why does my dog licks his crate

Why Does My Dog Licks His Crate: 6 Potential Causes

As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to investigate crate licking in dogs. While it is mostly a behavioral issue, sometimes, this habit can also signal an underlying health disorder.

Being aware of the root cause can help you target and solve the problem effectively, ensuring the well-being of your pup. 

So, why does my dog licks his crate? Here’s what we found!

Puppies may exhibit behaviors like licking their crate for various reasons. It could be a sign of boredom or a way of seeking attention, especially if they’re new to crate training or experiencing anxiety or stress. Additionally, compulsive behaviors such as OCD, along with medical issues like epilepsy, gastrointestinal disorders, or cognitive dysfunction, can also lead to this habit. 

That said, let’s dig deeper into this guide that answers all your queries. So, read on!

Why Does My Dog Licks His Crate – 6 Common Reasons 

why does my dog licks his crate

Wondering why does your dog lick his metal cage? There are several reasons that can contribute to this behavior. Let’s have a look at them: 

1. Boredom 

Sometimes, when you do not take your pet outdoors, they might end up getting bored being in the same surroundings for days.

This also happens when you don’t provide them with any toys to play with.

Dogs are active animals, and they find ways to keep themselves entertained, which might include licking the crate. 

2. Attention-Seeking 

If you’re wondering why does my dog licks his crate, it may also be one of their tactics to attract your attention.

This behavior can be reinforced if you consistently respond to it, whether positively or negatively.

For instance, if you go near the crate or yell at your furry companion when they lick it, they’d begin to associate this action with receiving attention and repeat it. 

3. Anxiety or Stress

Dogs can also get stressed or anxious, typically when there is a change in their surroundings.

Besides that, many pups have separation anxiety, too. These issues, if present, can reflect in your pet’s crate-licking habit.

Although they usually lick their bodies when anxious or stressed, doing so with objects present in their surroundings is also quite common. 

4. Comfort and Territorial Instinct 

If your pup has been crate trained for a long time, they would perceive the crate as their safe space.

In such a scenario, crate licking depicts a self-soothing behavior, helping your furry friend reinforce a sense of comfort within its own space. 

Additionally, dogs are territorial by nature, and they lick objects to mark them as their territory. This might be the other solid reason why your dog licks his metal cage. 

5. New to Crate Training

Dogs that are not crate-trained completely may lick their crate more than often – all because they aren’t habitual of the surroundings.

In this case, you must give your pup the time to adjust to their new home. If they still continue doing so, then you can think of other methods to prevent it. 

6. Food Residues

When your dog is licking the crate occasionally, it might be possible that there is some food residue or water on it.

This especially happens when you feed your pup inside the crate. Once they completely lick off the food or liquid, they’d certainly stop doing so. 

Why Does My Dog Lick Her Cage – Medical Causes

While crate licking is often associated with the behavioral instinct of dogs, here are some medical reasons that may lead to this habit: 

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: Your furry companion might be going through OCD, which can reinforce crate-licking behavior. It’s common when they are bored, scared, or facing emotional disruptions. 
  • Illnesses: There are many diseases that might be the reason behind your dog licking and biting crate. These particularly include delayed gastric emptying, chronic pancreatitis, irritable bowel syndrome, giardiasis, epilepsy, and bacterial/viral infections. However, these conditions are often accompanied by additional symptoms. 
  • Cognitive Dysfunction: The mental functioning of dogs over 6 years may deteriorate. This condition, known as cognitive dysfunction, can lead to several symptoms like disorientation, lack of interest in socializing, excessive crate licking, etc. 

How to Stop a Dog from Licking the Kennel – 4 Simple Ways

why does my dog licks his crate

If your dog’s habit of licking the crate persists, here are some easy methods that you can try to prevent it: 

1. Stimulate Your Pup Mentally 

To keep your furry companion away from boredom, you should indulge them in activities that promote mental stimulation.

This could include taking them on an evening walk in a nearby park. Or you can also buy some interactive toys or puzzle feeders for them. 

Other than these things, regular cuddling or ear scratches can also help eliminate their crate-licking behavior. 

2. Utilize a Calming Aid 

If you are tense about why does my dog lick his kennel, it might simply be anxious.

In such a case, a calming aid like Rescue Remedy can be extremely useful to relax it.

However, do not expect quick results, as this approach can take a few weeks to be fully effective. 

Similarly, you can also consider calming vests to calm down your furry companion.

It’s a safer option than anti-anxiety medications that come with multiple potential side effects. 

3. Change the Crate’s Location 

You can try changing the location of your pup’s crate to a place where they cannot see or reach you.

This technique primarily works when they lick the crate to seek your attention. Since this behavior is reinforced by your response, removing any visual or physical proximity can help.

Once your pet learns that licking the crate no longer results in gaining attention from you, the behavior may decrease over time. 

4. Consult a Behaviorist 

If your dog does not stop licking the crate even after you implement various strategies for it, it’s time to consult a behaviorist.

They are the ones with expertise in animal behavior and can easily figure out the root cause behind this habit in your furry companion. 

During consultation, they will particularly observe your pup’s daily routine. They might also ask for their medical history or previous training experiences.

Based on this information, the behaviorist will create a tailored plan that addresses the specific needs of your pet.

This may include a combination of training exercises and different management techniques. 


Can bitter sprays be used to stop crate licking in dogs?

Bitter sprays, such as Grannick’s Bitter Apple Spray, can be effective in deterring dogs from licking their crates.

They have a bitter taste that dogs generally find unpleasant, thereby discouraging them from licking or chewing the sprayed area. 

Is crate licking a sign of stress in dogs?

Yes, stress can be one of the factors behind your dog licking crate bars.

These furry animals use different mechanisms to calm themselves when frustrated with licking objects being one of them. 

How can a dog be discouraged from licking his/her crate too much?

To discourage your dog from licking the cage, you can provide them with alternative chewing items like bones or toys.

Even increasing their exercise or playtime duration is also a good approach. Other than this, you can cover the crate with a blanket or towel to create a more secure environment if anxiety is a factor. 

Are there any underlying medical issues related to cage licking in dogs?

A few medical reasons behind cage licking in dogs can be allergies, skin infections, or other health conditions like GIT issues, epilepsy, cognitive dysfunction, etc. 

Why does my dog licks his crate at night?

Your dog licking the kennel at night can signal multiple issues. For example, it could be a sign of anxiety or stress.

Sometimes, it’s just a habitual behavior or a reaction to the taste of the crate material. If it happens frequently, you must observe any stress triggers in your pup and consult a vet or behaviorist for further action. 

Is my dog licking the cage due to pica disorder?

It’s possible that your dog licking the metal crate could be due to pica, a condition where animals eat non-food items.

Other symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, or lack of appetite if they ingest harmful objects. 

Wrapping Up 

We hope the above guide comprehensively answers all your questions related to why my dog licks his crate.

This behavior can be attributed to a variety of factors, including anxiety, boredom, attention-seeking, medical issues, and more.

It’s crucial to understand the root cause behind your dog’s licking cage habit to ensure they stay well and healthy. Besides that, we have also provided practical solutions to mitigate this issue. 

Remember, each dog is unique, requiring a different action plan depending on their condition.

Therefore, if you still can’t figure it out, it’s recommended to contact a behaviorist who can create a tailored plan to fix the root cause of this habit. If you think medical issues are the reason, you must visit a vet for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

For more insights and helpful tips regarding crating a dog, we encourage you to explore other blog posts on our website. Thanks for reading!

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