lick their paws. So, how does air licking relate to skin issues?
If you reprimand your Maltese for licking themselves, they may lick the air when the urge to soothe their skin arises.
Licking the air may result from discomfort and worry. Your Maltese may lick the air when they are anxious.
Examine the incidences when your pet licks the air. Is it at random, or is there a particular pattern? Maybe, they only do so around new people, crowded places, new environments, and noisy areas.
If this is the case and it’s persistent, consider consulting an animal behaviorist.
Your Maltese may appear to lick the air during a response called Flehmen. When a waft of certain particles like fecal matter reaches your Maltese’s nose, they may move their mouth. This motion directs the scent particles towards another organ (Jacobson).
As this happens, you may notice your Maltese scrunch their nose, slightly opening their mouth and exhaling. Hence, you may assume that your pet is drooling or licking the air when they are trying to catch a strong scent.
Pain and Trauma
Your Maltese may lick the air due to an underlying condition. Pain from the gastrointestinal passage may lead to the behavior. In the case of gastrointestinal disease, the dog may also exhibit other indicators like throwing up, diarrhea, and lost appetite.
A cut or wound around the mouth and nasal region may cause your Maltese to lick the air. Some dogs with such injuries may also rub them using paws. Insect bikes around the mouth and nose area may also lead to licking.
Dental disease may also result in licking the air. Gum infection and tooth loss are painful, and your dog may try licking the area to soothe themselves.
Why Do Maltese Lick Their Paws?
Maltese lick paws primarily due to irritations. Paw licking can stem from acute and chronic factors.
Some acute reasons for paw licking are burns, bites, stings, splinter, and snowballing.
Temperatures of 115 F can result in blisters, pain, and paws darkening over time. On hot days, cement, red bricks, and blacktop pavements can surpass this figure around noon, injuring your pet.
Besides licking, you may notice your Maltese chewing their paws or limping. So, take your pet for walks during early mornings and late evenings when the ground isn’t too hot.
Bites and Stings
Insect bites can also lead to paw licking. You may see tender or swollen pads. In case you spot stings, scrape them off with a swipe card or similar item.
Avoid pulling them out as they may release more toxins. Call your vet if the sting elicits an allergic reaction.
Snowballing occurs in winter, whereby ice freezes in between your pet’s paws. It may stretch or tear skin and hurt them as it expands, so your Maltese leaks to soothe the pain.
If it’s only stretched skin, a day can solve the issue. Decide whether to home treat or call the vet in case of tears.
You can vacuum the house if paw licking is due to allergens.
In case of yeast infection, bathe your pet in medicated shampoo and apply anti-fungal cream or spray.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Does My Dog Stick His Tongue Out Repeatedly?
Dogs stick tongues out mainly to cool themselves.
However, it may also be due to dental diseases, oral cancers, Flehmen response, and hanging tongue syndrome.
What Is Hanging Tongue Syndrome?
Hanging tongue syndrome is where a dog finds it difficult to tuck its tongue.
It can be due to injury, neurological damage, or a congenital issue. The syndrome can cause dehydration and infection.
Many reasons can result in your Maltese licking things excessively. But, how do you handle this behavior?
While you may not mind your dog slobbering you or other surfaces, they may have an underlying condition.
After ruling out other reasons, it may be time to consult with your vet or an animal behaviorist.