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Why Do Dogs Lick You [Secrets Revealed]

Updated by Sheryl on Sep 18, 2021

Does your dog love to kiss you all time instead of playing and exploring? If so, sometimes an embarrassing situation, isn’t it? Occasionally, dogs lick you to show their love. But if they abnormally keep slurping and tasting you, it is not the right behavior.

This post is especially for all dog owners who are sick of the excessive licking habit of their dogs. In this article, you’ll find the reasons and meanings of dog licking, as well as how to stop your canine from excessive kissing.

dog licks girl's face
Should You Allow Your Dog to Lick You
8 Reasons for Why Do Dogs Lick You
5 Tips to Stop Your Dog’s Excessive Licking Habit
Most Asked Questions

Dog licking is harmless unless you have open wounds or a weak immune system. So, allowing your dog to lick you depends on how you feel about it. If kissing is normal, don’t get panic. If it frustrates you, train your buddy to stop doing this.

Scientifically, a dog’s mouth has both good and bad bacteria. In addition, some dogs have a habit of tasting their poop. So, if you have wounds, the licking may cause severe infection. It is better to rule out the reasons behind excessive licking in your pet canine.

Commonly, dogs express their love and bond with you through licking. It is an instinctive behavior that puppies get from their mother. The mother dog licks the babies to clean them after birth. In addition, she grooms and loves her puppies by licking.

Though it is not considered a bad habit, constant and repetitive licking bothers many pet owners. As dogs can’t get that their owner frustrates due to this behavior, it affects your closeness with your pet. Here are 8 reasons that explain why do dogs lick you.

1. Exploring

Dogs use their tongue to taste and explore the world around them. So, when they kiss people and taste objects, it means they are touching things as you do.

2. Grooming

Dog’s grooming is incomplete without licking. So naturally, canine’s tongue has some antibacterial properties that they use to clean their coat. Even they use their tongue to clean their butt after potty. It is a common misconception that a dog’s tongue is antiseptic. It has both good and bad bacteria.

3. Love your taste

Your dog might love the taste of your natural skin, that’s why it keeps slurping you. Also, according to a certified applied animal behaviorist Dr. Mary Burch of AKC, some pet canines like the salty sweat of their owners after a workout. Therefore, they kiss you on your open body parts more after an exercise to taste salt instead of affection.

4. Attention Seeking

If your dog is getting bored, it may lick you more for attention-seeking. However, if you start petting, laughing, and playing with your dog in response to licking, it might learn this negative communication. For example, it will expect the same reaction from you after every abnormal kissing session.

5. Affection

Mother dog licks her babies for affection and making a strong bond. So, they associate licking with love. It is a natural action that the puppies learn from their mothers. Therefore, they love to kiss on any part of your skin that is within their reach.

6. Food Seeking Behavior

Some dogs might lick your face after you have eaten something delicious. They want to explore the taste of a new dish. So, you can relate an increased face kissing to the food-seeking behavior.

7. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Yes, dogs can also suffer from OCD, although it is rare. Basically, extreme stress and anxiety trigger OCD in dogs. It involves other behaviors, such as licking humans, themselves, or any other object around. Sometimes, an OCD dog develops soars on its tongue due to constant surface licking behavior.

8. Medical Condition

Repetitive self-licking at a specific body part means that your dog is in pain. In addition, canines produce more saliva due to nausea. Therefore, they start licking their lips or nearby objects for comfort. Also, a stressed or scared dog obsessively licks nearby objects due to separation anxiety.

Click to know more about how to deal with dog separation anxiety

dog licks human
If your dog’s kisses bother you, don’t worry. Here are 5 tips that can help to train your dog to stop excessive licking:
Ignore your buddy if it tries to groom you with showers of saliva. Instead, stand up and get out of the room. It will give him a hint that you can’t appreciate this act.
Don’t forget to reward your pet once it sits calmly and learns that licking is negative behavior.
Hide treats within interactive puzzles. It is the best activity to distract your dog.  In addition, redirect your dog by ball play or trick training. In short, engage your pet in some other activity to stop over-licking behavior.
You might be confused about when to allow your pet to lick you and when not. It’s easy, just set boundaries and use other ways to show your love, such as leg weaving, speaking on a clue, or giving a hug to him.
If your critter doesn’t leave its obsessive licking habit, consult a vet or animal behaviorist.
shake hands with the dog
Why does my dog lick when I pet him?
Generally, dogs show affection and lick you in response when you pet them. It improves bond between you and your pet canine. Typically, they evolve this behavior from their mother, who used to groom and kiss them for expressing her love. In short, it is their way of showing their love towards the owner. In the wild, canines welcome a new member to their home by licking. Similarly, your pooch excessively kisses you when you return home.
Why do dogs lick your face/hands?
Some dogs develop a habit of tasting the owner’s salty sweat right after a workout. So, be careful and pay attention if your pup obsessively kisses you right after exercise.In addition, you can relate it to food-seeking behavior too. For example, if your dog licks your face right after you finish a delicious meal, it might be trying to check whether you ate a salmon or garlic chicken.

Dog licking is not a problem unless it crosses the limits. If you have small kids or aged people at your home, don’t allow your furry friend to lick at your hands and face. In addition, consult a vet to rule out any medical issue with your dog.

Sheryl is an editor from iPetor, owns extensive pet care experience. As a professional writer, she can provide useful pet care tips for all "parents".
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