Why Do Dogs Lick You?

Smiling man and child shaking hands with cute beagle puppy

Dogs are pack animals and licking themselves and other canines is all part and parcel of this. But why is your dog licking you? The most common reason for this is that your pet is simply showing you affection or using it as a greeting when you come home. However, licking can also be used as a tool for exploration or appeasement. Let’s take a look at the many reasons your pet might be licking you and what you can do about it.


What does it really mean when a dog licks you?

Of course, the natural conclusion that every pet owner jumps to when their pet licks them is that it’s a sign of love and affection which 9 times out of 10 it is. Licking is actually an instinctive behaviour that dogs are born with. This is actually how dogs make sense of the world around them and sometimes when your dog licks you they are actually investigating. This is often why they lick someone they have just met. A dog’s tongue is packed with sensors that provide them with a lot of information when it comes into contact with people or things. 


Are dog licks really kisses?

Often yes, dog licks are a sign of love and affection but they aren’t always kisses. Licking, just like barking and wagging their tail, is a form of communication and licking can occur when your dog is trying to show submission. Often, they are trying to show you or other dogs that they are submissive and know that you are the boss. Another theory is that your dog is grooming you. Your dog licks itself when grooming and this is an important bonding experience that takes place between your dog and his mum in the early weeks. For this reason, your dog is showing that he has the same bond with you and that you are part of his pack.


Should you let your dog lick you?

We love that our pets are showing us the love and affection that we show them but it’s natural to want to deter your dog from licking you especially when you think about the other things they have licked during the day.  Letting your dog lick you is a personal choice but if you want to deter your dog from doing this there are a number of ways to do so. You can move away when your pet does this and don’t reward the behaviour with affection. Give your pet lots of affection and attention when they are not licking you so they don’t associate licking with getting love or treats.


Why do dogs lick you so much?

Did you know that when a dog licks you, endorphins are released in their brains? It is often this feel good factor that means they will come back for more. If your dog is licking you a lot, it is probably down to the fact that they enjoy it.

If you are worried about your pet’s licking habits, you can get expert advice from your vet. To cover you against costly bills, you’ll need pet insurance which you can find here.

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