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Why Do Dogs Lick People? 5 Reasons Why Dogs Love To Lick

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Licking has often been thought of as a sign of affection, but did you know there are other reasons behind those sloppy kisses?

It’s common knowledge the dogs love to lick.

Whether it’s a sloppy kiss when you arrive home from work or a flurry of licks when the lead comes out: the lick is a classic action from our doggy pals.

Licking is a common behavioral trait our canine companion’s exhibit but there can be several different reasons behind those sloppy kisses. It’s important to note that it’s usually harmless, however, a compulsive licker may cause issues, especially if you’re in the company of someone who isn’t comfortable with being on the receiving end of those sloppy licks!

So, let’s explore what those reasons are.


5 Reasons Why Dogs Love To Lick

1/ Affection

Busterbox Dog Licking Baby Through Affection

Picture this. You’re arriving home after a long day at work, as you fumble your keys in the door you hear excited barking, and as you bundle your way through the door you’re met with a volley of licks from your beloved pooch.

Those sloppy kisses are because your dog loves you. By licking us your dog is demonstrating their delight at seeing us arrive home and begins showering us with affection.

So why licks?

According to PetMD, “When dogs lick, they get a rush of good feelings. As puppies, dogs will kick their mothers and be licked by the mother. They can retain this comfort as they get older. It can also be seen as a submissive action, showing you respect by licking you.”

However, it doesn’t mean that your dog is any less affectionate just because they don’t like licking, it just means they’ve learned differently as a pup.

2/ They Like The Taste

A big reason behind dog licking is that that they like how you taste!

But don’t worry this isn’t the start of some apocalyptic horror movie, they don’t want to eat you.

It comes down to your salty sweat.

Dr Mary Bursch of the American Kennel Club says, “Humans have salty skin, especially after sweating during exercise. Therefore those licks may be more about seeking salt than affection.”

Also, PetMD notes that “dogs use taste to explore and learn their surroundings.”

3/ They’re Looking For Attention

BusterBox Dogs Lick Look For Attention

A dogs tendency to lick can often be attributed to attention seeking behaviour.

This is especially the case if the licking evokes a reaction from you: petting, smiling, laughing etc.

The reaction doesn’t have to be positive either.

A lonely dog will feel satisfied by any attention: even negative.

So giving out or pushing it away may make it double its efforts to be noticed.

4/ Exploration

Previously, we saw how dogs investigate the world through their noses.

Well, did you know that they also use their tongues to understand the world?

They use their tongues as a way of feeling things. They use their tongues to touch and explore things.

5/ Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)/ Anxiety

Persistent anxiety or stress may lead to your dog developing OCD.

If this is the case it results in constant, compulsive licking.

Discuss these worries with your veterinarian.

They may refer you on to an animal behaviorist, or they may prescribe medication to alleviate the anxiety.


Final Bark

And so concludes this weeks blog exploring why our dogs love to lick people.

Licking is a harmless trait that is usually a positive action from our pals, however, obsessive or compulsive licking may be a sign that your dog is anxious, stressed or even has OCD – so be sure to contact your vet if worried.

Enjoy this piece? Be sure to check out the rest of our doggy library and join the pack on our journey to finding our more about our dogs one paw at a time.

Join the BusterBox pack today and get a free bed on sign up!

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