Why Does My Dog Lick Me?

Dog licks, some of us love them and some of us just can’t stand them.  Most dogs will lick a whole lot of things, specifically their owner’s face or hands or feet, or wherever they can reach really.  Some dogs love to lick everyone, and some dogs only lick their owners or people they know.  Some will give one lick, and some may try to lick you forever.  As an owner, you have probably asked ” Why does my dog lick me?” and wondered if there are any other reasons than affection, which is the most commonly cited cause of a licking onslaught.  It is true that dogs give licks (or kisses) as a sign of affection, but there are also a couple reasons you may not have guessed!

Why Does My Dog Lick Me?• Licking is natural for a dog. Dogs first experience licking as newborns when their mothers use their tongues to stimulate and clean their babies. Your dog may be licking you because they want to bond with you!

• Dogs learn about us through licking. Dogs gather information about us through scent receptors located in their nose and mouth, and they can tell a whole lot more with them than we can with ours.   Through the sweat and sebum we release, they can tell if we are stressed, afraid or happy. Dogs tend to like licking feet because they contain the most sweat glands.

• Licking feels good for a dog. When a dog licks, endorphins are released that give them pleasure, and make them feel safe and comfortable.

• Dogs communicate respect through licking. When your dog licks you, they are telling you that they know you are the boss!

It is safe to let your dog lick you.  The old wives tale that a dogs mouth is cleaner than a human’s is partially true.  The real truth is that the types of bacteria found in dogs mouths are much different than those found in humans.  More than anything, it really depends on what’s been in there recently.  But doggy diseases are exclusive to dogs, and their bacteria will not infect you with some crazy mad dog disease.  The one exception to this is rabies, which can be passed to humans, but all dogs can be vaccinated for, and if they have rabies there are going to be some pretty obvious symptoms.  If you do not want your dog to lick you, it is not that hard to train them out of it.  Basically, all you have to do is tell them that you do not like the action.  You can use the “No” command or move away to do this. Most dogs will greatly enjoy a daily licking time when they are allowed to, though, as it still is a basic instinct for them!