Why Do Dogs Lick Their Legs After Eating Peanut Butter?

Black and white husky licking her arm after eating peanut butter

My husky sister, Callie, does this without fail every single time she is fed peanut butter. At first I thought she was going crazy, then I realized the purpose of licking her leg post sticky treat consumption was more about hygiene than it was some weird and uncontrollable tick. So, shall we jump right into the reasons dogs lick their legs after eating peanut butter?

Dogs lick their legs after eating peanut butter as a way to clean both their tongue and the roof of their mouth. Peanut butter’s thick and sticky consistency make it an immediate adhesive to a dogs mouth once mixed with their saliva. The sheer act of licking their leg is a means to remove the excess peanut butter from their tongue and out of the grooves of their upper mouth.

Disclaimer: The Can My Dog articles contain information based on the individual research and opinions of the author of the site – who just so happens to be a dog. How you utilize the information given is completely up to you. Proceed at your own risk.

Dogs Lick Their Leg After Eating Peanut Butter for Two Reasons

Dogs lick their leg after eating peanut butter for two reasons.

Reason number 1: to clean the top of their tongue by using the fur on their legs as an act of scrubbing.

Reason number 2: to generate enough motion with their tongue and saliva to remove the excess peanut butter from the roof of their mouth.

Dogs are extremely efficient when it comes to self care and hygiene (for the most part). Cleaning their peanut butter filled mouths are no different.

A dog’s sense of smell is just as important to them as sight is to humans. And surprisingly enough, their mouths play a dominant role in the effectiveness of their olfactory receptors. If their mouths are compromised by copious amounts of peanut butter, their sense of smell decreases as a result.

Rule Out Other Reasons Your Dog May Be Licking Their Leg

Dogs have a tendency to lick their paws and legs as a sign of discomfort when they are sick or unsettled.

It’s important to ensure that your dog’s reason for licking his leg is in fact immediately following peanut butter consumption and not an ongoing response to issues like allergies, an injury, or other illness.

Pay close attention to your dog if they suddenly begin licking excessively and this is abnormal behavior for them. Your dog will communicate through behaviors and actions. Licking, lip smacking, and drooling can be signs of nausea in your dog. Notify your vet immediately once you notice this behavior.

Let’s discuss other reasons your dog could be continuously licking his body and things you can do to stop them.

How To Stop Your Dog From Constantly Licking Their Legs

If medical issues have been ruled out by a professional, then your dog may be self soothing.

Other reasons for compulsive licking could be:

  • Habitual behavior
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Anxious behavior
  • Bored behavioral response
  • Hygiene behavioral response

Finding out the reason for your dog’s excessive licking behaviors will be the key to stopping it.

How do I stop my dog from obsessively licking?

Redirect their behavior as soon as they start. This can be done by verbal awareness. By speaking their name to avert their attention to you. Or by petting them and/or giving them direct and intentional attention.

Keeping your dog physically and mentally engaged on a daily basis will give them enough stimulation as an outlet to reduce the feelings of anxiety or any other negative emotions generally associated with excessive energy and boredom.

Begin to train them to stop licking on command.

Use commands like, “leave it”, when you see your dog start to lick themselves. Once they look up at you, reward them with a treat. This type of positive reinforcement will begin to teach them that the goodies come from NOT licking.

Breaking bad behavior in your dog will take time and consistency. Always remember, the key to an obedient and responsive dog is repetition.

How Much Peanut Butter Should I be Giving My Dog?

Peanut butter, while high in protein, is also high in poly and monounsaturated fats.

A high fat diet can have a negative impact on your dog’s general wellbeing and overall health. This is precisely the reason you shouldn’t let your dog eat your cat’s food – due to the high concentrated levels of fats.

Keeping your dog’s peanut butter serving down to a minimum (half of a tablespoon) each day will help to mitigate risk of pancreatitis – which is common in dogs who have high levels of fat in their diets.

Best Peanut Butter Brands for Your Dog

Let me keep it super simple for you here.

The absolute best peanut butter for your dog are the brands with minimal ingredients. And by minimal, I mean two ingredients or less.

My personal favorite is the 100% Peanuts brand from Crazy Richards. There’s one ingredient. It’s peanuts.

Does not get more simple than that.

Feeding your dog whole foods will always be the best bet.

At the most, your dog’s peanut butter could contain salt as a second ingredient, but given the choice, go with the one with peanuts as the lone ranger.

Don’t be fooled by labels with “natural” smeared on the front. Always turn the jar over and read the list of ingredients. You will want to stay away from the ones that list these following ingredients:

  • Xylitol
  • Hydrogenated Oils (of any kind)
  • Sugar
  • Diglycerides

Pro tip: These types of peanut butters will more than likely have oil that has separated from the peanuts. This is completely normal. Stir thoroughly until the peanut butter is incorporated and then store in the refrigerator upside down.


Well, there you have it. Your dog isn’t weird. They just have peanut butter caked on their tongue and are using their furry legs to clean it off.

No need to over analyze this behavior assuming it happens after you feed your dog their allotted serving of peanut butter. It’s all a part of the pallet cleansing process. Well, that and our need for a clean mouth and a heighted sense of smell.

And as always, my kind hearted humans, continue to Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our bellies often!

Love you guys,


P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.

Related Questions

Why is My Dog Such a Weirdo?

Your dog, much like you, displays certain character and behavior traits that could seem odd or weird in comparison to other dogs. This strange behavior is actually common in dogs as it showcases their individual personalities and unique mannerisms.

You may notice your dog acting a certain way or habitually repeating something in a meticulous manner but on a consistent basis that may have you thinking that you have a broken dog.

Don’t be alarmed! This is actually quite normal.

Below are some common but odd behaviors seen in many dogs:

  • Does your dog stare at you? Like, a lot?
  • Does your dog insist on joining you in the bathroom?
  • Or maybe your dog spins in circles before laying down?
  • Does your dog sit on top of your feet?

These are just a few of the strange yet common behaviors you most likely see in your dog.

Disclaimer: You know your dog better than anyone. If their actions are completely out of character, this could be a warning sign. Contact the vet immediately.

Need more? Click this link: Why is my dog such a weirdo?

Why Do Some Dogs Swallow Their Food Whole?

Some dogs swallow their food whole based on an innate and evolutionary survival trait.

Your dog’s ancestors were forced to eat fast in order to move out of the way of the next possible (bigger) game that may want what they hunted or found.

The fastest way to eat is to swallow your food whole.

While your dog doesn’t need to hurry these days since you feed them prepped food on a daily basis, the innate behavior has yet to be removed from a lot of dogs.

Interestingly enough, my sister husky does this and I do not. I’m a cocker spaniel. I wonder if this is because my sister is still so closely related to our wolf lineage?

Food for thought.

Pun completely intended.

Anyway, if you want to read more on this topic, click through here: Why do some dogs swallow their food whole?

This article has been reviewed by our Editorial Board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our Editorial Policies.

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