Ever wonder what your dog is thinking when he licks you? Is he just saying hello—or planting the canine version of a kiss on your cheek? As cute as it may seem, the question still remains: why do dogs lick? If you’ve ever wondered this before, we have your answers.
One reason your dog licks you is because it’s one of their earliest memories of their mother. The minute he was born, his mom licked him and is one of the first behaviors dogs learn. Before a pup even opens its eyes, it knows the calming and familiar experience of being groomed by mom. It’s equal to the nurturing he received when he was at his most vulnerable, as he was licked to stimulate breathing and to get clean. That positive memory is one your dog is just passing on.
To Show Submission
For the most part, dogs communicate through body language. A dog may lick another dog— especially if he’s licking another dog’s muzzle or his human—to show his submissiveness. It’s just a way for the dog to say, “You’re the boss!”
He’s trying to communicate with you.
Your dog may be licking you to tell you he’s hungry. He may also lick to get your attention to tell you his water bowl is empty or he needs to go out. If his licking seems to be out of character, or somewhat out of the blue, make sure all is well in your dog’s world.
Your dog wants to make sure you are clean. Dogs naturally lick to clean themselves or their littermates. If your dog licks your face often, he may be grooming you to help keep you clean.
You taste nice!
The reason for their occasional licking could just be because you taste nice! Just like your puppy may lick treats, bowls and other items that have once contained their favorite foods, some dogs like the salty taste of their owner’s skin.
If your dog is excessively licking it may be due to a behavioral problem. If your dog is obsessively licking themselves, you or an object, you may want to speak with your dog’s vet about behavioral treatment to help your dog stop this.