So why do dogs lick you?
There are two kinds of dog-owners in this world: those who don’t mind dogs licking them, and those who do. Regardless of what kind of person you are, it’s important to know a few things about your dog licking you.
If you’ve found your dog licking your face, you might have found yourself wondering a few things. Is it hygienic for a dog to lick my face? And what is my dog trying to say? You might even be wondering how to decrease your dogs’ licking.
For dogs, licking is usually a sign of affection. They’re instinctively taught it from a young age, when their mothers lick them to groom them. A dog licking a puppy stimulates the breath and helps clean their fur. Licking is very important for young puppies to survive.
So, is your dog trying to save you and help you grow? Well, probably not, but there are other reasons why dogs lick humans.
Read on to find out why your dog likes to lick you, what you can do to lessen the licking, and any warning signs you should be wary of.
Dogs Lick for Pleasure and Affection
The number one reason a dog is most likely licking you is because they like you. They’re pleased by your presence and want to express their happiness – and so they do so by licking you. Dogs’ brains release endorphins when they lick, which makes them relax, relieve stress, and feel pleasure.
This, in turn, increases affection between the dog and whoever they’re licking. If your dog licks you, then this is a sign that they feel comfortable and secure around you. Give yourself a high five!
They Like Your Salty Skin
For dogs, the joy of licking people doesn’t only stem from love and affection. In fact, dogs will sometimes lick you because they enjoy the taste of saltiness on your skin. So, the next time you go home after a long and sweaty day, keep an eye open for whether your dog reaches for your face or not. It’s possible that your dog is licking you for your flavor.
Is Your Dog Licking Your Feet?
Licking the feet, different from the face, can indicate that your dog is displaying his or her submissiveness to you. This should come as a confidence boost for you. When dogs lick your feet, this is a sign that they admire you and look up to you.
They Just Want Some Attention
If you find that your dog licks you more often than usual, then perhaps your dog is begging for attention. What better way to get someone’s attention than to lick their face? It definitely works, and if your dog is bored or finds that you’ve been distant for a while, they will lick your face to get you to play with them.
Usually, dogs lick your face as a last resort of attention-seeking behavior. Other ways that dog seek attention include long and hard stares, nose pecks, and putting their paws on you. If you pet your dog consistently and give them attention in different ways, their urge to lick you could decrease.
How Do I Make My Dog Lick Me Less?
While it can be truly adorable that your dog is licking you a lot, some people may not be such big fans. Especially if you often have guests around, you wouldn’t want your dog licking the face of every person who walks in.
There are several tricks you can do to get your dog to lick you less. One way to do this is to ignore your dog altogether when they begin to lick you. Don’t pay any attention to your dog, and if they’re persistent, then get up and walk out of the room. Your dog will then begin to make mental patterns that licking you instigates you leaving the room. Eventually, you’ll find that your dog is licking considerably lesser than usual, or not at all.
Another thing you could do is to keep your dog entertained by giving them toys to play with. Playing with dog toys and puzzles are sure ways of diverting their attention away from the licking.
Dogs lick your face with all good intentions. If you feel disgusted by the process, try not to react too strongly so that their feelings are not hurt.
Is it Unhygienic for My Dog to Lick My Face?
Many people get or feel disgusted when dogs lick their faces. There are a few obvious reasons for that. It’s not uncommon to see a dog licking its privates, or sniffing at poop on the streets, and you wouldn’t want that on your face, would you?
While your dog can tolerate certain kinds of bacteria, due to the protein in their saliva that helps cleanse and heal wounds, humans on the other hand cannot. So, it’s recommended to keep the licking at a minimal, especially around your face. You should also make sure to wash your hands before eating, so that your food doesn’t get infected with any potential lingering virus.
Some of the diseases associated with the bacteria in dogs’ mouths include E. coli or salmonella; such ailments can unpleasantly cause a harsh gastrointestinal disease in humans.
When Is Licking a Lot Considered Too Much?
While dogs breaking out of their behavior can be cute at times and make for fun Instagram stories, there are certain red flags that you should be cautious of.
If you find that your dog is obsessively licking him or herself, then you should get them checked up for a number of reasons. Like how people bite their nails, a dog chronically licking him/herself could indicate that they’re anxious, bored, or have skin problems or allergies. You should get your dog’s skin checked for any signs of rashes or wounds. To make sure that your dog isn’t licking due to sickness or emotional distress, then take your dog for a walk and observe their energy levels – if it’s up to standards, or whether your dog is slumping around. If that’s the case, then you should visit a vet to get your puppers checked.
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