Why Do Dog Licks? 20 Reason You Must Know

Licking is a behavioural trait amongst all dogs, despite their size, breed, or any specification.

Though it is one of the intuitive behaviours dogs are born with, there can be some hidden reasons behind it.

While dog owners normally take licking behaviour in dogs as a sign of affection, some of them question the fact.

What if your dog licks everything? Or Why Dogs Like to Lick You and Themselves? Are dogs’ licks actually affectionate? Questions like these are awakening, especially if you have dogs around every single day.

Dogs never lick someone they don’t like or are afraid of. They will only behave the same if they feel a certain kind of affection towards the individual. It can be other dogs, cats, humans, or some other animal as well.

Are Dog Licks Really Kisses?

Licking is a way of showing affection by dogs. It is a natural action that will trigger while you are petting or loving the dog. While several owners take licking behaviour as KISSES, others may not. It is only upon the individual of how and what they claim dogs’ licks as.

Why Do Dogs Lick Human’s Faces?

Whether you love or hate it, dogs will anyway lick your face. The amount and frequency of dogs licking can also increase or decrease amongst several dogs. While some introvert dogs barely lick a human’s face (until they need something), some may do it the whole day long.

It isn’t any bizarre behaviour sign amongst dogs but a way of greeting, affection, or simply asking for your attention. However, the reasons behind this behaviour aren’t always obvious.

While recently your dog has started licking you excessively, you may want to find it out.

With that said, by listing various such reasons, we here have eased down the process for you. Have a look:

10 Reasons Why Dogs Lick People

  1. Dogs lick their owner or any individual as a sign of affection. It is when they develop a rush of good feelings, they will start licking people out of love. This is why your dog will lick you when you cry. (Common Sign)
  2. Often times dogs lick people simply to grab their attention. Just pretend to ignore them, and they will begin licking you until you give some attention. (Common Sign)
  3. One of the biggest factors that your dog lick you are because you taste GOOD to them. Also, human skin is salty or, at times, layered with scented lotions, which may excite in dogs. (Common Sign)
  4. As said earlier, licking is a common behavioural trait amongst dogs; thus, if they lick you, it is simply their habit. At times, they may lick you simply out of their natural habit. (Common Sign)
  5. Young puppies may lick or even try to chew/ bite people simply to explore their surroundings. (Common Sign).
  6. Trained dogs who are taught not to bite; tend to lick people as a sign of play. They may think that you, too, are enjoying it and thus can continue the pattern. (Un-common sign)
  7. Dogs occasionally lick to relieve their anxiety. There’s nothing worrisome behind it, and pet parents should take it completely normal. Though if the pattern continues, it may end becoming an obsessive-compulsive habit. (Un-common be Sign)
  8. Stress and Boredom can also lead to excessive licking in dogs. Dogs may lick when shifted to a new place, new home, or with new people due to freshly caused stress. (Common Sign).
  9. Dogs or mostly several animals lick their wounds in order to soothe them. They may also do the same if they see wounds on their human. It isn’t safe for humans, but your dog is just caring and cautious towards you. (Un-common be Sign)
  10. Dogs may lick you simply because they are hungry. Specially couch potatoes breeds or the ones who bark less use licking as a sign to ask for food/ treats.

10 reasons why dogs lick them or everything

  1. Dogs lick themselves to soothe their itchy skin, allergic skin or other such conditions.
  2. If your dog is licking around the base of the tail, it may be suffering from some anal gland problem. Because they cannot communicate, they often try to help themselves recover from most physical conditions.
  3. Dogs also lick themselves to soothe their own pain. An internal injury, arthritis or such condition may lead to the behaviour.
  4. Unlike humans, dogs do not need a daily bath. Instead, they lick themselves for a quick and easy cleaning session.
  5. If you find your dog licking their food or water bowl, chances are they are hungry.
  6. Excessive licking in dogs is also a sign of Cognitive issues. It is more common in old age dogs. If you suspect so, consider reaching your vet soon.
  7. Dogs tend to lick spaces they love being at. It can be your sofa, a rug, your bed or your dog’s bed.
  8. Licking is one of the subtle and effective ways of communication between dogs and their pups.
  9. While dogs are running around the house and licking almost everything, they are investigating the surroundings.
  10. When dogs lick, their endorphins are released. So next time your dog is licking himself, you or objects around, you can relax and let them continue.

Should you let your dog lick you?

If it is for a little while, you can let your dog lick you. Though once this habit turns into obsession, it is when you must limit this kind of affection.

While this voiceless creature (dog) licks you as a sign of love and affection, their saliva can cause you harm. Thus, once your dog is done licking you, consider washing your face or hand.

However, if it is in your control, train your dog to not lick you or other things around the house.

Reasons You Shouldn’t Let Your Dog Lick You.

If you have dogs at home, there’s barely any day you may have gone (un) licked by them. While when most parents enjoy this behaviour, some of them often question, “Should I let my dog lick my face”? “Is it really safe”?

Letting your dog lick your face though is your personal call, but before you encourage the behaviour, give a few minutes to these thoughts.

Why dog keeps licking lips and swallowing?

Sometimes you may observe dog licking lips and swallowing constantly. Dog’s non stop licking their lips shows their gesture of strong feeling being anxiety, threat or anxious, or any underlying health-related issue such as nausea, oral infection.

  • Several years and individuals went around with the myth that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than humans. Though in reality, it is not. Instead, it is full of bacteria, parasites and whatnot.
  • While your dog is out for a walk, you may have noticed them hovering faces over almost everything. It can be shit, poop, garbage or the ugliest of components. And unlike humans, they obviously do not brush and gargle. After this, will you love them licking you back again?
  • While most bacteria in your dog’s mouth are harmless, certain amongst them can cost you a lot. Few of the harmful bacteria include Salmonella, Pasteurella, campylobacter, and Leptospira. Mind it; they can prove hazardous for humans. Are you willing for any risks?

Which dog breeds lick the most?

While licking is a common behaviour amongst all kinds of dogs, some of them can compete here as well.

Several affectionate breeds will tend to lick more than their counterparts.

15 dog breeds who licks the most

  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. Skye Terrier
  3. Bearded Collie
  4. Bichon Frise
  5. Chihuahua
  6. American Staffordshire Terrier
  7. Poodle
  8. Brussels Griffon
  9. English Mastiff
  10. Basset Hound
  11. Pug
  12. Golden Retriever
  13. Italian Greyhound
  14. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  15. Newfoundland

Why doesn’t my dog licks me?

Despite most of the dogs you met licking you, your own canine buddy may refrain from doing so. But with that, you don’t have to necessarily panic.

Dogs who do not lick (much) are as normal as the ones who lick often and more. It is possible that as a pup, your dog was trained not to lick. Hence, they are just a good learner.

Or, instead of licking, your dog may have other behavioural traits for showering affection. While some of them would love to cuddle you, some will prefer simply relaxing in your lap (or even shoulders).

Wrapping up

And one of the common answers for the question “Why do dogs lick”? Simply because they like to. They do not need any reason for that.

We, humans, cuddle with babies, partners, or anyone around simply because we want to. Similarly, if you fail to find the logic behind your dog’s licking behaviour, rest assured, as they like to do so.

However, if your dog licks too much, you can provide them with some mode of distraction.

Give them some soft toys to play with, offer a few treats or take them for an energy-releasing walk.

If still the behaviour grows to an obsession, you can always take expert and professional help.