Why Do Shih Tzus Lick So Much? Helps & Guide

why do shih tzus lick so much

Why Do Shih Tzus Lick So Much? Helps & Guide

Ever wondered why your adorable Shih Tzu can’t seem to resist giving you those slobbery kisses? It turns out, there’s more to their licking habit than meets the eye. In this blog post, we’ll unravel the mystery behind why Shih Tzus love to lick so much.

From their affectionate nature to the way they communicate, we’ll explore the reasons behind this charming behavior. So, grab a cup of tea and get ready to delve into the world of Shih Tzus and their endearing, albeit sometimes puzzling, love for licking!

The Nature of Shih Tzus

Friendly Disposition:

  • Shih Tzus are renowned for their friendly and outgoing nature.
  • They thrive on human companionship, seeking interaction and attention.

Affectionate Communicators:

  • Licking is a primary means of communication for Shih Tzus.
  • They use it to express love, loyalty, and a desire to connect with their human family.

Social Butterflies:

  • Shih Tzus are social creatures, enjoying the company of both humans and other pets.
  • Licking is a social behavior that reinforces bonds within the family unit.

Adaptable Personalities:

  • Despite their royal appearance, Shih Tzus have a flexible and adaptable personality.
  • Their easygoing nature makes them well-suited for various living situations.
why do shih tzus lick so much

Social and Emotional Bonds

Affectionate Connection:

  • Licking is a canine love language, and Shih Tzus excel at it.
  • By licking, they express warmth, love, and a deep connection with their owners.

Strengthening the Bond:

  • Shih Tzus form tight-knit bonds with their families.
  • Licking is a way for them to reinforce these bonds, creating a sense of security and trust.

Comfort in Closeness:

  • Shih Tzus thrive on proximity and physical closeness.
  • Licking serves as a form of intimacy, providing comfort and reassurance.

Responsive Companions:

  • Shih Tzus are highly attuned to human emotions.
  • Licking can be their response to joy, sadness, or stress, showcasing their empathetic nature.

Instincts and Canine Communication

Evolutionary Roots:

  • Dogs, including Shih Tzus, descended from wolves, and licking has ancient roots in wolf pack behavior.
  • Licking was a way for wolves to bond, show submission, and communicate within the pack.

Social Canines:

  • Shih Tzus are inherently social animals, and licking is an instinctual behavior to establish and maintain social bonds.
  • It serves as a non-verbal cue to convey friendliness, submission, or a desire for closeness.

Varied Messages:

  • Different types of licks convey different messages.
  • Gentle licks may express affection, while rapid or insistent licking might signal excitement or anticipation.

Adaptation to Domestic Life:

  • In a domestic setting, Shih Tzus adapt their instinctual behaviors to form strong bonds with their human family.
  • Licking becomes a way to integrate into the family structure and communicate their emotions.

Environmental Factors

Comfort and Security

  • Shih Tzus, being sensitive souls, may resort to licking as a soothing mechanism when they feel anxious or stressed.
  • Creating a comfortable and secure environment can help reduce stress-related licking.

Social Environment:

  • The presence of other pets or family members can impact a Shih Tzu’s licking behavior.
  • They may lick more when surrounded by their human or animal companions as a way of expressing social connection.

Changes in Routine:

  • Disruptions or changes in their daily routine can lead to heightened licking.
  • Maintaining a consistent schedule and providing a stable environment can help alleviate stress-related licking.

Temperature and Weather:

  • Extreme temperatures or uncomfortable weather conditions can affect a Shih Tzu’s grooming habits.
  • Ensuring they are comfortable with appropriate grooming and shelter can minimize excessive licking.

Health Considerations

Allergies and Skin Conditions:

  • Excessive licking, especially focused on certain areas, may indicate allergies or skin irritations.
  • Regular veterinary check-ups can help identify and address these issues promptly.

Dental Problems:

  • Dental health is paramount for Shih Tzus, and increased licking might be a response to dental discomfort.
  • Regular teeth cleaning and professional check-ups contribute to overall well-being.

Digestive Disorders:

  • Gastrointestinal problems may manifest in altered licking behavior.
  • Monitoring their eating habits and consulting a vet if there are concerns can help address potential digestive issues.

Pain or Discomfort:

  • Persistent licking in specific areas might be a sign of pain or discomfort.
  • Observing changes in behavior and seeking veterinary advice can help identify and address potential pain issues.

Parasites and Infections:

  • External parasites or infections can lead to increased grooming and licking.
  • Routine parasite prevention measures and regular grooming can aid in preventing such issues.

Training and Behavioral Management

Positive Reinforcement:

  • Rewarding desirable behavior with treats, praise, or affection can be a powerful motivator for Shih Tzus.
  • Reinforce calm behavior and limit licking through positive reinforcement.

Redirecting Attention:

  • Provide alternative activities to redirect their attention away from excessive licking.
  • Engage them with toys, games, or interactive activities to channel their energy positively.

Setting Clear Boundaries:

  • Establish clear boundaries regarding acceptable licking behavior.
  • Consistency in enforcing rules helps Shih Tzus understand limitations.

Avoiding Negative Reinforcement:

  • Avoid scolding or negative reactions to excessive licking, as it may increase stress.
  • If you want to encourage the desired behavior, promote positive reinforcement.

Grooming and Oral Care

Grooming Essentials:

  • Brushing: Regular brushing, tailored to your dog’s coat type and length, prevents matting, removes dirt and debris, and promotes healthy skin and hair growth. For short-haired pups, weekly brushing is sufficient, while long-haired breeds may require daily brushing.
  • Bathing: Unlike humans, dogs don’t need frequent baths. Over-bathing can strip their skin of natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. Aim for monthly baths with gentle, dog-specific shampoo. Pay particular attention to paws, armpits, and areas prone to tangles.
  • Nail Trimming: Clickety-clacks on the hardwood floor? That’s your cue to trim your dog’s nails! Long nails can be uncomfortable for them, causing pain and potential splitting. Regular trimming (every 2-4 weeks) using appropriate clippers ensures comfortable paws and protects your furniture.
  • Ear Cleaning: Floppy ears are adorable, but they trap moisture and debris, making them prone to infections. Gently check your dog’s ears weekly, wiping out any buildup with a vet-approved cleaning solution. Cotton swabs should not be used since they can force material deeper into the ear canal.
  • Eye Care: Keep those puppy-dog eyes bright and clear! Regularly check for any redness, discharge, or squinting, which could indicate an infection. Wipe away any crusting gently with a damp cloth.

Oral Care for a Radiant Smile:

  • Tooth Brushing: Aim to brush your dog’s teeth daily using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste. Start with short, gentle sessions, gradually increasing the duration as they get accustomed to it. Make it fun by associating it with treats or playtime.
  • Dental Treats and Chews: Dental chews and treats can help scrape away plaque and tartar while satisfying your dog’s chewing instincts. 
  • Professional Dental Cleanings: Dogs can gain from having their teeth professionally cleaned, just like people.

Also Read: Why Do Shih Tzus Lick Their Paws? Helps & Guide


The endearing habit of Shih Tzu’s to lick is a multifaceted expression deeply rooted in their evolutionary past, social instincts, and emotional bonds with their human families. Understanding the reasons behind their licking behavior, whether driven by affection, communication, or health concerns, empowers pet owners to provide optimal care.

By creating a secure environment, addressing health considerations, and incorporating positive training techniques, Shih Tzu owners can foster a harmonious relationship with their furry companions. Through regular grooming and oral care, we not only enhance their physical well-being but also contribute to managing their charming licking tendencies for a happy and healthy life together.

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