Why Your Puppy Is Licking Its Crate Bars!

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Written By Editorial Staff

Veterinary Experts

Is your little puppy constantly licking the metal bars of its crate? If so, you’re not alone! This innocent behavior is quite common in puppies and has a few different explanations.

It is not uncommon for puppies to lick the bars of their crate. This behavior can be a form of self-soothing, or it may be an attempt to get your attention. You can do a few things to stop your puppy from licking crate bars. Let’s look at why your puppy is licking its crate bars and what you can do to discourage it.

Why does my puppy lick crate bars?

Why Your Puppy Is Licking Its Crate Bars!
Why Your Puppy Is Licking Its Crate Bars!

Puppies are known for their curiosity and exploratory nature. When they’re first introduced to their crate, they spend hours sniffing, licking, and pawing at the bars. While this behavior may seem strange to us, there’s actually a pretty simple explanation. For puppies, the world is full of new and interesting smells. Their sense of smell is much stronger than ours, and they use it to learn about their environment. When they lick the bars of their crate, they’re trying to figure out what the bars are made of and what they taste like. They may also be trying to explore your scent, since you’re the one who put them in the crate.

Licking the crate bar is more to do with crate behavior. However, if your puppy is licking other things obsessively, such as the floor or themselves, this could be a sign of an underlying health condition, and you should take them to the vet to get checked out.

Common reasons why your puppy is licking its crate bars: cramped space, stress, curiosity, taste of metal and boredom!

Cramped Space

The most common reason a puppy will lick its crate is that the crate is too small for it. If the crate is too small, your puppy may feel claustrophobic and stressed. This could lead to them licking the bars as a way of self-soothing. If your puppy’s crate is too small, this can be an easy fix. You’ll need to get a bigger crate for your pup! Make sure that the crate is comfortable and has enough space for your puppy to move around.

An alternative to this is to get an indoor dog fence which will give your puppy more space to roam and won’t confine them to a small space. This is a great option if you live in an apartment or have a small home and can’t have a big dog crate taking up space.

Stress or Anxiety

Puppies can also lick the bars of their crate out of stress or anxiety. This might be due to being left alone in the crate for too long or not having enough human interaction throughout the day. If your puppy is licking its cage out of boredom, try adding some dog-safe toys or chews to the crate to keep them occupied. You might also want to consider dog-proofing your home so they can have free roam of a room when you’re not able to supervise them and they’re not crated.


Some puppies lick crate bars because they enjoy the taste! But, just like people, dogs can have different preferences for what they like to lick. If your pup is constantly licking the bars of their crate, it might be time to switch to a different material such as plastic or wood.

Your puppy is bored.

If your puppy is left in the crate for long periods, it may start to get bored. This boredom can lead to them licking the bars to seek attention. To avoid this, give your puppy plenty of toys and bones to chew on while in the crate.

Is licking a crate bar harmful for a puppy?

While it may seem like harmless behavior, licking the bars of a crate can actually be harmful to puppies. The constant contact can irritate their skin, and they may also ingest small pieces of metal or paint that can lead to stomach problems. In addition, they may try to gnaw too hard and hurt their teeth.

How can I stop my puppy from licking crate bars?

If your puppy is licking the crate because they’re bored, you’ll need to train them that this behavior is unacceptable. The best way to do this is by using positive reinforcement such as treats or praise whenever they go in their crate without licking the bars.

Use Positive reinforcement

Use positive reinforcement such as treats or praise whenever your puppy goes in their crate without licking the bars. This will help them to understand that this behavior is not acceptable.

One important thing to keep in mind when discouraging your puppy from licking the bars of their crate is bite inhibition. This is the dog’s ability to control the force of its bite and not cause harm. Puppies need to learn bite inhibition, so they don’t accidentally hurt someone when they’re playing or during grooming. If you scold your puppy too harshly for licking the bars of their crate, they might not learn bite inhibition and could hurt someone.

Remember to be patient with your puppy as they learn what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t. Puppies are learning creatures, and it will take time for them to understand what you expect from them. With patience and positive reinforcement, your puppy will learn that licking the bars of their crate is not acceptable behavior.

Dog-proof your home

Dog-proof your home as much as possible so they don’t have to worry about chewing on something they’re not supposed to.

Dog toys and bones

Give your puppy plenty of chew toys and bones to help keep their minds occupied.


Make sure to give your puppy plenty of exercise so they’re tired when it’s time to go in the crate.

Change crate material

Switch to a different material such as plastic or wood if your puppy is licking the bars because they enjoy the taste. My puppy used to lick only metal surfaces but never the wood. Favorite places were sofa legs, crates, and doorknobs. They find it meditative, perhaps. But if you switch to a wooden crate, it will surely inhibit this licking behavior.

Bitter spray

As a last resort, you can try using a bitter spray on the crate’s bars, which will deter your puppy from licking. Be sure only to use this as a last resort, though as it can make your puppy not want to go in their crate if they associate it with the bitter taste. As I said, use this as a last resort because the sense of smell is far greater than humans. So we cannot perceive what might be too hurtful for the pup. In addition, it may cause increased levels of stress and anxiety.

Will my puppy ever stop licking crate bars?

Of course! They will grow out of it as they age and mature. Just like a human child, a puppy’s brain is still developing, and they’re still learning what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t. Once your puppy is house-trained, you may no longer need a crate. So don’t worry, this is just a phase, and your puppy will grow out of it. Just be patient and consistent with your training, and they’ll learn in no time.

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Final Thoughts

Puppies are curious creatures and like to explore everything with their mouths. Licking is also a way for puppies to self-soothe and calm themselves down.

It’s no wonder our puppies lick the bars of their crates – they’re bored, anxious, and the crate is too small! By understanding why puppies do this, we can help make their lives a little bit easier. Crate training doesn’t have to be hard, but it does take some patience and a lot of positive reinforcement. With a little effort on your part, your puppy will be happily spending time in their crate in no time!

Thanks for reading! I hope this was helpful.

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