It is common for people to understand dogs licking their owners or other people as a show of affection and that the pet is comfortable with you. While this may be true in many instances, there may be alternative causes for their licking on certain occasions. Why do dogs lick you?
Is Licking a Dog’s Way Of Kissing?
The verdict is still undecided on what a dog’s licking signifies. It’s conceivable that what you think is love is your dog urging you to vomit up your lunch in their honor.
“Wild canid researchers report that pooches lick their mother’s face and muzzle when she comes back from a hunt to her den —to get her to regurgitate for them,” says Alexandra, director of Barnard College’s Horowitz: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know.
There is evidence that licking is a sign of affection. According to Horowitz, licking originated as a food-seeking behavior and has become a ritualized greeting for many dogs. Some wild dog species may lick their pack members to welcome them back. Those daily slobbers might indicate how happy your dog is to see you.
“Licking may be a show of affection,” says Dr. Burch. ” It might also provide a dog a feeling of security and comfort, similar to how a puppy felt when its mother licked it while it was in the litter.” Similarly, the dog may feel you are delectable. Dr. Mary Burch qualified applied animal behaviorist, points out that human skin is salty, especially after sweating during physical exercise. As a consequence, such licks may serve as a means of getting salt rather than communicating affection. If your dog enjoys licking your face, Horowitz says it generally happens after a delicious meal. Or any meal, for that matter.
Is Dog Face Licking a Health Risk?
The majority of licking is risk-free, and the dog may even like it as a form of self-expression. Burch points out that there’s no motive to be concerned that it’s a sort of oppression; in fact, it’s the polar opposite. She claims that one explanation is that licking is a gesture of obedience.
Dog licking might be a symbol of a more severe condition. If your dog is compulsively licking you or things to the extent that it seems to be self-stimulatory, it might indicate nervousness, boredom, or discomfort. Self-licking as a habit might be an indication of allergies or other health issues.
What Does It Mean When a Dog Licks You?
Dogs do lick for a variety of reasons. Licking your dog on occasion might seem loving or help you connect with your dog. It’s not as adorable when your dog kisses your face all the time. You may grow annoyed with your dog if the licking continues. Your pet may not be aware of your dissatisfaction: licking might be a way for your dog to express their affection for you. Releases endorphins as a result of the action, which soothes your dog.
A dog’s innate tendency is to lick. The mother used to groom them by licking them when they were pups, which gave them comfort. Why do dogs lick you?
Dogs might get bored or lonely, and licking can relieve them by releasing endorphins while also bringing the person they’re licking into the scenario. It attracts their interest and provides them with a task to do.
Pets use their tongues to interpret the environment around them based on smell and taste. Licking people and objects is their method of interacting with them in the same manner as we do.
They’re Grooming Themselves
Dogs’ tongues have antibacterial characters that help to keep their fur neat and clean. Dogs lick their paws to keep them clean, and after they go pee. However, there is a misconception that their tongues are not antibacterial. On their tongues, there exist both healthy and dangerous microorganisms.
They Want Your Attention
Licking is a way of communication with you that they want to play or be loved. When your dog smiles when they lick you, you are reinforcing their behavior. Puppies often lick to attract the attention of other dogs. Licking by young pets is frequently accompanied by much enthusiasm.
They’re Showing You Affection
When pets lick, they experience a surge of positive emotions. Dogs will lick their mother’s lips as pups and will be licked by the mother. They keep a level of comfort as they grow old. It may also be a submissive gesture, such as licking you to show you respect.
You Taste Good to Them
They may be attracted to scented lotions, and body washes on your skin. After an exercise, they could like the taste of salty skin. When your dog kisses you, pay attention. They may want to sample something on you. Your dog may prefer the flavor of your natural skin. Pooches utilize their sense of taste to explore and learn about their environment.
Young wolves in the wild will lick around their mother’s face to communicate, solicit food, and show submissive to an adult animal. They continue to lick around the faces of other wolves as they mature to communicate, detect pheromones, and demonstrate submissive. These characteristics are still present in our tamed dogs to some degree. As a form of communication, dogs will often lick the muzzles of other dogs they encounter when out and about. In an unusual scenario, such as at the veterinarian’s office, dogs may kiss the stranger’s face to identify their intents or placate (i.e., say “please don’t injure me”). Our beloved dogs lick to show affection, particularly to those with whom they have a strong attachment.
According to canine-human interaction, short quick licks to the chin or nose, with wide eyes and ears back, are signs of curious or submissive licks. Big sloppy kisses, ears forward, and simple body language are far more indicative of a joyful dog that is just pleased to see its person.
After a meal, wild dogs regurgitate meat from the hunt to their puppies. The puppies will suck the meat off the mother’s lips since they are too immature to hunt independently. Some people feel that this licking tendency is inherited from their ancestors, enabling dogs to perform it automatically.
Your Dog May Have a Medical Problem
They may lick diseased or painful areas. Licking the same spot again and over is a symptom of pain or discomfort. Nausea might drive your dog to lick his lips excessively. An elderly dog licking can be an indication of dementia. When they are frightened, agitated, or afraid, they may lick. For comfort, they may lick you or items around compulsively. Separation anxiety may be the problem.
Your Dog May Have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Compulsive licking is a condition that may develop in dogs. Extreme stress and anxiety are the root causes of OCD. Your dog will lick you frequently if they have OCD, and they may even develop ulcers on their tongue. You may need to see a veterinarian.
When Is Licking a Problem?
Dog saliva does not pose a health issue to young children and adults with intact skin. Allowing your furry friend to lick an open wound on your skin is not healthy. Their saliva may remain the incision wet and open, allowing bacteria to grow and perhaps cause a skin infection. Why do dogs lick your wounds?
Twelve reports of humans becoming ill from a germ carried in the dog’s saliva were reported to the CDC last year. The bacterium Capnocytophaga canimorsus was to blame in those instances. This bacterium may be present in both dogs and cats and is entirely safe for them.
However, if a person’s immune system is weakened, the bacteria may cause a severe illness. An open injury, such as a bite or a cut on the skin, is mandatory to penetrate the germs.
The dog’s saliva must come into touch with the open wound, and the dog must have a high concentration of that specific bacterium. After touching any dog, it is advisable to clean your hands.
Tips to Train Your Dog to Stop Licking You
If your dog begins licking excessively, see your veterinarian rule out any underlying medical issues. Once things have been checked out, your veterinarian will decide whether a behavioral problem needs to be addressed. There are a few essential tips you can do to keep your dog from licking you.
Ignore Them When They Lick
Licking might be a tactic for your dog to seek your attention. Stand up and depart the room when they lick you. This will demonstrate to them that licking you will not provide them with what they want.
Reward Good Behavior
When your dog behaves nicely, reward them with praise and attention. When your dog is lying comfortably alongside you, it’s a nice moment to give your doggy a treat. The most effective training strategy is positive reinforcement. Using deterrents might make your dog’s licking worse by exacerbating the underlying problem.
Redirect Their Attention With a Puzzle or Trick Training
Distract your dog from licking with an activity that isn’t linked to licking. In an interactive puzzle, you may let the dog sniff for rewards. You may also teach them techniques like “rolling over” and “sitting beautifully.” Distractions in training will divert their attention away from the reason they desire to lick. They’ll figure out you don’t want them to lick if you’re consistent.
Be Consistent With Boundaries
If you permit your pet to lick you at times but not at others, they may get confused. Set limits for both you and your dog. It’s difficult not to let them lick you if you believe they’re being affectionate. You may teach children other methods to exhibit love, such as hugs or speaking on command.If you still can’t get your dog to stop licking, go to your veterinarian or an animal behavior expert.
How to Get Your Dog to Stop Licking You
Dog kisses may seem repulsive to some people. You may also feel as though you’ve had your fill. It’s typically a case of depriving your dog of attention when it licks you (or others). Don’t pet or gaze at your dog. Take a step back. If you need to, up and walk away. Reward it with attention, love, and even rewards as soon as the licking ends. In most cases, your dog will learn that licking is a bad habit after some time.
If you want your furry friend to give you a soft kiss now and then, link a word or phrase to the action, such as “kiss” or “gimme sugar.” Give a light kiss on the cheek or chin as a reward (or maybe just your hand, depending on your preferences). If the licking becomes excessive, withhold attention. Consider hiring a doggy trainer to assist you with this and other training issues.
Is It Safe for Dogs to Lick You?
Allowing your dog to lick you is typically pretty harmless. Don’t accept the old wives’ tale that dogs’ lips are cleaner than humans’. They are not! Dogs have a lot of natural germs in their mouths, which is one of the reasons dog bites are so hazardous. On the other hand, this bacterium is unlikely to cause damage unless it enters an open wound. But, hey, you could find it revolting. And that’s just OK.
Should You permit Your Dog To Lick You?
A doggy licking the face or other body parts of most healthy persons should represent an only minor health risk. Don’t allow dogs to lick your lips or go too close to an open skin wound if you’re worried. Why do dogs lick you?
I sometimes let dogs lick the underneath of my chin. Then I promptly wash my face or sanitize that part of my face with an antibiotic spray or gel. Alternatively, I could let them lick my hand and then clean or apply an antibacterial spray or gel on my hands afterward.