Dog Licking Painting: A Quirky Behavior Explained


Have you ever caught your furry friend licking a painting? It may seem like a peculiar behavior, but dogs have their reasons for doing so.

In this blog post, we will explore the fascinating world of dog licking paintings and uncover the possible motivations behind this quirky habit.

So, if you’re a dog parent or owner who has witnessed this behavior, keep reading to find out more!

Why Do Dogs Lick Paintings?

Curiosity and Exploration

Dogs are naturally curious creatures, and they use their sense of taste to explore the world around them.

When they encounter a painting, the different textures and smells may pique their interest, leading them to give it a lick.

It’s their way of investigating and understanding their surroundings.

Sensory Stimulation

Paintings often contain various scents, such as the aroma of paint or the residue of materials used during the creation process.

Dogs have a highly developed sense of smell, and they may find these scents intriguing.

Licking the painting allows them to experience these scents more intensely, providing sensory stimulation.

Marking Territory

Dogs have scent glands in their mouths, and licking objects can be a way for them to mark their territory.

By leaving their saliva on a painting, they are essentially claiming it as their own.

This behavior is more common in unneutered male dogs, as they have a stronger instinct to mark their territory.

Attention-Seeking Behavior

Some dogs may lick paintings as a way to seek attention from their owners.

If they notice that their licking behavior elicits a reaction, such as scolding or petting, they may continue doing it to gain attention.

It’s essential to understand that dogs thrive on human interaction, and they will resort to various behaviors to engage with their owners.

Is Dog Licking Paintings Harmful?

In most cases, dog licking paintings is harmless and doesn’t pose any significant risks.

However, there are a few factors to consider to ensure your dog’s safety and the preservation of the artwork.

Toxicity of Paints

If the painting contains toxic paints or chemicals, it’s crucial to prevent your dog from licking it.

Certain paints may contain substances like lead or cadmium, which can be harmful if ingested.

Always check the materials used in the painting and consult with a veterinarian if you suspect any potential toxicity.

Damage to the Painting

While a few licks here and there may not cause significant damage, excessive licking can harm the painting’s surface.

Dog saliva contains enzymes that can break down certain materials over time, leading to discoloration or deterioration.

If you notice your dog repeatedly licking a painting, it’s best to redirect their attention to prevent any potential damage.

How to Prevent Dog Licking Paintings?

If you want to discourage your dog from licking paintings, here are a few strategies you can try:

Distraction and Redirection

When you catch your dog in the act of licking a painting, redirect their attention to a more appropriate activity or toy.

Offer them a treat or engage them in play to divert their focus from the artwork. Consistency is key, so be patient and reinforce positive behaviors.

Training and Obedience

Teaching your dog basic obedience commands, such as "leave it" or "off," can be helpful in preventing unwanted behaviors like licking paintings.

With consistent training and positive reinforcement, your dog will learn to respect boundaries and understand what is acceptable behavior.

Physical Barriers

If you have valuable or delicate paintings that you want to protect, consider using physical barriers to prevent your dog from accessing them.

Place the artwork in areas that are off-limits to your furry friend, such as behind closed doors or in rooms with baby gates.

This way, you can ensure the safety of both your dog and your cherished paintings.


While dog licking paintings may seem like an odd behavior, it is often driven by curiosity, sensory stimulation, or attention-seeking.

As dog parents and owners, it’s essential to understand the motivations behind this behavior and take appropriate measures to prevent any potential harm to our furry friends or valuable artwork.

By redirecting their attention, training them, and using physical barriers, we can create a harmonious environment where both our dogs and paintings can coexist peacefully.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can bad teeth in dogs cause coughing?

A: Yes, dental issues, such as gum disease or infected teeth, can lead to coughing in dogs. The bacteria from the mouth can travel to the respiratory system, causing irritation and coughing.

If your dog is experiencing coughing, it’s essential to have their teeth examined by a veterinarian.

Q: Is it normal for my dog to cough after dental surgery?

A: It is not uncommon for dogs to experience mild coughing after dental surgery. The intubation tube used during anesthesia can cause temporary irritation in the throat, leading to coughing.

However, if the coughing persists or worsens, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian.

Q: Why is my dog coughing and gagging after anesthesia?

A: Coughing and gagging after anesthesia can be a result of the irritation caused by the intubation tube.

Additionally, anesthesia can temporarily suppress the cough reflex, leading to a buildup of mucus or irritants in the throat.

If the coughing and gagging persist or become severe, it’s important to seek veterinary advice.

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