Owning a dog almost always comes with dog licks. Generally, dogs love to lick their human companions. But, why do they do this? There are different explanations by veterinarians as to why dogs to this act. Sometimes, it is harmless. We usually call this dog licking as dog kisses. Although, there are times when a dog’s licking is getting out of hand. They might be telling you something. Know the reasons why you canine loves licking you.
Usually, when a dog licks you, it is just them showing affection. This trait is passed on to dogs by their mothers. When they are puppies, their mothers care for them by licking them. In turn, your dogs do this to you too to show that they care about you. Dogs naturally lick other people or dogs that they love. Dogs can lick you in any part of your body from your face to your feet. Even if you put them in a dog house with a glass dog door, your pup might still kiss you through the glass. Dogs are just fun pets to be with because of this affectionate act.
Dogs release endorphins when they lick. These endorphins will give your dog a boost in happiness and relieves their stress. A dog can be under stress or anxiety that is why they lick a lot. When your dog is licking you to reduce stress, let them be. Be there for them and make them feel your love.
Sometimes your dog is licking you to seek your attention. Their act of licking you for attention is usually reinforced because of your response such as smiling or laughing. They see that they can get your attention this way that is why they do it repeatedly. Even a negative response still reinforces this behavior. If you push them away or tell them to stop it, you are still giving them attention. So, there are other ways to prevent this behavior if it is too much for you. The best way to stop your dog from licking to seek attention is to ignore them completely. You can look away or walk out when they start licking you for your attention.
They like your taste
It may sound weird, but sometimes our dogs lick us because they love our taste. Unlike dogs, humans sweat through our skin pores. Our sweat is naturally salty which is why some dogs like to lick us, humans. There are also times when they lick humans to be able to identify them. Each person has a unique taste and smell. These dogs can use their sense of taste and smell to know which person they are facing. Or, they could be licking your hands or face because you had just recently eaten and you still smell like food. On top of these reasons, licking is also a dog’s way of exploring the world. They use their tongues to know the things around him.
Cleaning and grooming
A lot of animals have to clean themselves because there is no other way to do it. They can’t use their legs or paws to clean. All they can use is their tongues. So, just like cats, dogs also lick themselves for cleaning and grooming. Watch your dog if it keeps on licking the same spot over and over again. It might be a sign that he is having allergies or has a wound and is treating it. A dog’s saliva has enzymes that can kill bacteria. But, look after your dog if he has had a recent surgical procedure. He might reopen the wound by licking it too much. Ask your veterinarian for help on this one.
Dogs naturally have a pack mentality which comes from their ancestors. The submissive members of the pack usually lick the leader or dominant member to show submission. So, your dog might be licking you to show respect and sees you as their leader. Other than that, it also shows you that they trust you.
A dog’s lick is usually harmless and affectionate. But, know when it means that they are experiencing discomfort or stress. Always care for your little companions. They would do the same for you.
Deinah Storm is a pet lover from the US that’s had cats and dogs all her life. When she’s not walking the dogs with her family, she spends time writing informational and interesting blogs about pets to share with pet lover communities.