Dogs are the most popular type of pet kept in the western world and a massive number of people add a new puppy to their family each year so we commonly see people reaching out to ask various questions about problems that they are having with their new puppy. Although quite rare in the grand scheme of things, we have noticed a number of people reaching out to ask questions about their puppy licking their crate recently so we wanted to publish this article to try and help.
The most common reasons that a puppy will lick its crate is due to the crate being too small for it, the puppy being stressed or anxious, and a lack of mental stimulation in the crate for the puppy. Some of these can be a pain to treat in your puppy where as others can often be an easy fix and your puppy will stop licking its crate once it has has its trigger removed.
In some cases, a puppy may only lick the crate when you enter the room due to becoming excited though and this can make it difficult to work out if your puppy is only licking its crate bars when you are in the room or all of the time. You can try to set up a cheap pet spy camera to work out if your puppy is licking the bars of its crate constantly though if you are curious.
Why Do Puppies Lick The Bars On Their Crate?
Puppies can grow at a rapid pace and this will commonly cause a puppy to outgrow its crate within a matter of months with some breeds. This is one of the most common causes of a puppy licking its crate bars due to the crate being too small for your puppy as it grows and the pup used the bar licking as a coping mechanism while in its crate.
If you have a rescue puppy that is licking the bars on its crate then it may be due to previous trauma or stress and anxiety due to issues created before you even got the puppy. Even if you purchased your puppy from a puppy mill these issues may be present in your dog due to the pup being kept in a small space when young. If you do suspect that this is a problem then getting some an indoor dog fence is probably a much better option than a crate for your puppy as it offers them much more space.
If you think that your puppy is licking the bars on its crate due to having a lack of mental stimulation then you can often just get it a cuddly toy and add it to your puppies crate to offer it some comfort while in its crate. Just keep in mind that a large number of puppies will try to destroy their cuddly toys rather than treasure them so this can be a double edged sword.
How Can You Stop A Puppy Licking The Bars On Their Crate?
Depending on the cause of your puppy licking the bars on its crate, it can be a difficult behavior to discourage, especially if you have no option but to keep your puppy in the crate. If possible, we would recommend that you consider just getting an indoor dog fence to block off parts of your home to let your puppy have a larger area to play as this stops most issues that can cause your puppy to lick its crate bars.
We know that some people are not able to do this and that they may have to keep their puppy in a crate though. If you do fall into this category then getting your puppy a larger dog crate may be able to help. Just keep in mind that your puppy may not have stopped growing yet so going with a larger crate that is future proofed against the coming months of growth in your puppy is probably worth it.
The majority of large towns and cities have multiple doggy day care services these days with some of them being priced at very competitive rates. If you do usually put your puppy in a crate while you are out at work during the day then looking at taking advantage of one of these doggy day care services is often a much better option as your dog gets social interaction with both humans and other dogs rather than being stuck in its crate.
Will A Puppy Grow Out Of Licking The Bars On Their Crate?
The majority of puppies will grow out of licking the bars on their crate with many dog owners choosing to not use the crate anymore once their puppy is house trained. This should be the ultimate goal when training your puppy as removing the need for the crate removes the issue of licking the crate bars all together with most dogs that have been correctly trained being able to be left in the house out of their crate without issue.
If you do keep a puppy in a crate that is too small for it then the licking of the crate bars will often stick with the dog and often get worse as it continues to grow and the cage size gets smaller and smaller relative to your dog. Crate bar licking caused due to previous trauma, stress or anxiety will often not be easily trained out of the dog either and although it is possible, it will take a large amount of time, effort, and love to help your puppy grow out of licking its crate bars.
Some people do use the various citrus spray products on the bars of their puppies cage to discourage licking and chewing of the bars with this commonly being recommended on social media but you should NEVER do this. Your puppy has a much stronger sense of smell than humans and while in its crate, it is essentially trapped and if you cover the crate bars in citrus spray it is trapped by an over whelming smell that can actually increase its stress and anxiety and make the condition even worse.
That brings our article going over why your puppy is licking its crate and how you are able to stop the licking to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you but if your puppy is licking the bars on its crate then we would usually just recommend that you look to get your puppy out of its crate as soon as possible. Now, some puppies can be trained to be in their crate without issue but this does need consistent training over a prolonged period of time for the majority of people and this may not be realistic depending on the amount of free time that you have available for the training sessions.