Why does my dog keep licking me?
Picture this: you arrive home from work, or the weekly food shop, to be greeted with warm, slobbery kisses from your canine companion!
Does your dog love to lick? Canines communicate through licking, barking, and body language. While they use licking as a natural way of comforting, cleaning, and bonding with other dogs, your dog might lick you because they love you, they’re attention-seeking, or to self-soothe in stressful situations.
Let’s explore more reasons your dog may like to lick:
Affection – why does my dog lick me when we cuddle?
One of the main reasons dogs love to lick you is simply to show their affection. You take great care of your pup, so it’s not surprising you’re their world!
When dogs lick, endorphins are released. Endorphins are ‘feel-good’ chemicals made in the brain. So, when they lick you, your dog enjoys endorphins that help them feel calm and comforted.
Our canine companions are clever enough to know when we aren’t feeling our best. Since licking is comforting for them, your dog might be licking you to help you feel better.
As a puppy, your dog probably appreciated the affectionate licking of their mother and would have learned that behaviour from her, too. So, it’s only natural for your dog to want to show their love for you by licking whenever you cuddle them.
You taste nice!
If your dog isn’t particularly affectionate, and rarely shows you any kind of love, the reason for their occasional licking could be because you taste nice!
Just like a puppy will lick empty treat toys and bowls long after their favourite food has gone, some dogs savour the salty flavour of their owner’s skin.
Because your dog’s paws can’t examine things the way our human hands can, many dogs lick items to work out what they are.
To our canine companions, licking is like touching something. Thanks to the fact that tongues are filled with millions of sensory cells, your dog may just be licking new people and pets to find out who they are!
Why does my dog lick me excessively at night?
Sometimes, excessive licking can be linked to tummy problems, as well as stress and anxiety. We already know licking promotes the release of endorphins that can calm stress in our dogs, but excessive licking can also suggest something is wrong with their stomach.
Contact your vet straight away if you’re concerned about your dog’s excessive licking habits.
Dogs are intelligent. Your clever canine may have learned to use their tongue to get your attention!
Have you noticed your pet turning to lick you when they’re hungry or want to play? Any positive reactions to past licking behaviours could have, unintentionally, taught your dog that licking is a good way to get your full attention, whenever they want it.
How do i stop my dog from licking me?
While your dog’s licking could just be a sign of affection, it can be irritating when you need to get things done yet end up constantly wiping dog drool off your face and/or hands!
Here are some techniques to try, to prevent your dog from licking you:
Change your body scent
Many canines can’t help licking their owners’ salty skin. So, switching the scent of your skin can be enough to deter your dog from licking you as much.
Products like body wash, soap, and perfume have an impact on how tasty your puppy finds your skin. By finding something that smells or tastes terrible to your canine companion, they’re less likely to lick you as often!
However, make sure you only use skin products that are non-toxic to dogs.
Keep your dog occupied
Playful puppies may lick you as a sort of game. Keeping your canine occupied is a great technique to lessen their licking behaviours!
Distract them with suitable toys, where appropriate, and consider taking them on a walk when you think they’re trying to play.
Remember: If your dog has used licking to communicate for a long time, it may be difficult to re-train them or stop them from performing typical behaviours (like licking you). For this reason, it’s essential to avoid scolding your dog if they fall back into their licking habits – instead, constantly reinforce acceptable levels of licking by praising them for positive behaviour.
Have them health-checked
Although a little licking isn’t usually something to worry about, it’s definitely worth having your canine companion checked by a vet.
Always be aware that dogs who lick themselves excessively could be:
- In pain.
- Hiding an injury.
- Nursing an open wound.
- Dealing with an allergy.
- Battling boredom.
- Suffering from anxiety.
- Trying to cope with an underlying health issue.
Please contact your vet immediately if you notice your dog displaying any concerning or unusual licking behaviours.