You probably think you know why your dog licks you. You assume they’re just happy to see you, or that they want something from you.
But in reality, there are a lot of reasons for licking that extend beyond simple affection. In fact, dogs lick people for all sorts of reasons, and it can be pretty confusing for both of you.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll go over ten common reasons why your dog licks your mouth.
1. It’s a Sign of Affection
If your dog starts licking your face every time you come home, it’s probably because they’re trying to say “I love you.” Thinks of licking as a dog’s way of social kissing.
But what many people don’t realize is that licking also releases endorphins that create a pleasurable sensation for both the dog and the person being licked.
So not only is your dog expressing their love for you, but they’re also enjoying the experience themselves. The more your dog licks you, the more they’re reinforcing this positive interaction.
2. They’re Gathering Information
One way dogs gather information is by licking each other’s mouths. Dogs will lick each other to learn about the other dog’s health, personality, and social status.
In our case, they may be trying to learn more about what we ate for lunch, or where we’ve been. By licking our mouths, they’re able to pick up on different smells and tastes that can give them valuable insights into our lives.
3. They’re Grooming You
Dogs groom each other as a way of strengthening their bond and showing their affection for one another no matter the dogs’ social status. One of the most common ways for dogs to groom is by licking.
Dogs will lick each other all over their bodies, including their mouths, to clean each other.
In the same way, dogs will lick their owners as a way of grooming and strengthening the bond between them. Dogs may see some food stuck in our teeth or get a whiff of something unpleasant on our breath and decide to take it upon themselves to clean us up.
You have to know that only two strongly bonded canine pals lick and groom each other in a mutual, non-competitive way; one partner licks the neck and head of the other partner who rolls over to let the groomer access the chest and tummy. This is a sign of complete trust between the two canines.
If your dog is licking you frequently, he or she probably considers you as a close friend.
4. They’re Seeking Attention
Many dogs will lick their owners as a way of getting attention. If your dog is constantly licking you, it could be a sign that they’re seeking some love and affection.
Dogs know that when they do something cute or sweet, we’re more likely to give them the attention they crave i.e. more treats, more playtime, and more petting.
Here are some things you can do to show your dog that you love them:
- Give them a good belly rub
- Play fetch or tug-of-war
- Take them for a walk
- Hunt for treats with them
- Train them new tricks
5. It’s a Way of Showing Submission
In the wild, subordinate members of a dog pack will groom and lick the alpha dog as a way of showing submission.
Dogs carry over this instinctual behavior into their relationships with their human owners. When they see their humans as the alpha dogs in their lives, they may lick us as a way of showing submission and respect.
They’re essentially saying “I’m not challenging you, I’m submitting to you.”
To some degree, this is actually a good thing, as your dog needs to understand that you’re in charge. It can help prevent many behavior problems from developing down the road such as aggression and dominance issues.
6. It’s a form of Social Interaction
In some cases, dogs may lick their owners simply because they enjoy interacting with them. Just like we enjoy talking and interacting with our friends, dogs enjoy licking and interacting with their owners.
7. They’re Excited
In some cases, dogs may lick their owners because they’re excited. This is especially common when dogs see their owners after a long absence. They may be so excited to see us that they can’t help but lick us all over our faces.
8. They’re Trying to Tell You To Back Off
In some cases, dogs may lick their owners because they’re trying to tell them to back off. If a dog is constantly licking their owner’s face, it could be a sign that they’re feeling uncomfortable.
It might be that you often invade their personal space or you’re just too overwhelming for them.
Dogs use licking as a way of communicating their feelings and thoughts to us. If your dog is licking you a lot, take the time to watch their body language and see if you can figure out what they’re trying to tell you.
9. You Tend to Reward Them for Licking Your Mouth
If you tend to give your dog treats, pet them, or play with them after they lick your mouth, you may be inadvertently reinforcing the behavior.
Dogs will often do things that make them feel good, and if licking your mouth makes them showered with love and attention, they’re going to keep on doing it.
10. They’re Feeling Anxious or Nervous
In some cases, dogs may lick their owners because they’re feeling anxious or nervous, or stressed.
This may be due to a number of things such as loud noises, thunderstorms, or an unfamiliar person who has entered the home.
Should You Allow Your Dog to Lick Your Face?
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this question. It’s ultimately up to you to decide what you’re comfortable with.
Some people may not like the idea of their dog licking their face, while others may see it as a sign of affection.
The most important thing to note is that the licking should never become an obsessive behavior to the point where it’s causing problems. You should also look out for any signs of anxiety in your dog that could be causing them to communicate with you via licking.
5 Tips To Stop Your Dog From Licking Your Mouth
If you don’t like your dog licking your face or if it’s causing problems, there are a few things you can do to stop it.
Write a list of tips for stopping your dog from licking your mouth:
1. Ignore the Behavior
If your dog is licking your face and you don’t want them to, the simplest thing to do is ignore them. Do not give them any attention whatsoever when they’re licking you. This includes eye contact, verbal communication, and petting.
Most dogs will stop doing something if it doesn’t result in what they want, and eventually, your dog will learn that licking your face doesn’t get them anything.
2. Distract Them With a Toy
If you can’t ignore your dog when they’re licking your face, you can try distracting them with a toy. Get them interested in a toy whenever they start licking you and see if that stops them.
Or you can also distract them with a treat. Once they’re busy licking the treat, they’ll forget all about your face.
3. Find The Cause of the Anxiety and Address It
If your dog is licking your face because they’re anxious or nervous, you need to find out what’s causing the anxiety and address it.
Thinks carefully about what might be causing your dog stress and see if you can eliminate those things from their environment.
Is there a particular noise that bothers them? Do you have a new guest in the house that they’re not used to?
Once you figure out what’s causing the anxiety, you can work on fixing it.
4. Have Them See an Animal Behaviorist or Dog Trainer
If the licking has bordered on obsessive or if it’s causing problems, you may want to have them see an animal behaviorist or dog trainer.
They can help you determine the root cause of the licking and give you advice on how to address it.
5. Give Them Enough Attention
No matter how busy you are, it’s important to make time for your dog and give them enough attention.
Dogs need interaction with their owners in order to feel loved and secure. If they’re not getting the attention they may resort to attention-seeking mode, which can include licking your face.
And if you keep ignoring them, don’t be surprised if one day you find your dog tearing apart your clothes or furniture out of frustration!
So, there you have it! Nine common reasons why your dog might be licking your mouth. As you can see, there can be many different motivations behind this behavior.
It’s important to try and figure out what your dog is trying to tell you, as this can help you better understand them and decide how to respond.
If your dog is constantly licking your mouth, and it’s becoming a nuisance or causing you any discomfort, be sure to read again the tips above on how to stop it.
Otherwise, enjoy this special moment of bonding with your furry friend!
1. Why Does My Dog Lick My Underwear?
Dogs are drawn to your scent, and licking someone’s underwear is one way they might get a whiff of you. It’s also possible that a dog who feels anxious or lonely may lick household items such as clothing, sheets, towels, and other soft materials for comfort.
2. Why Does My Dog Lick My Period Blood?
Some people believe that dogs can smell the hormones in your blood and that’s why they are attracted to it. Others think that dogs are just drawn to the taste and texture of blood.
3. Why Does My Dog Lick My Legs?
Dogs lick people’s legs for a variety of reasons, including showing affection, getting attention, and trying to groom you.
4. Why Does My Dog Lick My Eyes?
Most dogs lick their owner’s eyes because they are showing affection and just want to show their love. Alternatively, some dogs might be licking your eyes because they want to get your attention and play with you.
5. Why Does My Dog Lick My Nose?
Dogs lick your nose because it’s instinctive for them to do so. They might also lick your nose as a way of grooming you, or because they’re excited to see you.
6. Why Does My Dog Lick The Bed Sheets?
Dogs lick the bedsheets for a variety of reasons, including anxiety, tasting leftover crumbs, and smelling familiar scents.