Why Do Dogs Lick? 5 Slobbery Explanations

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Dog licking its faceIs your dog constantly licking and you have no idea why?

Licking is a very natural way for dogs to communicate with one another. In fact, after a mother has her pups, she licks them to help them start breathing and clean them. This initial licking sticks with dogs throughout their lives, and they use it for many reasons. Licking for dogs is similar to humans biting their nails — both release pleasurable endorphins which creates comfort and relieves stress.

Here are some common questions and answers to help you better understand your dog and what he or she is communicating with its tongue.

Why Do Dogs Lick People?

Are you asking yourself, “Why does my dog lick me so much?” Watch this clip of this dog obsessively licking this person’s legs and we’ll discuss the reasons this dog may be licking.

Dogs lick us as a sign of affection; however, not everyone is into their dog licking them. If you’re one of these people, you can try to minimize it by ignoring the licking. If your dog starts licking you, don’t give them attention, stand up and walk away from your dog. This will teach your dog that licking means you walk away from your dog. If you are petting your dog and they start to lick you, stop petting and walk away. By repeating this, your dog should stop licking you, although this may be difficult because dogs naturally like the salty taste of our skin. If you are not giving your dog attention and they begin to lick you, and you respond, this is a form of positive reinforcement, which encourages them to continue.

Why Do Dogs Lick Faces?

I think my dog Sally licks my face for two reasons. First, to show me affection and second, because my skin tastes good to her because I just worked out and my skin is salty, or I just showered and she likes the scent of my soap. To determine why do dogs lick you, ask yourself if you have scented soap or lotion on, if you just worked out or if your dog is just showing they love you.

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?

My sister’s dog has a nightly routine that includes about 30 minutes of him licking his paw and leg. He doesn’t change legs or paws — it’s always the same area for long periods of time. He’s a 110-pound yellow Labrador retriever and it’s so cute that he does it every night. But what’s causing my sister’s dog licking paws?

There are a couple of things it could be. First, he could have a medical problem like a skin condition or even obsessive-compulsive disorder. If his paw was swollen or he was limping he should be seen by a vet immediately. Fortunately, this isn’t the case. The other possibility is that he just does this out of habit, which I think is what’s going on here. He does this every night before bed, so I believe that it’s part of his night time ritual and is similar to us brushing our teeth before bed.

Why Do Dogs Lick Themselves?

Sally licks herself sometimes around her private region. She then comes up to my husband or me and tries to give us kisses. Everyone always says, “A dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s,” but — to be blunt — it’s hard for me to believe that when Sally is licking her anal area, greeting dogs by licking their rears and eating rotten things.

Most dogs lick themselves in some capacity. This could be due to boredom, anxiety (learn about Clomipramine to help with anxiety), a skin condition or pain. If your dog licks their anal area frequently, that could be an indication of allergy symptoms or they may need their anal glands expressed.

Why Do Dogs Lick Each Other?

Licking can be a form of submission. The more submissive dog in a pack will lick the dominant dogs as a sign of respect to maintain balance.

Excessive Licking In Dogs

If your dog is excessively licking it may be due to a behavioral problem. If your dog is obsessively licking themselves, you or an object, you may want to speak with your dog’s vet about behavioral treatment to help your dog stop this.

If you’re interested in getting your dog behavioral therapy, you could consider an online training course or pet insurance as an option for helping you cover the expenses. Take a look at this coverage comparison table to see which pet insurance companies cover behavioral therapies.

Why do you think your dog licks?

About The Author:

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. She has been writing about dogs since 2014, covering subjects such as dog insurance, training, health, accessories and more. Her natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing and personally testing canine products and services. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs.

Kimberly grew up in a family that loved Labrador Retrievers and remembers running and playing in the yard with them as a child. In 2017, she and her husband adopted their Coonhound mix, Sally, from a local shelter. Kimberly's research was put to good use since Sally faced some aggression issues with other dogs and needed some training to be an inside dog. She worked daily with Sally and sought help from professionals to help Sally become the happy pup she is today.

One of Kimberly's favorite pastimes is spoiling Sally with new toys, comfy beds and yummy treats (she even makes homemade goodies for her). She tries to purchase the safest products for Sally and knows that each canine has their own specific likes and dislikes. Kimberly is passionate about dogs, and knows the bond between humans and canines is like no other.

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Our pup LOVES licking my husband when he comes back from a run and is all salty! She licks him head to toe, it’s hilarious. While I understand why she does that, I can’t explain why she’ll just lick the sofa, maybe boredom?