Why Do Dogs Lick People?

Why do dogs lick you

Have you at any point thought of why do dogs lick you? Most dogs are fond of licking human beings. Some dogs appear to do it more than others. Does this conduct mean something? For what reason do puppies lick? Is it ever an issue? The appropriate responses may rely upon you and your puppy.

Licking is a functional behaviour of dogs. More often than not, dogs will lick their kin as an indication of love.  Like barking, licking is a behaviour that is responsible for dog’s conducts and thus points towards various interpretations. Licking is a natural impulse in dogs since the time they are born. At the point when you see a mother lick her little puppies and different puppies lick each other while playing and forming other social associations, you’re watching quintessential licking conduct in dogs. This is where the habit of licking starts. When the mother licks her puppies, the puppies develop it as a characteristic to communicate further. Licking is a method of communication used by little pups. It can play a role in helping them to request resources. For example; little puppies lick their moms to tell her that they are hungry.


  1. It’s an acquired behaviour: The primary thing a mother does after a little puppy is conceived is to lick it and clean its nostrils so that the puppy can relax. Consequently, the little dog is licked frequently by his mother and other mates. The puppy learns and returns this behaviour.
  2. He’s trying to communicate: Little puppies don’t consume solid food. They lick their mother’s lips to communicate that they are hungry. A puppy may likewise lick to bring to your attention that his water bowl is unfilled or he wishes to go out. This is how a puppy develops a habit of speaking during initial years.
  3. Affection: There is an entirely decent chance that your dog is licking you to show that he adores you! There’s a valid justification of why the dog’s licks are called as “kisses.” Dogs show their affection and friendship by licking individuals and sometimes even their mates. Licking is a characteristic activity of dogs. They learn this habit from their moms during training and the love given to them while they are little puppies. Dogs may also lick your face if they can reach for it easily. If not, they may very well look for any accessible part of your skin, like hands, arms, legs, and feet and lick it. A few dogs tend to lick less as compared to others. This does not imply that a dog is less loving if he doesn’t lick. It could be just because he learned things distinctively as a puppy or he is just not inclined towards licking. How a dog communicates is limited. It is important for a dog to let you know how he feels. If you like being licked by your dog, then you can encourage this behaviour by petting him more with love. However, if you don’t like being licked, then you can simply walk away a couple of times until he realizes that he is supposed to stop doing it.
  4. Attention seeking: Dogs often lick their owners to seek their attention when they are bored or lonely. At other times, licking means that they wish to be adored or loved by you. This starts as a way of showing affection and continues by how you react when your dog licks you.
  5. Taste: Once your dog gets to lick you, he understands that you have a salty taste. Dogs love to lick anything that has a salty taste. Licking is more like a tool for your dog to explore the world and you are a part of his world too. Your dog likes that salty human taste which comes from the sweat. Whenever your dog licks your face or skin, it could be because he likes the saltiness of your skin.
  6. Instinct: When dogs come back to their pups from the wild, they regurgitate meat from the hunt. The little puppies that are too young to hunt on their own, lick the meat from their mother’s mouths. Some believe that this licking behaviour has been inherited, inflicting dogs to lick instinctively.
  7. Submissive attitude: Mostly, the dogs try to communicate through subtle signs. Sometimes, when a dog licks his guardian or another dog for that matter, it is to show his submissive attitude. The dog is just implying that he is well aware of the fact that you are the boss.
  8. Grooming: Your dog can also lick you to remove dirt or something undesirable he smells on your skin. He regularly licks himself to stay clean. Instinctively, he tries to clean you whenever he feels there is a need. If your dog licks you often, it could be to make sure that you are clean.
  9. Exploring the surroundings: There are many sensors in dog’s tongues. More often than not, dogs lick their noses while they bring their long tongues back inside their mouths. The sense of taste and smell are critical to dogs. Once your dog tastes you, he can comprehend a lot of things. Your dogs can make out where you were and what were you doing just by the way you smell and taste.
  10. Pleasure: The act of licking releases endorphins in dogs, giving a sense of pleasure. This gives your dog a sense of security and comfort. Your dog may keep licking your face simply because it feels good to do so.


If you consider it, it is usually harmless when your dogs lick you. However, do not believe the old story that the mouths of dogs are cleaner than the mouths of human beings. They most positively are not! The mouths of dogs contain plenty of natural microorganisms, which is why the dog bites are considered to be the most dangerous. However, these microorganisms won’t cause any problem; unless and until they enter an open wound. If we talk medically about this, there are no registered cases of illnesses that have been reported because of a dog licking human beings.


There is no such thing as extreme licking for a dog. However, the degree of extremity might vary for the human guardian. Sometimes, human beings are entirely intolerant to their dogs licking them. In such cases, licking becomes more of a human problem than an animal problem. It is understandable that dogs will lick because it is their nature. In any case, as a dog owner, if you want your dog to stop licking you, then the best way is to train your dog. You could consult a professional dog trainer or a vet for help.

With this being said, there are times when licking might take a sort of abnormal state. You might think that dog kisses are disgusting. Preventing your dog from licking you is, often, a matter of denying him attention. Don’t pet him or look at him while he licks you. Simply turn your head away from your dog, get up and go forth. This will give him a signal that his licking behaviour is not appreciated and should stop. If your dog adheres to you and stops in a short matter of time, then you can reward him by showing him affection or with a small treat. In due time, your dog will get the point that licking is associated with unsought behaviour. You can likewise train your dog with some phrases or words when you wish to have a gentle kiss once in a while from your dog. If you need assistance with controlling this behaviour, then consider hiring a good animal behaviourist or a dog trainer.

Some dogs might suffer from some types of compulsive behaviour problems due to stress and anxiety. In a situation like this, dogs might indulge in excessive licking by turning to objects or even themselves as a sign of showing their obsession. As a responsible dog owner, if this behaviour is present in dogs then seeking a vet’s help at the earliest is considered a wise thing to do. If the habit of licking keeps going on after a considerable amount of effort to stop it, then it can be an actual problem. A good veterinarian will help your dog in relieving anxiety or might even ask you to consult an animal behaviourist. Medication is the last resort to treat a problem like this. It is also essential to know that medication does not work well when a dog is under stress. So, the priority should be the treatment of anxiety. Some animal behaviourists are skilled in treating these problems successfully and helping your dogs get rid of all the compulsive habits.


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