Everything You Need To Know About Why Dogs Lick

Learn why do dogs lick humans and how can you stop excessive licking by dogs.

Everything You Need To Know About Why Dogs Lick
Coming home to a loving canine companion is one of life's greatest joys. But why do dogs lick? It's a behavior that can mean different things in different scenarios.

Why do dogs lick?

Puppies of wild animals such as foxes, coyotes and other wild dogs have the habit of licking the face of their mother once she returns from her hunting episodes. This behavior remains intact even when they grow up and become adults. Licking releases soothing endorphins which not only makes them feel comfortable and content but also acts as a therapy to remove stress. Wild dogs generally move around in the pack and the group members lick their leader as a gesture of submission, which aids in maintaining a feeling of togetherness in the group. Therefore, it may be argued that this act has taken the form of a greeting in many dogs. Dogs also have a reputation of licking themselves as well and in common parlance, it is believed that they do this to kill their boredom or anxiousness. However, there might be a latent illness or allergy which a dog is suffering from if he is licking himself excessively. Environmental allergies, nausea, gastrointestinal disorders and flea bites are some of the primary reasons. To reduce pain or irritation, a dog gets the urge to lick a certain portion of his body too much and it is advisable for you to consult a veterinarian if the problem persists for a considerable period of time.

What does it mean when your dog licks you?

Dogs lick humans, mostly their face, because we have a slightly salty skin and its taste is something which dogs are fond of. Lickings are also widely recognized as an act which dogs do to pamper or please humans out of their affection or admiration towards them. They might even do that to get your attention or are in the mood of being pampered by us. Further, if your dog does it, it could also possibly mean that it is asking you to get moving and serve him his meal. Before your dog starts licking you, make sure that there are no chemicals or anything toxic on your body or clothes.

Is it harmful to humans to be licked by dogs?

Normally, lickings are completely harmless and should not be considered as worthy of causing troubles to human beings. However, they might turn out to be a danger if a person has open wounds or has a weak immune system. Dog’s saliva contains bacteria called Capnocytophaga which is a genus of Gram-negative bacteria. This bacterium is potent enough to cause infections in open wounds, although it is a very rare sight.

How to stop excessive licking by dogs?

You or your friends who visit your place might not be a big fan of getting licked repeatedly. In such scenarios, it will be important to teach him to refrain from doing it. Handing an adequate amount of tasks to keep him busy is the first and foremost technique of keeping your loyal companion away from licking you. You ought to make him stand up and sit down, do military crawls, run from one point to another or perform other physical activities and it goes without saying that this will require a lot of dedication and consistency from you. Trick training is also an excellent method to do the needful and could help in solving the problem. If your dog licks you, get away from him or scold him to make him feel that you aren’t fond of it. In other instances, keep patting him when he is not licking you and as soon as he starts the unwanted process again, stop patting him. Also, give him suitable rewards once he starts adhering to your commands, such as cuddling him or giving him his favourite food. Dogs are intelligent mammals who can decipher a substantial amount of ideas from a human’s gestures. Slowly but surely, he will realise what you actually want him to refrain from doing. Over the course of time, the licking will fade away and your pet dog will transform into a well-mannered friend.
Wanda Rater
Wanda Rater

Avid tv junkie. Freelance bacon aficionado. Certified beer lover. Typical food specialist. Infuriatingly humble bacon expert. Hipster-friendly travel lover.

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