Why Do Dogs Lick You?

Most dogs tend to lick people on various parts of their bodies. The face and hands are particularly popular. Not everyone likes that, they are mainly concerned about hygiene. Licking is definitely a form of how a dog communicates. But what exactly does it mean when dogs lick you?

The Most Important Things Summarized

  • Licking is a natural behavior of dogs. They use their tongue not only for eating and personal hygiene but also for communication.
  • This can have various causes on the hands and face. In addition to showing affection towards humans, dogs use licking to attract attention or to appease them.
  • If you do not want your dog to lick your face, offer alternatives such as B. your hands. They can be washed quickly and thoroughly with soap after the cuddle session.

The Natural Behavior of Dogs

Licking is a natural behavior of dogs. The four-legged friends use their tongues not only for personal hygiene and eating but also for communication – among themselves and with humans. Bitches also lick their puppies right after birth. On the one hand, they dry the little ones with it, on the other hand, licking stimulates the circulation and the mother can smell the puppies more clearly. After eating, licking stimulates digestion and promotes the bond between mother and child.

In a pack, young animals that do not yet go hunting themselves lick the adult animals on the snout. This encourages them to choke out the pre-digested food so that the little ones can eat it. In addition, licking the snout is a symbol of affection and shows submissiveness towards adult dogs. However, it is not always easy to understand what a dog is trying to tell us. Just when you find licking uncomfortable, it’s quickly viewed as a bad habit.

What is a dog trying to tell you by licking?

There are several situations in which a dog will lick people. This is accompanied by different meanings.

Affection and well-being

If you pet your dog, he perceives this as affection and enjoys this gesture. At the same time, he also wants to show his affection – and then licks the hands or the face of the person. With this, the four-legged friend communicates trust, a feeling of well-being, but also the acceptance of the leadership of the pack by “his” people.

Lick for attention

In addition to showing affection, licking your hands can also mean that a dog wants something. This can be food, but also the desire for cuddles or attention. This cautious way of making contact is also a sign that a dog accepts its place in the pack. Otherwise, the animal would communicate much more demandingly and question the position of the pack leader.

If your dog licks you to get attention or food, consider whether you want to encourage the behavior to continue. Eventually, your dog will remember what the licking accomplishes and will intensify the behavior when successful.

Licking to appease

In the pack, lower-ranking animals often lick the snout of a higher-ranking dog to placate it. Some four-legged friends also show this behavior towards humans. The tension does not necessarily have to be related to the dog. Sometimes it is enough if one person argues with another or sings particularly loudly for a dog to start trying to calm a person down by licking it.

Taste experience through licking

Sometimes hand licking has a very simple cause. If you have just eaten something that your dog particularly likes, or perhaps you have stroked another dog, the interest in the smells is great. Since dogs can acquire not only taste but also smell molecules through licking, they collect information through licking. Sweat can also make a dog want to lick the taste.

Why do dogs lick an infant?

Some dogs also lick infants. In doing so, they express that they want to take care of the offspring – and would also defend them in an emergency. You should not stop this positive behavior, even if it may be difficult under certain circumstances.

Hygiene on the Face – Alternatives to Licking

Not everyone likes it when the dog licks their face with its tongue. After all, the animal puts all sorts of things in its mouth during the day, which are not always hygienically perfect. However, it doesn’t make sense to completely ban dogs from licking their favorite people. After all, he just wants to express his affection and would be rather irritated by a ban.

One way to avoid licking your face is to simply hold your hand out to your four-legged friend. Here he can lick as he pleases and expresses his affection. And all you have to do is wash your hands afterward.

You can train young animals not to lick their faces. If it licks your face, just turn away for a few seconds and ignore it. This teaches the puppy that licking will do the opposite. The same applies if the four-legged friend uses licking to attract attention.

Dangerous Diseases from Licking?

Some people fear getting sick if a dog licks them. This is largely unfounded, but you should avoid direct contact between human and animal mucous membranes. Especially if the dog has licked its anus beforehand, the transmission of intestinal parasites in this way would be conceivable. Dogs can also transmit bacteria. While the animals show no symptoms, in extreme cases they can lead to blood poisoning or meningitis in humans.

In any case, it makes sense to wash your hands after licking, before rubbing your eyes, or preparing meals.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *