We all love our furry friends and all the weirdness that comes with them. And one of many weird but cute things our dogs do is licking.
Have you ever wondered what does dog licking mean? This is a prevalent thing our dogs do, but very few know the reason for it.
The reason for “dog licking” can be many things, from showing affection to them being hurt. This article will tell you why our dogs lick us and themselves and what it means. So, let’s dive in!
Why Do Dogs Lick People?
While we have many expert opinions, we still don’t know why our dogs lick us. Dog licking is not a common dog behavioral problem unless it bothers you, and you want to teach him not to do it. And if you do, these few interesting facts might change your opinion.
The Need for Affection:
Affection is one of the main reasons our dogs lick us. That is why most people call it “dog kisses.” Our dogs learn that licking is a way of showing affection when they are just little puppies, from their mom’s grooming and the affection they give them.
And, if your dog does not lick you, that does not mean that it does not love you, but that your dog learned how to show affection in different ways.
If you consider this a problem or think that your “dog’s kisses” are sometimes going over the line, you can train your dog not to lick you by just standing up and leaving whenever he does it.
And as time goes by, it’ll learn that you will leave whenever it gives you kisses, which is not something that your dog wants.
You Taste Yummy:
Have you noticed that if you drop some food on the floor, your dog will lick the spot where the food was dropped?
And your dog does that because it likes the taste of food, and although in most cases dogs lick us because of affection, it can mean that it just thinks you taste good.
You might not know this, but when we are done eating, we often have food particles left on our hands, and our dogs can smell that, and for that reason, they lick us. Also, humans skin has salt, which our dogs just enjoy licking.
“I Want Attention”:
Your dog licking you can also mean that the dog is just bored or wants to play with you. Whenever the dog licks you, it expects to get a reaction from you, and whether it is a good one or a bad one, if there is a reaction, your dog will keep on doing it.
Maybe your dog just wants you to pet it while you are watching TV. Licking you can also bring your pup a sense of enjoyment since when they do it, they release the endorphins, which makes this a delightful experience for them.
If you are not a fan of “dog kisses,” all you have to do is not pay attention to your dog whenever he is doing that, and just stand up and leave.
After a few times, your dog will realize that you will leave and stop doing that whenever he wants to lick you because all our fluffy friends want to be next to us.
Our Little Detectives:
Dogs are curious beings, and they want to explore as much as they possibly can; for that reason, dogs use licking when investigating.
Their thoughts are full of sensors, and their whole bodies work together, so when a dog smells, licks, or touches, it is trying to investigate the territory.
You may notice this happening when you are walking your dog or even when you come back home; if your dog licks you, he is trying to get all the information on where and what you have been doing without him.
Another reason your dog is licking you can be that it shows you that he is submissive to you.
It is known that baby wolves show that they are submissive to their parents by licking their mouth, and in this way, they also show that they mean no harm, and your dog may just try to show you that in the same way.
This might be strange to you, but it is an effortless communication for our furry friends.
Is It Safe for Dogs To Lick You?
In most cases, when a dog licks you, it is harmless, but it is in no way beneficial to your wounds. There is a reason dog bites can be dangerous because a dog’s saliva contains many natural bacteria, which can be harmful at times.
And although dog bites can be harmful, there is no illness evidence caused by dog licking. You might think that your dog licking you is yucky, and that is completely fine!
Why Do Dogs Lick Themselves?
There are plenty of reasons why pups lick themselves. If you are ready to find out what they are, we are here to tell you a few of them.
If you are a dog owner, you have probably seen by now that whenever your dog was hurt, he licked the wound. And you are probably asking yourself why?
The most straightforward answer to that question would be that it is in their nature to lick the wounds. Dogs’ saliva has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can speed up the healing process.
So, when a dog licks his injuries, it helps remove dirt and dead tissue. Although that can help your dog’s healing process, it can be harmful if it is done excessively since it can reopen the wound.
Our furry friends also may try to help us and lick our wounds as well, but even if their saliva has healing properties, it can be harmful to our wounds since they can get infected.
In this case, we recommend doing the same thing as mentioned above, just stand up and leave; any other reaction to your dog doing that probably won’t stop it.
Yes, scientists say that our pups can also suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. If you see that your dog is constantly licking some parts of furniture, you, or anything else, it can mean that he suffers from anxiety and that your dog is using licking as a stress-relieving medicine.
In this case, we suggest consulting with your veterinarian, and they will let you know the perfect way to help your dog.
Veterinarians may even prescribe medications, even if you think that your dog taking anxiety medication is too much; in some cases, it is the only thing that will help your fluffy friends, so we suggest considering this option.
Whether you realize it or not, our dogs are trying to communicate with us all the time; we just don’t see it sometimes or don’t understand what they want to say.
Your dog can use licking as a source of communication with you as well. Whenever your dog licks you excessively, we suggest that you pay attention, because it must be that something is wrong, maybe your dog’s water ball is empty, or he is hungry, look around and see what your dog needs, don’t ignore your dogs’ needs.
Just like most other furry animals, dogs too use licking as a form of grooming. If you see that your dog is licking its paws after a walk, then the reason for it is that the dog is trying to clean itself.
And although it is normal for a dog to lick its skin and fur, it can mean that there is a medical issue if it is done excessively.
If, for example, your dog excessively licks the anus area, it may mean that its glands need to be expressed. When this happens, we suggest consulting with your veterinarian.
We hope that this article helped you understand your furry friend a bit more and that we answered all of your questions.
Remember that dogs licking humans is usually a sign of affection and the need for attention. If the dog is licking itself, it is usually done for healing or grooming purposes.
Now, if the licking is done excessively, either on your or the dog itself, always pay attention because there might be a medical problem that your dog wants to take care of.
As said above, dogs also use licking as a sign of communication, so always pay attention to your dog’s signs.
If you want the licking to stop, just don’t pay any attention; giving your dog any type of attention, whether it is good or bad, will make it lick you even more.
Remember to give your pet all the love that it needs because they are just a part of our lives, but we are their whole life, and they give us all the love they have!