Why do Bichons Lick so Much?

A Bichon Frise licking you is quite adorable, but when they lick too much, it can be problematic. There are a number of different reasons why your Bichon may be licking and a couple of different solutions worth considering.

Why do Bichons lick so much? Bichon Frises may lick themselves because they are grooming or because they are bored or self-soothing. They may lick you out of affection or because they are experiencing stress from separation anxiety. They may lick your things because they aren’t allowed to lick you or because they find it soothing.

Whatever your Bichon Frise is licking and however problematic it has been for you, here’s what you need to know about the reasons why they may be prone to licking and some things that you can do to reduce the behavior or make it more amenable to your lifestyle.

Why Does My Bichon Lick So Much?

If you find that your Bichon Frise licks a lot, whether they are licking you, themselves, your furniture, or something else, you may be wondering why they do it and possibly wishing they would stop. Your Bichon Frise may be licking for a couple of different reasons. Here are some possibilities to consider:

Licking Themselves

If your Bichon Frise has a tendency of licking themselves, you may find that the fur is discolored and tends to be more matted where they lick.

Cleanliness And Boredom

Bichon Frises are often fastidious dogs. Therefore, it should not be a surprise that your Bichon Frise may groom themselves by licking. It is normal for dogs to lick themselves and groom themselves. 

However, sometimes dogs lick out of boredom even after they’ve cleaned themselves sufficiently. If your Bichon Frise licks themselves when they are in downtimes, such as when they’re relaxing on the sofa, it may be that they are simply grooming themselves a little bit too much because it’s something to do. 

To stop your Bichon from grooming out of boredom, it’s a good idea to provide other things to relieve boredom. Food distributing toys and chew toys are typically the ideal solution for this issue. However, some dogs prefer to lick a stuffed toy or something else. 

Just make sure that your Bichon doesn’t ingest any material and that they aren’t licking anything inappropriate, and it should be okay to substitute whatever works for your and your dog. 


Bichon Frises are not especially prone to allergies, but any dog can be susceptible to allergies. If your dog isn’t just licking but is chewing at themselves, particularly the paws or the base of the tail, it could be that they are suffering from allergies. Make sure that your Bichon is up to date on flea prevention, as flea allergies can be some of the most common allergies to afflict breeds like these. 

You can also have your veterinarian help you rule out environmental or food allergies. Treating with an antihistamine like Benadryl can reduce symptoms and give your dog comfort while you determine what is causing the allergies. 


Unfortunately, a trade-off of the Bichon Frise’s nearly no shed, nearly hypoallergenic coat is that it is one of the more difficult coats in the dog world to maintain. The lush, cottony fur has a tendency to mat up very easily, even if it has just been brushed. 

If the fur gets wet, it is even more prone to matting. For this reason, Bichon Frise paws are extremely prone to becoming badly matted unless they are brushed nearly every day. The hair between the pads is particularly prone to matting, but all of the hair on the paws that may be more likely to become damp is more likely to damp than other parts of the body. 

As Bichons mat, they tend to collect moisture and debris in the pads of the paw, which can cause yeast and other sorts of infections to develop. To keep your dog from getting matted, brush them regularly and always blow dry when they get wet. 

You may not need to brush your entire dog everyday, but it is likely that you will need to brush the paws every day to avoid matting, particularly if your dog walks into moist areas like dew on the morning grass. 

What To Do If Your Bichon Is Licking You

Another common problem for Bichon owners is dogs that chronically lick them. Bichons are deeply loving dogs who have lived closely with their people for a very long time. From their native islands, to companions on sailors’ ships, to the laps of loyalty, to circus performers on the street, Bichons have been loved and loved in return for a long time. 

The deep love of the Bichon is still one of the most admirable traits of the breed today. It is fairly likely that if your dog licks you alot, it is because they are expressing their love and affection to you. 

Bichons tend to be very affectionate with people and other animals, so licking is a natural expression of their affection for you. If you find that your Bichon Frise is licking more than you would like, you can train them to stop by gently telling them, “thank you,” and removing yourself from their reach. 

It often helps to substitute something that is appropriate for licking, such as a chew toy. Many Bichons benefit from being asked to perform a trick or command for you when you tell them to stop licking you so that they have another way to express their affection and loyalty in a way that you would prefer. I

If your dog chronically licks you, as sometimes occurs with dogs who are experiencing some separation anxiety or another over-focus on their people for any reason, it may be helpful to use an all-natural and harmless bitter apple spray. Just spray it on your leg, arm, or wherever your Bichon tends to lick you to deter them from doing so.

What if your Bichon is Licking Your Things?

Another common problem for Bichons is obsessively licking your stuff. Many Bichon Frises who like to lick you also like to lick your things, particularly things that smell strongly of you like socks and undergarments. 

This is very normal for Bichons, and they can find it soothing and relaxing. However, you probably won’t be too happy to keep finding soggy socks and undergarments everywhere. Bichons may also lick your couch, blankets, and other upholstery. 

Some dogs suckle fabrics if they were removed from their mother at too young of an age. Other dogs seem to do it for no particular reason that we can tell. Whatever the reason for your Bichons’ suckling or licking, it can be hard to train your dog to stop without removing the stimulus that they want to lick. 

Most people find that it is easiest to keep socks and undergarments out of their Bichon’s reach. It is also important to teach a good, “Drop it,” so that you can convince your dog to give up anything that they should not have. 

You can use a fabric safe bitter apple spray to deter your dog from sucking on your upholstery or blanket, but you may find it easier to simply put another blanket or your dog’s bed where they like to lie and allow them to suckle if they want to. You can also try giving your dog an alternate toy to lick instead of allowing them to lick your things.

Is It Okay To Allow My Bichon To Lick?

If you’ve noticed your Bichon licking quite a lot but you aren’t bothered by it, you may wonder whether this is something that you need to address or whether it’s okay to let your Bichon keep doing it. In general, if the licking is not continuous and if your Bichon is licking something other than themselves, it probably is not a big deal to let them keep doing it. 

However, if your Bichon Frise is chronically licking at themselves, particularly if they are chewing and if the skin seems irritated, they may be causing infections or they may have allergies. In this case, it’s important to have your veterinarian rule out any underlying causes and advise you on how damaging your Bichon’s licking may be to themselves.

What To Do About Discolored Paws

One side effect of Bichons that lick themselves is that they discolor their white fur. There are a number of whitening products on the market that can be effective in reducing discoloration. Since the discoloration is typically yellow, it is usually best to get a brightening shampoo that has a blue or purple tint to it. Shampoos, sprays, wipes and other products can all help to whiten your dog’s coat. 

Enjoy Your Loving Bichon Frise

Most of the time, when a Bichon is giving you only a few licks, they are acting perfectly normally for such deeply loving and loyal little dogs. It’s normal for Bichons to groom themselves and occasionally lick your things as well. However, if you are concerned about your Bichon’s chronic licking, it’s important to rule out potential medical causes.