Dogs are the most loyal and adorable pets that you can have around you.
If you are a parent of a pet dog, you would know for sure what great a companion they can be.
They’ll uplift your mood if you’re feeling down and will welcome you as soon as you get home from work by licking you. Have you ever wondered why dogs lick you? Of course, it is an instinctive behavior they are born with, but many don’t completely understand what their licking actually means.
There are various reasons behind all that licking. Nevertheless, how much a dog licks its owner differs from dog to dog. Some dogs just love to lick their owners, while some aren’t as communicative with their tongues. Let’s dig a little deeper and find out what does it mean when a dog licks you.
What does it mean?
Usually, dog owners equate the licking with giving kisses, considering it a sign of affection. While there is no solid evidence why dogs lick, it might be just a greeting or a way to get their owner’s attention. Read on
1. Licking is a way of communication
For dogs, licking is a way to communicate with their owners. They might lick you to show that they are hungry, want to play, or they’re submissive. Make sure you respond when your dog licks you. See for signs such as the water bowl being empty or it is their meal time. Moreover, constant licks may even suggest they want to go outside.
2. Dogs lick to show affection
If you have been thinking that your dog licks you to show fondness and love, well, you are absolutely right. This is why many dog lovers refer to the licks as kisses. They will lick any part of the skin, such as your hands, legs, feet, or even your face, they come in contact with. However, not all dogs lick their human friends a lot. But that in no way means they aren’t affectionate towards you. Probably, as a puppy, they learned different things.
3. You taste great
It is more likely for your dog to lick you out of love. But chances are that they like the unique salty taste of a human being. Besides, there might be food particles stuck on your skin that your dog enjoys even more than their own food. Licking is also a dog’s way to explore their world better, and nothing beats an interesting taste.
4. A means of seeking attention
Whenever a dog licks you, you’ll typically respond positively, giving them the attention they seek. You might give them a pat or rub their skin, and that’s exactly what they aim to achieve. Even if you try to push them away, it is more of an encouragement for your dog to lick you. Being bored and lonely might also be reasons why your dog wants your attention.
5. For investigation purposes
Due to their highly inquisitive nature, dogs tend to lick you to know where you have been and what you’ve been doing. A dog’s sniffing power is terrific, while its tongue is packed with sensors. Hence you see them walking around different places in your house or outside, keenly tasting and smelling everything.
When does licking become a problem?
Though a dog licking you is typically harmless and a form of self-expression, it might a sign of submission, as submissive dogs are found to lick a leading member of the pack. However, excessive licking of a dog might be indicative of a severe problem. There are rare cases where dogs suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. The major reason behind this could be prolonged anxiety. If you notice that your dog is licking you, themselves, any object or surface more than usual, your pet might be bored or is going through pain or anxiety. Extreme self-licking is also a sign of some allergy or other health issues. Make sure that you consult the vet immediately if you observe your dog licking excessively.
When your dog licks you, it shows its love for you. Nonetheless, if you feel your dog is going overboard, the easiest way is to ignore them and go into another room and close the door if need be. Slowly and gradually, your dog will understand that too much licking is the reason why you leave, and that’s not what they want. After your dog stops licking you, reward them with a pat or a treat. If this behavior persists, discuss the problem with an expert vet to know what is causing the problem.