Why Does My Dog Lick His Collar? 5 Reasons

Dogs have a curious nature and they get excited for almost anything. They develop a rather positive association with their owners and things they interact with on a daily basis. Now, as we all know, licking is a dog’s way of expressing his love. But, does the same apply to collars? 

If you’re wondering why does my dog lick his collar? There are several reasons for it. Here’s an insight into reasons why dogs lick their collars.

Why Does My Dog Lick His Collar?

Dogs are simply accustomed to licking certain materials, or certain flavors.1

The primary reason why dogs lick their collars is that they’re simply attached to it. Dogs usually have a collar on them at all times which catches their scent. Since the collar has their scent, they consider it a part of themselves or as their personal belonging.

So, when you finally take it off, they start licking it merely due to excitement. Licking is basically your dog’s way of expressing love. Now, moving towards the secondary reason, your dog may lick its collar because dogs are simply accustomed to licking certain materials, or certain flavors.

5 Reasons of “Why Dogs Lick their Collars?”

There are a number reasons why dogs lick their collars.

These include:

Attachment To The Collar Or Its Scent

One of the reasons why dogs lick their collar is their attachment to the collar due to their scent. As mentioned earlier, the collar catches the smell of your dog since he/she wears it most of the time.

Since dogs are familiar with their own scent, they get excited when you take their collar off and out of sheer curiousness and joy, your dog may lick its collar. Similarly, your dog may also have developed a certain attachment to the collar due to wearing it for extended periods.

As a result, your dog may start licking it. However, this does not apply to all dogs. Some dogs like their collars, whereas some simply dislike them. So, before you go ahead and cross “attachment to the collar or its scent” from the list, there are other reasons you can consider too.

Your Dog May Like The Collar’s Material, Flavor, Or Feel

Licking and smelling things is your dog’s way of exploring the world. Dogs usually lick things to get a feel of what a certain object is and determine whether it is of their liking or not.

Since they take things in their mouth so often and chew on them, they may get accustomed to certain materials, flavors, or the feel of things.

Talking of certain materials, cloth, leather, and chewable items like rubber are amongst the favorites of dogs. Since collars are made from either of the above mentioned items, your dog may simply lick it due to its liking of the material, its flavor or how it feels in their mouth.

Your Dog Is Simply Prone To Licking

As you already know, all dogs are not the same. Every breed is different in terms of their genetics or DNA. Now, according to this your canine friend may simply be more prone to licking compared to other breeds. In this case, your dog would excessively lick everything it finds or loves.

So, if your dog is often licking things like its collar, your dog may simply be prone to licking. It is also possible for your dog to obsess over things and develop compulsive behaviors like licking. Unfortunately, such compulsive behaviors makes things difficult for your dogs to actually enjoy themselves. 

Keeping such compulsive behaviors in mind, there can be another explanation for it. Dogs that lick things more often, they may be suffering from poor mental health such as anxiety.

If your dog’s licking problem is too extreme, you should immediately consult with the local veterinarian. A thorough diagnosis will help you rule out whether your dog is suffering from possible medical complications like stress or anxiety.

On the contrary, if your dog appears normal and simply licks things more often or with a greater intensity, there is nothing for you to be worried about. You can simply deduce that it is merely a personality trait of your dog.

When Boredom Strikes, Your Dog May Lick Its Collar

Lack of toys can also indicate why your dog is licking its collar1

Boredom is also one of the reasons why dogs lick their collars. Just like us, dogs too can get bored. Dogs have a very different nature and they can be entertained by small things, but require constant attention. If your dog does not receive enough attention your pet will most likely be bored or become depressed.

As a result your dog may end up licking its collar. In addition to this, dogs require certain toys to keep them occupied. Lack of toys can also indicate why your dog is licking its collar more often.

Irritated By The Collar

Not all dogs like having a collar on at all times. Some dogs associate wearing a collar with irritation and as a result may try to lick their collar in an attempt to get rid of it. To rule this out, what you can do is help get the collar off and see what your dog does with it.

If you notice your dog biting the collar, you can rule this out that your dog does not like its collar or that it is too tight on the neck.

There are a number of reasons why dogs may not like wearing a collar. Dogs usually have collars on to restrict their movements while you’re talking it out for a walk.

Dogs can associate the collar as a means of limiting their movements and causing them discomfort. To help you understand this better, you should ask yourself whether your dog often pulls against the collar. If yes, you should understand that your dog is not comfortable wearing it.

As a result, your dog will not be fond of the limitations set by the collar and simply dislike it. This is why your dog may be licking it to get rid of the collar. To make the experience more pleasant for your dog, you can see whether the collar is too tight.

Since dogs have a good memory and are intelligent enough to link things, they will more likely be happy to wear a collar if they can link it to comfortable and happy walks. So, loosening the collar will lower the likelihood of your dog wanting to get rid of the collar.

Bonus Tip

A good rule of thumb is to have a spacing of two fingers between the collar and the neck of your dog.  This will allow your dog to be comfortable while going on walks and lower the chances of irritation caused by the collar.

When Should You Take The Collar Off Of Your Dog?

Dog owners usually make their dogs wear a collar at all times because it helps them carry a dog tag that can identify the owner.

This is ideal when you’re constantly taking your dog for walks and understandably, your dog can get lost or get separated from you. In this case, a dog collar would help people find the owner of the dog.

However, there are times when you can safely take off the collar of your dog. This will provide more comfort to your dog along with a sense of freedom; thus boosting the happiness levels of your dog. Here are some cases where you can take the collar off of your dog.

When Putting Your Pet To Sleep

Right before your pet goes to bed and it’s time to sleep, you can take off the collar. Your pet does not need to have a collar when going to sleep so it is entirely safe to remove the collar. Doing this will allow your dog to be comfortable and be easy when sleeping.

Additionally since a collar restricts air from reaching the skin immediately under the collar, removing it will allow the skin to breathe some air. This will also lower the chances of your pet hurting itself from moving around during sleep or from injuries caused by scratching while in sleep.

When Playing With Other Dogs

Removing the collar outside in a park is strictly not recommended as your dog may run off chasing other dogs1.

Pet dogs, when allowed to play with other dogs, they may end up being rowdy. That’s because being rowdy is their means of having fun and interacting with other dogs. So, if you’re letting your dog out to play with other dogs, you can take off its collar to make sure it doesn’t hurt itself during playtime.

However, before removing the collar make sure it is in a confined place that prevents dogs from running off. Removing the collar outside in a park is strictly not recommended as your dog may run off chasing other dogs.

When Putting Your Dog In A Crate

When you put your dog in a crate, there is always a risk of your pet choking on the collar. Yes, you read that correct. The same collar that helps with the identification of your dog can become a choking hazard when you put it in a crate.

Since the movement of your dog is limited in a crate, it may also hurt your dog when it tries to scratch its neck. This is because during scratching, your pet’s nails can get stuck in the collar which poses a significant threat to your pet’s health.

Due to this, when you intend to put your dog in a crate, you should always remove the collar. This will allow your dog to be comfortable and also lower the chances of your pet hurting itself.

Why Does My Dog Lick His Collar

Frequently Asked Questions – Why Does My Dog Lick His Collar?

Do Collars Cause Discomfort For Dogs?

Collars can cause discomfort for dogs. However, this depends on how your dog perceives a collar. If you make your dog wear a collar specifically when taking your dog outside for a walk, he or she will associate it with happy walks.
Although the collar may cause discomfort to your dog since it is used as a constraint to limit your dog’s movements while outside, but your dog will get accustomed to it. However, if the same collar is too tight around the neck of your dog, it will cause significant discomfort to your dog. As a result, your dog will try getting it off and will be anxious.
But, to cope with this, you can always loosen the collar for your dog.

Is It Necessary To Have A Collar On My Dog At All Times?

Simply put, no. It is not necessary to have a collar on your dog at all times. It is certainly not practical even if your dog likes wearing a collar at all times. A collar is used for the identification purposes of your dog since it carries a dog tag.
So, unless you’re taking your dog outside for walks, or if you intend to let your pet dog have a go at it in the park, you should not have the collar on your dog at all times. This is because it can cause irritation and may also create skin complications on the neck area.
The only thing that you need to make sure when making your dog wear a collar is that it should be comfortable and made from a quality material. Make sure it is not too tight and have at least two fingers space between the neck and the collar of your pet.

What Causes Dogs To Lick Stuff Haphazardly?

As mentioned earlier, licking stuff is your dog’s way of exploring the world. Dogs lick stuff out of sheer curiosity when they want to feel a certain thing or simply because they are bored.
Unfortunately, dogs cannot feel and sense things the same way that we do. To cope with this, dogs constantly lick and smell things to get a feel of them. In addition to this, dogs also lick things out of boredom.
When you’re not paying enough attention to your dog, or it does not have toys to play with, your dog will start licking stuff haphazardly. They do this to occupy themselves and as a means of keeping themselves entertained.
However, there is also the possibility of mental complications. If your dog is licking things with an extreme intensity, you should consult a vet to see if your pet is anxious or depressed.

Is It True That Shock Collars Are Harmful To Dogs?

Yes! Shock collars are harmful to dogs. A shock collar is used for behavioral correction of troubled dogs. Since the collar directly goes over the neck of your dog, it can cause physical and mental discomfort to your dog. Although this helps in correcting the behavior of your dog, but it also makes them anxious and stressed. So, yes! Shock collars can harm dogs.
Additionally, when dogs wear shock collars, they will associate collars with discomfort. As a result, they will also avoid wearing normal collars and be scared of them.


Hi, I’m Jacob. I’ve been a professional blogger for over six years, and in that time, I’ve written countless blogs that have helped millions of people worldwide. A DVM by profession, I have treated and cured thousands of dogs, if not millions.

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