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Understand Why Your Dog Loves to Lick You

Understand Why Your Dog Loves to Lick You

Understand Why Your Dog Loves to Lick You

Dogs are known for their unconditional love and affection, but why do they often express it through licking? Let’s look at why dogs love to lick us, what it can mean when they do so, how you can tell if your dog is feeling sick, and how you can stop them from licking excessively. You can better appreciate how your furry friend shows their love with just a little understanding!

Why do dogs lick?

Dogs use licking as a way to communicate with us and with each other. It is an instinctual behavior that can express feelings of love, acceptance, and comfort. The movements also mimic nursing behavior and can automatically create a sense of relaxation for both parties involved. Interestingly, puppies are born blind and deaf, so licking helps them to find food from their mothers.

By licking, dogs create familiarity by releasing happy hormones such as oxytocin and dopamine. With proper training, this playful gesture can be calming if you reward your pup's good behavior with pats or treats while they are licking!

dog licking fingers

What does it mean when a dog licks you?

It can be so comforting when our furry friends lick us, but it's important to remember that a dog's displays are often steeped in meaning. When a pup licks you, it could be showing affection and trying to bond with you. Interestingly, the act of licking itself is used by dogs to show submission - similar to when wild canines groom each other.

Our canine companions could also be trying to get your attention to ask for something from you - usually food or playtime! Additionally, if a particular spot on your body is repeatedly being licked, dogs may be trying to tell you that it's irritated them somehow. By allowing us into their world of comforts and discomforts through licking behavior, our pups remind us just how emotionally connected we are.

Is it bad if your dog licks you?

Dog kisses can be both a loving and affectionate gesture from your pup, but it's important to remember that when your dog is licking you, it could also be trying to tell you something else. It could be a sign of stress or even a request for attention.

While it's not necessarily bad if your dog licks you, it can still have unintended consequences – exceptionally if your pup starts to nibble or bite during the licking process. Being mindful of why your furry friend might be licking you can help ensure that everyone – human and canine alike – stays safe and happy together!

dog licking woman's face

Should you stop your dog from licking?

Dog licking is a typical behavior among many breeds and can be cute and endearing, but it's essential to pay attention to when your pup is more than "just friendly." Excessive licking is often an indication of anxiety or boredom in dogs, so setting boundaries like no physical contact while they're licking can help them understand how much attention is acceptable.

There are alternative ways that you can provide your pup with the affection they crave, making sure to reward calm behaviors, not overly energetic ones. Stimulating activities such as Long Walks, Hide-and-Seek games, and Scent Trails will keep them entertained and curb the need for constant licking. Doing so will teach your dog new behaviors and bring them enjoyment and improved mental health benefits.

How can you get your dog to stop licking?

Training your beloved pup can be challenging, especially when teaching them not to lick. Though seemingly harmless, incessant licking can signify underlying stress or anxiety in your pet.

The best way to discourage this behavior is by addressing the potential cause:

  • Is your pup getting enough exercise and stimulation?
  • Are you providing them with positive reinforcements like treats and toys?

If these needs aren’t met, try distracting your pup from licking with an alternate activity like playing fetch or going for a walk.

Of course, every pet is different, and you may need to consult a professional if other measures fail. Whatever approach you take, know that you can help teach your furry friend new behaviors with patience and persistence!

What are some other ways your dog shows affection?

Identify a lick on the face as a sign of emotion from our pup, and there are several other subtle (yet unmistakable) indications that your pup loves you! For example, your dog might rest their head on your lap - something it wouldn't do if they weren't feeling secure and comfortable.

Other signs include bringing you their favorite toy to play fetch or sleeping close by at night. Taking the time to observe how your dog interacts with you can help reveal all the little ways they demonstrate their love. Plus, it's a great way to bond with your furry friend and get to know them better!

dog licking man's chin

What are some signs that your dog doesn't like you?

Signals that your dog may not be so content with you include a head turn when you approach, yawning, chewing on or licking its paws, or having its tail tucked between its legs. Additionally, if your pup avoids eye contact and physical touch, these can be signs of discomfort or distrust.

Addressing these behaviors is essential to create an open and healthy relationship with your pet. By getting down on their level and paying close attention during interactions with your pup, you'll quickly learn the signs they use that let you know their feelings and how they want to be treated accordingly.

What should you do if your dog starts licking excessively?

If you notice that your dog is licking excessively, it could indicate a medical problem. If licking persists beyond a few days, it's best to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible to rule out any potential health issues. Along with addressing any underlying medical problem(s) that may cause excessive licking behavior, some owners find success in providing a distraction for their dogs when they start licking unnecessarily. This could include playing with toys or going on walks.

Additionally, if your dog is excessively licking out of anxiety or stress, there are products like calming aids and pheromone diffusers which may help. If the behavior continues after trying positive reinforcement techniques and consultative visits with the vet, it might be beneficial to turn to a professional animal behaviorist for more tailored advice and strategies.

How can you tell if your dog is sick?

Keeping an eye out for changes in your dog's behavior is one of the best and easiest ways to tell if they are feeling under the weather. If your pup is usually a lively and energetic animal but suddenly seems uninterested in playing and lacks energy, it could be a sign that something isn't right. You should also take note of their daily routine; if your pet has stopped eating or drinking like they usually do, or their sleeping habits have changed drastically, it could be a sign that they're feeling ill.

Other signs to look out for include vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, and itching. While some of these symptoms can indicate mild issues like allergies or possible injury, it's always better to avoid caution and get them checked out by a veterinarian. Keeping a close eye on your furry friend's health is always important!

dog licking woman's nose

What are some common health problems in dogs that can cause excessive licking?

Excessive licking can signify many health issues in dogs, causing long-term skin diseases and allergic reactions. One common condition which can cause excessive licking is dietary intolerance or food allergies. This can be triggered by various proteins, usually beef and wheat, which are found in many commercial pet foods. Pay close attention to your dog's diet and watch for any signs of food sensitivities.

Skin infections are another culprit of excessive licking; bacteria and yeast can cause inflammation your pup will want to relieve by sticking their tongue to the source! Flea infestations are also linked to licking as fleas biting the skin irritate and itch, making dogs compulsively lick the affected area.

If you notice any persistent or unusual licking behavior, it's always best to connect with a vet as soon as possible. With early detection and treatment, these common health problems can be easily managed so your pup can lick happily ever after!


Understanding why your dog loves to lick you can be as simple as recognizing that they love you. Dogs have developed a strong emotional bond with humans over thousands of years of domestication and show their affection through licking. 

In turn, we should reciprocate that love – by providing them with plenty of attention and treats or giving them an extra-long belly rub. Licking may not always be convenient for us, but it is one way for your pup to express their devotion to you and appreciation for all the good times you share.

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