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A woman with long hair smiles as she is licked by a small black dog. The woman is wearing a white shirt, and they are both in front of a purple wooden wall.
Pet Blog

Why Does My Dog Lick Me?

It is no secret that dogs like to lick humans. The real question that many people wonder is, “why does my dog lick me so much?!”. The truth is that even the most learned dog experts do finitely not know why dogs lick their owners. There are several hypothesized reasons why, but there is no way of knowing for sure unless we learn to speak the same language as our dogs.

What Does It Mean When a Dog Licks You?

There are several possible reasons why dogs lick their owners. Here are some of the possible reasons:


One of the most likely reasons why your dog would lick you a lot is for grooming. Dogs are pack animals. In their pack, you are your pup’s fearless leader and it is common for dogs to collectively groom the leader.


Another possible reason for licking is for healing purposes. Dogs are very different from humans in that their immune system is especially strong. Their mouths in particular are full of bacteria, antibodies, enzymes, and other things that help prevent infection. This is a trait that developed over centuries of being scavengers that need to be able to eat whatever they find without getting sick.

When dogs are injured, their only method of cleaning the wound is to lick it. This works in multiple ways. It removes any dirt and debris which can lead to an infection. Your dog’s saliva can also help protect wounds from getting dirty again and kill bacteria. If you notice that your dog wants to lick you a lot after you hurt yourself, know that it is your dog trying to keep you from getting sick. Paging nurse Wags-a-lot!


It is also entirely possible that your dog licks you a lot to show you affection. When you think about how humans show affection (by kissing), it is not strange to think that dogs would do something similar. If your dog is very happy to see you and energetic, then there is a good chance that your dog just wants to show you some affection.


The constant licking may also be a form of communication. This one might not be as common or likely since dogs do have a full range of sounds that they can make. However, licking can be a way of getting your attention. If you think your dog is licking you to get your attention, it's worth investigating to make sure that nothing is wrong.

Weird Dog Licking Habits

While some reasons to lick seem normal, there are several weird dog licking habits that make pet parents tilt their heads. But don’t worry! Most of these unusual behaviors aren’t a reason to say, “ruh-roh”.

Why Do Dogs Lick the Air?

Dogs usually lick the air because they have something stuck on their tongue. When trying to get it off, they will often close their mouths and stick their tongue through. Pro tip: If you notice your dog is licking the air, give your pup’s tongue and mouth a quick look to make sure there’s nothing stuck to it.

Why Do Dogs Lick Lotion or Sunscreen?

Lotion and sunscreen attract dogs because they have a smell and texture that is unusual for dogs. They often lick lotion or sunscreen because it tastes strange or they are trying to clean you. As with anything, too much of something isn’t always great for us, but this is most important for our fur babies. If they continue licking, grab a toy or treat to divert their attention! Stand away from the SPF, wiggly butts!

Why Do Dogs Lick Feet?

Licking feet is actually common for dogs. Usually, it is a quick thing that passes soon, but it could be something that if your dog does regularly, your dog might be grooming you. Nothing like a little at home spa treatment!