September 12 2019

dog licking face - chewdup

Dogs love to lick, it is part of who they are, it is in their DNA, and they lick for many reasons.  Below is list of some common reasons dogs like to kiss those big wet kisses.


Showing affection

Your dog loves you and wants to show you by licking your face a few million times, they get a similar endorphin release we get when we kiss or hug our kids, it feels good to show those you love a lot of affection


Seeking attention

This is an extension of affection.  Dogs love you and want to be loved by you.  You are your fur babies best friend and they look to you for emotional support.  When they lick your face give them big old hug and be happy.


Acknowledging you as the leader of the pack

 licking can be a sign of submission to the alpha in the group, which should be you.  Maybe pack animals use licking to submit to the authority of the leader in the group and dogs are no different, this goes back to long before their days of domestication.

 little dog licking woman's face

Grooming you

dogs groom themselves and members of their pack by licking.  This relates to affection and submissive behavior to you the alpha of the group.  Not sure this is better than a nice hot shower but your canine companion probably thinks it is just as good.


You taste good

you have a unique taste due to chemicals released through your skin and dogs can recognize you by that taste.  Not only do dogs have a great sense of smell but they have a great sense of taste as well.  This might tickle your feet sometimes but dogs do not think it is gross at all.


You positively reinforce licking

when your dog licks you what do you do?  Well, I know I laugh and giggle and give her a great big hug and play for a while.  Guess what, this is a form of positive reinforcement because your dog remembers your were happy and this makes them happy too.


What if I don’t like my dog licking me too much? 

One of the best ways to train your dog to stop licking so much is to show them that you do not like this behavior by standing up and walking away.  Do not laugh and giggle and reinforce the behavior.  Tell them you do not like the behavior by using words as well.  If the simple methods do not work you might need to consult a dog trainer or behavior specialist.  Also, it should be noted that if your dog licks excessively they might be experiencing stress or anxiety, which is something that should be discussed with your vet and dog behavior specialist.


Is it safe for my dog to lick me?

There have been some recent news stories  of people becoming sick because of being licked by a dog.  Contrary to what we were told as children, dogs’ mouths are not cleaner than ours.  A dogs mouth contains lot of bacteria and a certain type of bacteria, capnocytophaga canimorsus, can cause a type of blood poisoning called sepsis.  This is usually seen in dog bite victims that have impaired immune systems but does occur, although rarely, in cases of dogs licking people. To reduce the risk, do not let your dog lick open wounds, even if they are small cuts or scrapes.  If  you have a weakened immune system be extra cautious.


pug licking a girl's face



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