Last Updated on October 31, 2022 by Dogs Vets
Why Do Dogs Lick Everything So Much
Excessive dog licking resembles slobbering on the hands, face, and around the mouth. Dog training experts say that dogs usually show affection by licking their owners. Besides showing affection, dog licking may signify other things or conditions.
This article will help you understand why your dog may be licking you and talk through some potential solutions to problematic excessive licking.
Why Do Dogs Lick Everything So Much?
Studies show that licking is an instinctive and natural behavior of dogs. Dogs consider licking as a way of bonding, grooming, or expressing their feelings. Some dogs will lick you to express their love, show empathy, or seek your attention.
Nevertheless, excessive licking can signify an uncomfortable, anxious, and hurting dog, making it vital to consult a behaviorist or vet.
The key takeaway is to understand that for dogs, licking is a form of communication. Could be a positive or it could be a negative, but it is a form of communication and that is how you need to interpret it.
Do Dogs Have a Specific Instinct to Lick?
Yes, licking is vital for dogs, as it expresses emotions, grooms, and communicates. Besides licking you, female dogs will lick the puppies to clean, encourage, or comfort them.
Even though it is an instinct, you still have the possibility to shape the behavior with the right behavioral reinforcement and training. But it is important to always keep in mind that it is an instinct and not some form of bad behavior. This will help you stay calm with your dog and not get unnecessarily angry.
Reasons Why Dogs Lick
While humans use their hands to explore various things, studies show that dogs use their tongues and mouth to assess their moods and understand the environment. Here is what they may be communicating:
Licking is one of the ways dogs show affection. Licking stimulates dogs to release endorphins and dopamine, making them feel calm, happy, and relaxed.
Research shows that dog licking is a comforting behavior. Your dog may try licking if it’s concerned about you. Licking will make you feel relieved, better, and cared for.
Dogs can lick you as a way of seeking attention. After the licking, the dogs expect you to fuss, pet, talk to them politely, or stroke them.
You Taste Good
Your dog is likely to lick you more after exercise. Furthermore, these pets may lick your hands or face to enjoy the smell of your food’s remnants or moisturizing lotions and creams.
So, how powerful is a dog’s sense of taste?
Despite having an exceptional smell, studies show that humans have more than five times more taste buds than dogs. Like humans, dogs can taste bitter, salty, and sweet but can’t detect umami (savory flavor). With the sense of smell responsible for approximately 80% of our taste, dogs’ sense of smell covers the absence of taste buds.
Sign Of Hunger
Naturally, young dogs or puppies lick their mother’s lips as they return from their hunting mission to signify hunger. Thus, adult dogs usually grow with the behavior, making them lick you when they are hungry.
When Does Dog Licking Become a Problem?
Because dog licking is a natural way of expressing feelings, some dogs may lick you excessively. Excessive licking may signify anxiety issues or health complications, such as arthritis, injury, or allergy. Below are the reasons for excessive licking:
Dog licking may be a proper soothing way to keep the dog relaxed and calm. Despite the calming effects, excessive licking may signify stress and anxiety.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Despite being rare in dogs, some can develop OCD due to anxiety or long-term stress. Excessive licking of individuals is a major sign of this disorder. You can help the dog by taking it out for training, enjoying a garden walk, or consulting a vet.
Solutions to Problematic Licking
With dog licking being a natural behavior, it is hard for the dog to stop the behavior completely. Nevertheless, some dogs may not lick at all.
Experts advise that it’s important to understand why your dog licks you to help it stop.
Let’s look at effective suggestions to stop your dog from licking too much:
● Move Away
Try moving your body part that the dog licks away. When moving away, remain neutral by not making eye contact and remaining silent. You can also consider moving the dog away or leaving the room to show the dog that you are not wanting them to lick you.
● Distract Them
You can distract the dogs by giving them other objects, like a food puzzle, to stop them from licking.
You can consider teaching or training them to do something to redirect their behavior and offer them a reward.
Exercising and stimulating your dog will help reduce burnup or stress that directs licking.
● Stay Clean
Take a shower after exercising if the dog likes licking you after workouts.
● Provide Positive Attention
You enhance the change by giving the dog attention and praise when they do want you to want.
● Be Consistent
Avoid providing the pet with mixed messages to prevent confusion. It’ll be good to be clear and consistent about what you want or don’t want the dog to know.
For more information on dog behavior, and why they do what they do, check out The Factual Doggo blog.
Is it Right For Your Dog to Lick Your Face?
Despite it being a personal decision, it’s good to understand that a dog’s saliva has parasites and its mouth has numerous bacteria. It would be wise to wash your face after the pet licks on your face.
Many humans are very happy for their dog to lick their face, and they experience it as a bonding activity with their dog, but just be aware of the small chance of potential bacterial transmission and infection from this activity.
Why Does Your Dog Lick You In The Morning?
Studies show that dogs may greet you in the morning by licking you. Furthermore, the oils and sweat you produce at night attract the dog to the delicious taste.
If we understand that dogs cannot use words to communicate and express themselves it makes a lot more sense why they lick so much, in the absence of this ability.
Why Does Your Dog Lick You More than Other People?
Studies show that your pet probably loves you more if it licks you than others. You may be the best person giving it the best tickles and strokes and providing tasty foods.
Why Does Your Dog Lick You Stroking them?
Stroking your dog is a form of showing them love, affection, and care. The dogs can lick you back as a mutual feeling.
Why Does the Dog Lick You After Eating?
Research shows that a dog has approximately 100,000 times better smell than a human.
Depending on your eating, the dog may start licking you due to the attractive smell.
Why Does Your Dog Lick Themselves So Much?
Get your vet to check on your dog if it suddenly starts licking itself excessively. It may signify anxiousness, stress, itchiness, discomfort, or nauseous. Some dogs chew or lick around their irritated site.
For instance, dogs with anal sacs usually lick their back or legs to be more comfortable.
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