Why Does My Dog Lick Me?
Dogs are mainly exploring the world by sniffing and licking.
But they also use it to show how they are feeling as dogs can't word it out with human language.
That means when you are greeted by your canine with several licks in the face or your hands, it's most probably because he is excited to see you.
Licking is an important means of communication for dogs and it can have different purposes, which I am going to unveil in the following.
Your Dog Loves You!
If your dog licks you it's likely due to him wanting to show you his affection.
When dogs are young, they learn from their mother that licking is a way to show love.
Licking releases endorphins into the bloodstream of the dog which makes him feel comfortable and relaxed.
This is why it can be used as a tool for calming down when nervous, so pay close attention to your dog's body language if you are unsure why he licks you.
But in most cases, your dog licks you because he simply loves you, so do not worry too much.
Your Dog Wants Your Attention
Dogs know that licking generates attention and they might use it as a tool for getting what they want.
Puppies usually lick their mother to tell her that they are hungry and want some food and lower-ranking canines of a pack could lick the alpha dog to be allowed the opportunity of joining in feasting on the prey.
Your dog could also want you to play with him or go for a walk.
It is important to keep the general conditions in mind to determine what your dog might want.
Licking Is A Sensory Tool
In contrast to our hands, the canine's paws aren't made for exploring their surroundings.
But the fact that dog tongues are permeated with large amounts of sensory cells, it makes them perfect for examining the world.
If your dog tends to lick strangers it is possible that he simply wants to get to know to them.
Your Canine Likes Your Taste
If your furry friend doesn't usually show any forms of affection, the licking could be due to your taste.
You might have some barely noticeable leftovers of his favorite treats or another food he loves on your fingers.
It is not unusual that canines lick places that once contained tasty food and it is also common that dogs like the salty taste of their owner's skin, which makes them keep licking them.
Why Does My Dog Lick Himself So Much?
Dogs usually lick themselves daily to stay clean.
This is normal behavior among animals.
But there are times when licking isn't well-balanced anymore but excessive.
If licking gets out of hand it most of the time focuses on the canines themselves or objects.
Allergies are the most frequent cause of excessive licking.
If this is the case for your dog, he could be licking himself often in between the toes or even chew on his rear end and inner thighs.
Your dog could be allergic to specific floating particles like pollen or dust which build up on his skin and therefore cause itching.
It might also be an allergy to certain nutrients - such as protein - in his pet food or bites of parasites such as fleas.
To minimize environmental stress, you should try to clean your furry darling's paws after every walk to ensure, no potentially problematic particles gather up on his skin.
If your dog's skin color changes or if there are pimples, scratches, wounds or crusts on his skin, you should definitely seek a veterinarian.
Excessive licking of uncommon places such as walls or the floor could be a sign of nausea, which in turn might be caused by gastrointestinal upset.
If your dog is showing these signs for longer than a day, or if they are correlated to diarrhea, loss of appetite or vomiting, it is quintessential to consult with a veterinarian.
As we've found out earlier, licking produces endorphins and therefore excessive licking could be your dog trying to calm himself down due to mental stress such as separation anxiety.
It's necessary to stop your dog from overgrooming himself because it may cause infections and granulomas which are painful to your canine.
This can be done by either going out for a walk, giving him his favorite treat or a toy to play with.
If you think your dog is excessively grooming himself, make an appointment with a veterinarian and together you can rule out potential causes and find a treatment suitable for your beloved pet.
How Do I Get My Dog To Stop Licking Me?
Although the licking of your dog could simply be him showing his love, it might cause problems or slow you down if you cannot constantly wipe the saliva off your hands or your face.
But there are methods to avoid being licked too often which I will explain in the following:
Alter Your Body Scent
Most canines enjoy licking the salt off their human's skin.
Therefore it could be enough to change the scent and taste of your skin to stop the seemingly never-ending licking.
Changing up your daily soap, body wash, and general hygiene products could greatly shift the way your dog scents and tastes you and potentially cease the licking.
Redirect Your Dog's Attention
Dogs might use licking as a way to play with you.
If you think this is the case with your canine, try to distract him by playing with him or taking him out for a walk to keep him occupied.
But because licking can also be a means of communication, it might take some time for your dog to drop his habitual behavior.
It's important that you don't punish your dog if you find him continuing his licking habit and to keep his licking to an adequate degree.
Licking is generally a sign of affection and you should be happy about your dog's feelings about you.
But your canine could lick you because he learned that it's a valid way to get your attention.
In this case, he might want you to play with him, go for a walk or you to give him food.
Dogs use licking as a sensory tool, too and therefore occasionally lick strangers to find out who they are.
It's possible that the reason for your dog licking you is your taste or scent because there are hardly noticeable remains of his favorite treat or food on your fingers.
If your dog licks you due to the natural occurrence of salt on your skin and you want your dog to stop licking you so frequently, changing up your hygienic routine by switching soaps or washing lotions could do the trick.
Redirecting your dog's attention to make him cease the constant licking is another way of avoiding your canine's saliva.
You may want to take him for a walk, give him his favorite treat or play fetch.
Do you often have to deal with your dog's licking?
What do you think could be the possible reasons?
I'd love to hear about your experiences in the comment section below!