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Why Does My Maltese Lick Everything? (Explained!)

Maltese are one of the most affectionate breeds of dogs—gentle and fearless. Besides having the reputation of being affectionate, they also are known as clingy dogs. They love to lick everything and show their love. 

But constant licking can be a sign of any depression and more on among Maltese. They are the perfect companion to snuggle every day! But knowing the reason for their licking everything might expose more of their behavior. 

Why does my Maltese constantly lick everything?

Maltese dogs tend to lick their owners as a sign of love. At times when bored, they might lick themselves to groom their fur or may lick the furniture. However, Maltese also licks themselves if there is an itch on their body. But mostly, they lick everything excessively due to boredom or depression.

5 Reasons that cause Maltese excessive licking

To express love, affection, and care:

Maltese dogs tend to lick their owners as a way of expressing their love and care for them or to get attention. At times they may be able to sense your anxiety or sadness and may lick you as a means of trying to comfort you.

Additionally, sometimes they may suffer from anxiety or stress too and hence they might lick you excessively as a way to reduce that feeling.

Skin irritation:

Dogs have thinner skin than humans which makes them more prone to skin irritation.

Certain shampoos, conditioners, and soaps may be harsh to the Maltese’s skin.

The skin irritation might also occur after grooming due to unsharpened, unclean, or dull blades— especially in the genitals, anus, or face areas.


A dog might get wounded in several scenarios— such as razor burns or accidents when playing.


The most common allergy triggers for dogs are some form of protein—beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, dairy products, etc or they might be allergic to added substances in their food.

Parasitic insects such as ticks and fleas may also lead to allergies.


Maltese dogs are a type of breed that needs a lot of attention, affection, and playtime.

When they get bored they are likely to lick everything around them—such as furniture and carpets as a means of wanting attention or passing time.

How to stop my Maltese from licking everything?

Dog toys, treats, and changing your body smell:

A long-run solution is ignoring your dog when they excessively lick you. You could show affection by other means such as patting on the head or rewarding them with dog treats when they listen to your instructions.

You could also try providing them a chew toy or bone to divert their mind from licking you.

Taking your dog on walks every day will help alleviate their anxiety and stress, therefore making them less likely to lick your face to reduce their nervousness.

Sometimes changing your body scent by using a different soap or perfume might help as well as it will

Switching to another type of shampoo:

A short-term solution to skin irritation is bathing your dog with warm water and oatmeal shampoo. Ointments that are made to help with bug bites can also help to ease the irritation on the dog’s skin.

In the long run, you might want to switch to hypoallergenic and sulfate-free shampoo or ones that have tea tree oil, aloe vera, or thyme as they are more soothing on a dog’s skin.

Otherwise, consult your vet for medications such as corticosteroids and antihistamines which will tackle the allergies with more strength.

If the skin irritation is due to grooming, consult your pet parlor and ask them to use a sharper blade next time and do not get the fur-trimmed very short.

Providing proper medication:

If the burn is caused by a chemical substance then you could rinse it with additional substances —rinse the area with baking soda and water in case of acidic media, vinegar, and water in case of alkaline media.

Only first-degree burns can be treated at home and in case of second or third-degree burns a vet should be consulted.

In case of a first-degree burn, cool the wound with cold water followed by applying compress with a cold cloth. Afterward, put a non-stick bandage over the burn to stop the dog from licking it.

Minor wounds can be tented at home using the following materials—warm water, electrical clippers, clean towels, antimicrobial ointment, antiseptic solution, and water-based lubricant.

Firstly, apply water-based lubricant and clip the hair around the area. Once clipped, wipe the hair and lubricant away using a clean towel. Using warm water clean the wounded area and then again dry the area using a clean towel.

Next, apply the antiseptic solution (such as chlorhexidine and povidone-iodine solution) which will prevent skin irritation. Lastly, apply an antimicrobial ointment (do not use ones with corticosteroids) and then cover the wound lightly with a non-stick bandage.

To be noted: In case of severe wounds such as lacerations or when there is visible pus coming out of a dog’s wound, do not try to treat it at home and immediately visit a vet.

Changing your dog’s diet:

Using the “elimination diet” technique you can figure out what the source of your Maltese’s allergy is.

For 8 weeks, place your dog on a limited or a single-ingredient diet that is new to him/her— it must contain a single source of protein and nothing else. After 8 weeks, slowly switch the Maltese back to his/her regular diet and monitor for any type of allergies.

A long-term solution to help your dog with allergies is to add probiotics to his/her diet to strengthen their immune system which will help to eliminate allergies.

A fresh food diet can also help with a Maltese’s allergies—in case of dandruff and crustiness, adding zinc and vitamin A-containing foods will help, for chronic itching and dermatitis.

Consider adding foods with vitamin B and E, zinc, fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 which are mainly found in fish oils.

If the allergies are triggered due to fleas and ticks, then essential oils such as citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree(diluted by 1%), and rosemary will prevent fleas and ticks from attacking your dog.

Another remedy that can be used at home to get rid of insects on your dog’s body is a lemon bath— take half a cup of lemon juice, mix it with your dog’s shampoo, and two cups of water and use this to bathe your dog.

Invest in toys:

A vast array of chew toys are available on the internet. If you do not want to rely on online stores, search up the nearest pet store near you using Google maps and visit down there to buy some toys for your animal friend!

Why do Maltese lick so much?

Maltese dogs are also called “Velcro dogs” because they are extremely clingy and attached to their owners.  This leads them to lick their owners in attempts to shower their owners with love and care.

Moreover, they require a ton of attention. Hence they tend to get bored easily when their owners are busy which is why they start licking themselves or the furniture and carpets around the house to get rid of the boredom.

How much is too much licking for a Maltese dog?

If your dog is licking to the point where it seems like self-stimulatory behavior it might be considered excessive.

In these cases, the best solution is to distract your dog with toys or training him with treats.

If Maltese is constantly licking themselves throughout the day, it might be a sign of allergy, wound, or some sort of internal pain. They might even be licking themselves out of anxiety or stress. Consult a vet in these cases.

Why does my Maltese lick the air?

A Maltese might lick the air if they are hungry or if something is stuck in their teeth. Many a time the dog might feel nauseous and might lick the air moments before throwing up.

However, at times, there might be severe underlying medical issues such as inflammatory bowel disease and canine cognitive dysfunction. Even mental conditions such as compulsive disorders and anxiety might lead to a dog licking the air. It is best to consult a vet in this scenario.

Why does my Maltese lick me so much?

To show their gratitude and care for you, they will lick you from time to time to express their love.

Sometimes the Maltese might even think you taste good (hilarious but it is true) for which they will lick you.

Another reason as to why they might be licking you is for attention—this breed of dog requires astronomical amounts of attention and when they are not given that they will lick you as a way to remind you to give them attention.

Why does my Maltese lick my feet?

The fundamental reason as to why a Maltese might lick your feet is to show you their respect, honor, and loyalty.

Dogs have an instinct to communicate by licking, so they might even be notifying you of their hunger or boredom by licking your feet.

Licking their owners releases pleasure endorphins in dogs. They might lick your feet as they are more sweaty and smell “more like you”.

Why does my Maltese lick the couch?

A Maltese might lick the furniture due to boredom. In this case, you can easily distract your dog by investing in toys for them or training them.

There are “bitter sprays” available at pet stores that might help you to stop your dog from licking the couch.

However, sometimes a dog might lick the furniture due to stress and anxiety. Taking your dog out on walks regularly is crucial to prevent the stress and anxiety from developing into a serious medical condition. 

Licking is a harmless nature of the Maltese. But you should be careful enough if they lick excessively as a sign of depression.

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