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Why Does My Dog Lick Me?

September 6, 2022

Dog owners commonly refer to a dog licking their hand as "offering kisses" and see it as a sign of devotion.Your dog may lick you repeatedly for several reasons, including affection, attention-seeking, or to satisfy a primal urge.  

1. Affection. Your dog might be licking you out of love. Dogs lick people and occasionally even other dogs to express affection, which is why many people refer to them as "kisses." Licking releases endorphins in a dog’s brain. 


2. Attention-Seeking. When a person responds by laughing, smiling, patting, etc. to licking behavior that begins as affection, this reinforces the behavior. Your dog may be lonely or bored.


3. Instinct. Modern dogs are just hard wired to lick.  Kind of gross, but in wolf packs the meat from a hunt is regurgitated by adults when they return to their pups. The pups will lick the meat off the mother's mouth because they are still too young to hunt on their own.  

4. You taste good. When the dog starts to lick you, it might notice that you have an unusual, somewhat salty human taste. Dogs adore anything with a unique flavor.


5. Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior. Obsessive-compulsive disorder in dogs is uncommon, although it does occur. It's frequently triggered by persistent stress and worry. Constant licking, which typically includes licking oneself, items, and surfaces in addition to others, may be a serious issue.


6. An underlying medical condition. If symptoms of excessive licking accompany other indicators like hair loss, skin redness, irritation, etc. Allergies or a skin ailment that itches the paws or skin are two possible medical reasons for licking. Itchiness brought on by bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infections can also result in excessive licking. Dogs may lick due to underlying pain from an accident, gastrointestinal upset, or arthritis. Endorphins, the body's natural painkillers, are released when something is licked, which helps to reduce pain.

It's never a bad idea to consult a Pet Expert if you have concerns about your dog's licking habits. For more information, talk to one of our Pet Experts to get customized advice.