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Why Do Dogs Lick You?

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Why Do Dogs Lick You?

Pet owners often experience enthusiastic face licks or excited tail wagging from dogs. So, why do dogs lick people?

Why do dogs lick?

What's the first thing you do when you greet your dog? You will most likely pet them. We naturally need to touch their fur with our hands as a form of grooming. Dogs use their tongues to groom, so licking is their way of greeting, bonding and expressing affection. While we explore the world with our hands, dogs use their mouths and tongues to help them understand their environment and assess the emotions of others. Whether it's licking your face to greet you and assess your mood, picking things up with your teeth, or playing with a toy or ball.


Licking is a natural and instinctive behavior for dogs.

For them, it's a way to dress up, connect, and express themselves. Your dog may lick you to show that they love you, to get your attention, to help soothe themselves when they are stressed, to show empathy, or because you taste good to them! Excessive licking can sometimes be a sign that your dog is anxious, uncomfortable, or in pain. At this time, you have to pay careful attention to its subtle behaviors, which are all expressing its discomfort to you.

They are showing affection

Dogs often express affection by licking. This is an instinctive behavior related to the comfort the puppies feel when their mother licks them. Licking plays an important role in their bonding with others, causing them to release dopamine and endorphins, helping them feel relaxed, calm, and happy. Just like it feels good for us to pet our dogs, it can also feel good for dogs to lick the people they love.


they show empathy

For dogs, licking is a comforting behavior. If your dog is worried about you, they may try to lick you to make you feel better and care about you. In a 2012 study, researchers asked owners to pretend to cry and found that their dogs were more likely to lick and nuzzle them than when the owners just grunted or talked. These dogs may simply be exhibiting a learned behavior, but many of us would assume that dogs can share and understand our feelings, at least to some extent.

to attract attention

Licking is a great way to get your attention. If your dog licks you, you might pet them, talk to them kindly, pet them, or fuss with them. This, in turn, encourages them to lick you and makes them more likely to do so next time.


If your dog licks you regularly, then you know what it feels like to have drool on your face, hands, and around your mouth, whether you're petting them, feeding them, or being greeted when you come in the door. Being licked by your dog can be a sign of affection, but it can also have many other meanings.

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