Why Does My Dog Lick Me and Everything Else?

Have you ever wondered why? I know I have. Chihuahuas seem to especially love licking you in the face. Some people allow it (I’m one) and some people get grossed out! Regardless of which camp you’re in, most people have wondered why they do it. So I went searching for the answers. I found 4 main reasons.

  • You taste good
  • Affection
  • Attention
  • They are looking for food

Taste

We taste good. Believe it or not, our sweaty, salty skin tastes good to them. Dogs explore their world with their mouths and get comfort from your scent. That is also the reason they steal your socks and underwear.

 Affection

Dogs can’t say “I love you”, but we know actions speak louder than words anyway. Dog’s show love and affection by “grooming” each other. So your dog is “grooming” you and saying “I love you!”

Attention

They are trying to tell you something. Licking is also a sign that they are trying to get your attention. They may be trying to tell you they are hungry, or maybe they need to go out to potty. They may even be trying to get you to play.

why to dogs lick, man holding a chihuahua up to his face and the chihuahua is licking him in the face
Hey, real me love tiny dogs

For instance, if he/she wakes you up in the morning by licking you, they may be saying “hey, you’ve slept long enough, I want to play” or “I need to go out”. They’ve learned from you that licking is a way to get your attention.

How many times have they licked you and you reach down and pet them or play with them? Even if it’s just saying “stop licking me”, to them it’s attention and you have reinforced that behavior so they do it again for attention.

They are Looking for Food

It seems that Chihuahuas especially like to get right in your face and lick you on the mouth. Gross? As I said above, that is a matter of taste (pun intended). To me they are just like my human babies, so yeah sometimes I do. I wouldn’t advise letting them do it in front of other people…… some people really get grossed out. But, why do they like to get in your face and lick?

Chihuahuas Love to Lick You in the Face
Chihuahuas Love to Lick You in the Face
[beautifulquote align=”left” cite=””]Wild puppies lick their mother’s mouth as a signal for her to regurgitate the meat she’s hunted and as a way of demonstrating subornation— AKC[/beautifulquote]

They may simply be looking for food. Yep, you read that right. From birth the mother communicates with her new puppies by licking. She stimulates them to start breathing and it’s how she cleans them when they are born, so it’s very important to the survival of puppies.  In the wild and in domestic dogs, you’ll find they will lick around the mother’s mouth as newborns and puppies and they retain that instinct.  It’s also sort of a submissive gesture — the more subordinate members of a pack will lick the more dominant members.

Possible Medical or Behavior Issue:

Sometimes it just feels good. Licking for dogs releases endorphins that gives dogs a feeling of comfort and pleasure, sort of like when humans bite their fingernails or twirl their hair — it relieves stress. If your dog starts to lick obsessively, there are many possible reasons for that too.

Your dog may just be bored. Is he getting enough physical & mental stimulation? He may be feeling anxious or feeling pain. It may be allergies or other skin problems causing it. (SEE POST: Does Your Chi Have Dry, Itchy Skin? )Don’t let the chronic licking go on for long, they could develop a lick granuloma. (SEE POST:The Nightmare Known As Lick Granuloma)

 

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