Have you ever wondered why dogs lick you or why other owners allow their pets to lick them? Dogs often lick us to show affection, as a greeting or to simply get our attention. Licking is a natural and instinctive behaviour in dogs.
If your dog loves to lick you it might be trying to get your attention, help soothe itself if it is stressed and to show empathy. Of course, if you happen to have a little food, lotion, or salty sweat on your skin, then it is because you taste good to them! A dog licking its owner is very common, for them it is a way of grooming, bonding and expressing themselves. We consider it a sign of affection.
For any nature conservationists out there you may have noticed that young wild dogs lick their mothers, when they return from a hunt, to show that they are hungry. This licking instinct is hardwired into your dog’s DNA.
Dog licking is usually harmless and doesn't pose much of a danger to you as long as you do not have any open wounds and your immune system is functioning well.
Below are a few reasons why your pet might be licking you:
Affection: Licking is a natural action for dogs so it is more than likely that they are licking you because they love you. It is something that they have learnt from a young age when their mother groomed them as a pup with licks to show affection. Not all dogs are the same and some dogs might tend to lick less or not at all - remember this does not mean that they are not affectionate, it might not like licking or not have experienced it as a pup as learnt behaviour.
Seeking attention: Your dog might start licking you because it wants your attention. When a dog licks a child it may cause the child to laugh which can reinforce a learned behaviour for your pet. So if your dog is bored or lonely they may lick you for attention.
Communication: It is believed that licking might be passed down in the DNA, causing dogs to instinctively carry out this behaviour. A pup licking its mother for food or being licked is a learned behaviour that causes dogs to do it instinctively.
You taste good: Dogs love anything that has an interesting taste, so they might be licking you because you taste a bit salty.
Obsessive-compulsive behaviour: This is rare, but it can be brought on by prolonged stress or anxiety. If you are concerned about your dog always licking you speak to your vet or pet behaviourist for advice.
There are many possible reasons why your dog might be licking you and excessive licking can be a sign that your dog is not feeling well. As pet loving owners we need to be aware of any change in behaviour because it could be a sign of stress or anxiety.
Does your dog love to lick you? If you think you’ve figured out their reasons, comment below and let and let us know why.