Why Do Dogs Lick? You'll Be Surprised to Know the Reasons

Why do Dogs Lick
Have you ever wondered why dogs lick people? The slobbery, sticky and wet greeting that never seems to stop. If you too are constantly on the receiving end of dog-slobber, read ahead to find out the reason behind it.
Dogs wag their tails to show us they are happy around us. But licking? Is it necessary to cover us in saliva? It seems like a natural instinct for dogs to jump up to their owner and lick all over their arms and face. If you have guests in the house, not all seem alright with this excessive licking. Some 'dog people' think of it as a way to express love and affection. For some licking is plain nuisance. So, why do dogs lick? Well, you will be surprised to learn the reason behind this slobbery behavior of your pet pooch.

Reasons Why Dogs Lick People

You may have often wondered why do dogs lick your face and ears? The main reason for why do dogs lick your face is for cleaning. Dogs love to lick themselves clean. They use the same instinct to clean you too. They think cleaning and washing your face is their most solemn duty and other than your protection, your cleanliness is their job too.

Another reason why dogs lick people is because it is part of the dog behavior they learn as a pup. The mother licks her puppies to clean up bits of placenta from her newborns. This is a part of dog grooming that not only cleans her pups, but also stimulates bonding. The mother shows her affection to her pups by licking. This also helps in increasing the blood circulation and digestion in the little puppy body. This licking stimulates maternal instinct and affection. Thus, maybe the dog is trying to show its affection to his human friend with his excessive licking.

Cute Dog Licking Woman's Face
When pups lick their mother's face, it is a way to stimulate her to regurgitate the food she ate. This regurgitated food is a good snack for hungry pups. Maybe this is one of the reason why dogs lick your face (well, I hope not!).

A dog may lick you, if his instincts tell him you are sad. Just to liven up your spirits he will lick you. You may feel a bit ticklish and give out a million dollar smile. That is what a dog wants, isn't it? For you to be happy at all times. This is what makes them man's best friend.

Attention with a capital A - this can be one important reason as to why dogs lick people excessively. The dog seeks attention and there is no better way to get it than to stick their tongue on your face and bare arms. Or maybe they love the taste of your salty skin or the lotion you applied. Maybe you did not clean your mouth properly after eating a delicious ice cream cone. The dog loves the taste and thinks it is his job to help you clean up properly.

An adult dog may lick for a few other reasons. Dogs are pack animals. They tend to follow the alpha male of the pack. The one who proves to be dominant in the pack commands respect. The other dogs may show their respect and submission by licking. The same thing applies to a pet dog. He may look up to his human owner as the alpha male and lick as a sign of submission to his human commands. Also, licking helps the dog pick up a lot of information about the human. You see, there are sweat glands on our skin. When we sweat we unknowing send out signals along with the salt, water, other waste products along with chemical signals (hormones). The dog licks you and gets information that helps him understand whether the human is happy, sad or afraid.

Dog Licking Child's Face
One should always look out for compulsive licking. A dog who continuously licks and grooms himself may indicate sign of stress or dog health problem. The dog may be suffering from separation anxiety, if you are leaving him alone for long hours or some close family member leaves. Upsetting a routine may also lead to compulsive licking. Injury or lesion of the skin may cause the dog to lick continuously. An anxious dog may lick himself, the furniture around the house, even you excessively. The best way to solve this problem is find out what is disturbing your dog. If it is an injury or illness, take him to a veterinarian for further treatment. Separation anxiety in dogs maybe treated with some more care and affection. You can speak to a vet to prescribe medications that will help the dog overcome his anxiety problem.

Licking is a part of dog behavior. Not many people have a problem with it. However, to discourage licking you may show displeasure by saying 'Eeewweee' or 'Dirty'. You may also use the usual 'bad dog' phrase to show the dog you don't appreciate licking. Most dog breeds are eager to please their human friends and will eventually refrain from licking. One more thing that owners dislike about licking is bad breath in dogs. If your dogs breath is really, really unbearable, he may need the vet's help. It may be a sign of dental decay or plaque build up in your dog's mouth. Dental care for dogs is as important as other dog health problems.