Q. Early in the morning she goes licking everything, the bed, pillow and all. Tried giving her water but refuses to drink. Any advice?
JESSICA L DESROSIERS
A. Licking can sometimes be medical or behaviorally caused. As with any sudden new behavior in your pet, it is a good idea to schedule a wellness exam with your vet to make sure there are not any health issues causing it.
Behaviorally, licking can be an anxiety-related behavior, and may become habitual to your pet. If something stressful is happening in the morning such as people going to work, kids waking up and being noisy, or new routines, it may have caused a sort of "ritual behavior" from your pet in the form of licking. Identifying the stressor may help to break the habit.
Giving your pet a calm place to relax in the morning may help, as may providing a pheromone diffuser to help during any stressful transitions. These release a calming pheromone that can help reduce stress-related behaviors. Also offering something GOOD to lick such as a Kong filled with peanut butter, or an ice cube to move around the house may keep her occupied and licking that instead of your furniture.