The Science Behind Why Dogs Lick
New Feature

The Science Behind Why Dogs Lick

There are many reasons why we find dogs irresistible! They have cute faces, a tiny four-legged body, and a funny wagging tail. They remind us of our childhood when we were carefree and loved unconditionally.

There are manyreasons why we find dogs irresistible! They have cute faces, a tiny four-leggedbody, and a funny wagging tail. They remind us of our childhood when we werecarefree and loved unconditionally.

They also have long and rough tonguesthat simply love to lick. Their slobbery kisses might be endearing, andsometimes we can't help but wonder: Why do dogs lick so much?

This article will delve into the reasonsbehind why dogs lick, both from a psychological and social standpoint. We'llalso explore how groomingplays into this behavior.

Why Do Dogs Lick Themselves?

The first thingto note is that dogs groom themselves by licking. They use their tongues toclean their fur and remove dirt or debris. This self-grooming behavior isthought to serve two purposes: cleaning and cooling.

Cleaning is fairly self-explanatory – bylicking their fur, dogs can remove anything that might be clinging to it,including:

●     Dirt

●     Dust

●     Pollen

●     Food scraps

●     Fleas.

Cooling is a bit more complicated. It'sbelieved that dogs lick their fur to evaporate the saliva and cool themselvesdown. It's especially helpful in hot weather or after strenuous exercise.

So, self-grooming is one reason why dogslick. But what about all those times they lick us?

Why Do Dogs Lick People?

Dogs have a lotof reasons for licking people. If you find your pup licking your face, it couldbe for one of the following:


Dogs areincredibly smart and social creatures. They form strong bonds with their ownersand learn to love and trust them. When dogs lick your face, it's often a signof affection. Just like we might kiss our loved ones, dogs will show theirdevotion by licking us on the face.

When a dog licks your face, they also tryto communicate with you. Your pets might be trying to tell you that they'rehappy or that they want something (like food). So, if you see your pup lickingyour face, it's a good idea to try and figure out what they're trying to say!

However, it's understandable if you'drather not have your dog licking your face all the time. If this is the case,you can do a few things to discourage this behavior.

Try turning your head away when your doggoes in for a lick. You can also give them a chew toy or bone to keep themoccupied. With a little patience and training, you should be able to get yourdog to stop licking your face altogether.


Unfortunately,not all licking is motivated by love and affection. For some dogs, licking canbe a way to cope with anxiety or stress. If your dog licks their fur or ownerexcessively, it could signify that they're feeling anxious. This behavior isthought to provide them with comfort and calm.

If you think your dog might be lickingbecause of anxiety, it's important to talk to your veterinarian. They can helpyou figure out the best way to treat your dog's anxiety and stop excessivelicking.

If left untreated, anxiety can lead tomore severe problems like depression, so it's essential to get help as soon aspossible. It can also damage your dog's fur and skin, so best to nip thisbehavior in the bud.

Compulsive Licking

In some cases,dogs will develop a compulsive disorder where they feel the need to lickexcessively. This can be caused by several things, including boredom, stress,or even food allergies. If your dog is compulsively licking, it's important totalk to your vet so they can help you figure out the underlying cause.

In some cases, compulsive licking can becured with behavioral therapy or medication. However, it's crucial to catch theproblem early so it doesn't become too severe.


Dogs only havearound 1,700 taste buds, compared to your 9,000. But that doesn't mean theydon't enjoy the taste of their owners! In fact, some dogs will lick theirowners simply because they enjoy the taste of their skin.

If your dog is licking you for thisreason, it can be more challenging to stop. After all, if a dog enjoys thetaste of something, it can be difficult to keep them from it!

One way to discourage this behavior is totry and make yourself less attractive to your dog. This means avoiding perfumesor lotions that might make you smell good to them. There are also products onthe market that can make your skin taste unpleasant to dogs. These might beworth trying if your dog is constantly licking you.

At the end of the day, there's no need toworry if your dog licks you occasionally. It's actually pretty normal behaviorfor dogs! However, if you're concerned about excessive licking, it's importantto talk to your veterinarian. They can help you figure out if there's anunderlying cause and guide you on how to stop the behavior.

Is It Safe For Dogs ToLick People?

Yes, generally,it is safe for dogs to lick people. However, there are a few things to keep inmind.

First, you must make sure your dog'smouth is clean. This means brushing your dog's teeth regularly or hiring agroomer. You should also be checking for any signs of disease or infection. Ifyour dog's mouth is not clean, they could transfer bacteria to you when theylick.

That's why you should also avoid lettingyour dog lick any open wounds or cuts. It could lead to infection.

Finally, you might want to prevent babiesor small children from being licked by dogs because their immune systems arenot yet fully developed. A dog's tongue is also fairly rough, so it could hurta baby's delicate skin.

Why Do Dogs Lick Other Dogs?

Dogs also lickother dogs as a sign of affection. However, they also lick to show submission.When a dog licks another dog's face, it's basically saying, "I'm not athreat." It is often seen during playtime between two dogs who are justgetting to know each other.

Licking can also be a way to showdominance. When a dog licks another dog's face, it's claiming them as its own.This behavior is often seen between mother and puppy or between two dogsfighting for dominance.

Generally, there is no need to worry ifyour dog licks other dogs. However, if the licking becomes excessive, it couldbecome a problem.

What Happens To A Dog's Fur AfterExcessive Licking?

Excessive lickingcan cause several problems for your dog. For one, it can damage their fur. Ifyour dog licks their fur too much, they can actually remove the protectivelayer that keeps their skin healthy. This can lead to dryness, irritation, andeven infection.

In addition, excessive licking can alsocause your dog to develop hot spots. These are open sores that can be painfuland may even become infected. Allergies often cause hot spots, so it'simportant to talk to your vet if your dog is licking excessively.

Finally, excessive licking can also leadto behavioral problems. If your dog is constantly licking their fur, it maybecome anxious or obsessive. This can lead to a number of other issues,including aggression and self-harm.

How A Groomer Can Help You With YourDog's Licking Problem

If your dog islicking excessively, it's important to talk to your vet. They can help youfigure out the underlying cause of the behavior and provide you with guidanceon how to stop it.

In some cases, your vet may recommendhaving your dog evaluated by a qualified mobile groomer, especially if thelicking is causing problems with your dog's fur. A groomer can help trim yourdog's coat and make it more difficult for them to lick. Additionally, a groomercan provide you with tips on stopping your dog from licking.

If you don't mind your dog giving you alick once in a while, you probably want its breath to smell nice. A groomer canalso help with this! They can give your dog a teeth cleaning that will help tofreshen their breath.

Generally, a groomer is a great resourceif your dog licks excessively. They can help to solve the problem and make yourdog more comfortable.

Where To Find A Mobile Dog GroomerNear You

Not everybody hastime to take their dog to a groomer, and the team at Pawshunderstands that. Our app connects you with mobile dog groomers who will cometo you! This means that you can get your dog groomed without leaving yourhouse.

Pawsh is the easiest way to find a mobiledog groomer near you. Simply enter your zip code and choose a time that worksfor you. Then, sit back and relax while a professional dog groomer comes toyou!

All payments, scheduling, and communicationsare handled through the app, so you don't have to worry about anything. Pawshgroomers are professionals who are passionate about dogs, and they will takegreat care of your pup.

If you're looking for a mobile doggroomer, Pawsh is the way! We'll help you find a professional near you who cantake care of your dog. Download the app today!

Related Posts