Why Do Dogs Lick? 10 Important Reasons To Understand As Their Owners!

    Find Out Why Do Dogs Lick So Often

    If you have a dog you might always wonder why do dogs lick you so often. It is very normal for pet owners to come to various conclusions on their dogs licking them, the most common being a sign of affection and love towards them.

    Most of you do not realize that obsessive licking could be possible due to any underlying issue like fear, boredom, or anxiety (yes, your dog gets anxious too). One amazing way to stop your dog from licking is to start trick training as it helps positively redirect their problems.

    Let’s see possible reasons behind your dog licking you.

    Why Do Dogs Lick?

    why do dogs lick
    Photo by Merio on Pixabay

    There are several reasons behind your query “why do dogs lick”. Licking is an instructive behavior that most dogs are born with. Many people believe that every time their dogs licking them, it is because they are showing affection towards the owner but this reason alone is not enough for the dog to lick you constantly, right? Other reasons could also be there like taste, attention, rewards, comminution, medical reasons, submission, grooming, enjoyment, or simply investigating.

    So why do dogs lick? it is simply because they love people and shower you with kisses. The amount a dog licks may vary highly from dog to dog. Some dogs love to lick while some are not communal with their tongue like others. You just need to know that excessive licking at only a single spot can be a bigger issue that requires you to seek help from your vet.

    Here are possible elaborated reasons on why do dogs lick.

    1.To show affection and love for their favorite humans

    This is the most common and possible cause of licking in dogs. If you have had pet dogs previously, you might have seen that as soon as a new dog is born, the first instinct of a mother is to lick the newborn. They do so to clear the puppy’s nostrils so that they can breathe properly. This also helps to stimulate the flow of blood in the puppy.

    Dog’s also lick each other to improve their bond. Both adults and puppies show affection ad love toward each other by licking. The same thing goes for humans too, your pet might lick you constantly showing their gratitude, love, and affection towards you.

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    Dogs tend to use their youth and nose to pick several pieces of information, due to this reason alone, they also lick the urine of other dogs to know what the other dog is smelling more. The biggest reason why your dog licks you constantly is because they find your taste really good. We have salty skin or some leftovers of the food we have eaten that our dogs love. It may seem quite funny to humans but dogs love to taste us. They love exploring interesting tastes so they do so by licking objects and people.


    In wild forests and places, wolves are other animals that lick their mother’s face when they felt hungry or wanted to feed as most of the time the mothers disgorge food from the hunt. One of the most common reasons why do dogs lick is communication. When they meet other dogs, they lick their face for communication. They will kick strangers or their owners too to find out more about their intentions. They do so to show submission towards the human.

    4.Attention And Reward

    You might have observed a lot of times that when the dog licks you, you feel good about it as you consider it as a sign of affection towards you. This often leads the owner to pay attention to the dog instantly. Most often the dog owners reward them to get the dog off them. While it may seem like a method to get them off, dogs consider it as an encouragement and they do so for attention ad receiving rewards.

    Also, when the dog licks people or anything else, it releases hormones called endorphins inside their body which makes them feel comforted and calm.

    5.To show submission

    dog, pet, portrait
    Photo by falco on Pixabay

    For quite the similar reasons mentioned in the communication pint of why do dogs lick, submission is another such reason. Puppies tend to lick their mother’s mouth in search of food. When a dog licks any other dog’s mouth one reason could be a sign of communication while other reasons include they are showing the other dog that they are superior and they mean no harm to the other dog. This is a subtle and effective way of communicating.


    You cannot even imagine how many sensors are packed in your dog’s tongue. The dogs are naturally very inquisitive. Their sense of smell and taste are highly connected. You might have noticed that whenever you take them out for a walk, they often run around and smell everything or tasting everything, this is because they are investigating and looking for random things. They can easily make out what you’ve been doing by licking you. This is another reason why do dogs lick you so many times. They just love keeping an eye on their owner.

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    Know that the dogs have a better sense of smell than any one of us. They might also lick you sometimes to get something smelly or dirt off your skin. They love their human, they would do this to prevent you from smelling bad. If your dog is licking you constantly here and there, you may need to take a bath or groom yourself, my friend!


    Enjoyment is highly necessary for a dog’s life. Licking often provides dog relief when they are feeling lonely, it also provides excitement when they feel bored. When the dog wants to play with you, they will often lick you so that you help them get rid of the boredom.

    9.For medical issues

    Another common reason for the dog to lick you may be due to medical issues that you do not pay attention to. If our dog is licking you constantly or repeatedly or they are licking themselves on the same spot this might be due to more serious conditions. One reason behind this could be anxiety while some serious reasons may include skin diseases or allergic reactions to something that you may have not noticed.

    If you observe your dog behaving in such a way, it is best to consult a bet for proper diagnosis. The vets often find out the problems ad give treatments accordingly. Allergic reactions may be due to something new added to their diet which you need to replace.

    Do not avoid when you observe your dog licking repeatedly, they may need help and the only way they could tell you is by licking you.

    10.To Please the owners

    Dog’s are mischievous creatures after all. They may lick you to please you as most breeds would do anything to please their owners. All your dog wants from you is love and affection. They will dedicate their entire life pleasing you and loving you. They are great companions to have, this could be one more reason why do dogs lick.

    What Should A Owner Do About Dog’s Licking Problem?

    kiss, dog, love
    Photo by Mandyme27 on Pixabay

    As a dog owner, you might feel pleased with some but there are times when you are extremely worried about your tiny companion. If you have observed your dog licking itself excessively and repeatedly, the first thing you must do is take them to a vet. They will help address the issue and suggest the treatment accordingly. Once the medical conditions have been ruled out, you can easily look for solutions to help your dog.

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    When they lick too much, try to switch the activity, this helps positively divert their attention. One such option is to choose a behavior that seems incompatible with licking problems like using an interactive puzzle maybe to get a treat. You can also have the dog engage in some other activities and behaviors like trick training or ball play. Most of the activities work well in diverting their attention.

    By following this redirect, you will reinforce the lesson that you do not want the dog to lick gradually with positive reinforcement. It is the best way to deal with your dog rather than using unfair means for fast solutions.

    Trick training in particular is a great method to turn their behavior into a great opportunity for positive reinforcement. You can start by having your dog simply sit, this might help them to stop licking instantly. The next thing to try is the reward. You can harness their behavior by hugging you instead of licking when they feel affectionate towards you.

    Some other tricks you may practice include army crawling, sitting up, and leg weaving. Trick training is the best option here as most dogs and their owners find it effective and it also helps build a stronger bond between the two. Whether you use trick training or not, make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and attention from you. As already mentioned above, anxiety can be a reason why they lick so much, and sanity occurs when you do not pay attention or leave them without you for too long.

    Exercise is also highly crucial for the dog as excess unused energy can also be a reason why your dog keeps licking as they want to divert their attention into destructive behavior.

    Just make sure you give your dog plenty of love, attention, and time for their exercise too. This helps to build a great bond between the two of you. Do not use negative reinforcement to stop your et from doing anything as it may scare them. A scared dog often is a destructive dog. They do not understand where to stop. Training and early socialization can help prevent all such issues.

    These were a few reasons why do dogs lick so often. If there is a medical issue, you must take them to the vet for early diagnosis and hence early treatment.


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