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Why Do Dogs Lick You?

Why Do Dogs Lick You?

November 5, 2023
Why Do Dogs Lick You?

Why Do Dogs Lick You? Unveiling the Canine Code of Affection

Dogs are known for their boundless affection and their unique way of expressing it – through licking. If you’re a dog owner, you’ve likely experienced this delightful but perplexing canine behavior. Whether it’s a gentle lick on your hand or an enthusiastic face bath, dogs seem to be perpetually inclined to express their feelings in this manner. But what’s the underlying motive for this slobbery show of love? In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind the age-old question: “Why do dogs lick you?”

1. Puppies Learn through Licking

The very first encounters between a mother dog and her newborn puppies are marked by licking. This maternal instinct plays a vital role in helping puppies to bond with their mother and stimulate essential bodily functions. As puppies grow, they continue to explore the world around them by licking objects and other animals. This instinctual behavior is imprinted from an early age and remains with them throughout their lives.

2. Communication is Key

Dogs are excellent communicators, and licking is one of their primary means of conveying messages. When a dog licks you, they may be trying to communicate a variety of things. It could be a request for attention, affection, or a simple greeting. Sometimes, it’s their way of saying, “Hey, I’m here, and I care about you.”

3. Display of Submission

In the canine world, a dog licking a more dominant dog’s muzzle is a sign of submission. When a dog licks a human, it may indicate that they view you as the leader of the pack. It’s their way of acknowledging your authority and showing respect.

4. Taste and Smell

Dogs possess an incredible sense of smell and taste. When they lick you, they might be sampling your scent or savoring the taste of your skin. Dogs can detect a wide range of scents and flavors, and your skin may hold various intriguing odors for them.

5. Relieving Stress and Anxiety

Much like humans, dogs can experience stress and anxiety. When they’re feeling overwhelmed or anxious, licking can serve as a soothing mechanism. It releases endorphins in their brains, which helps them feel more relaxed and secure. So, if your furry friend starts licking you when you’re feeling down, they might be trying to provide you with comfort.

6. Maintaining Cleanliness

Dogs are inherently clean animals. They may lick themselves to groom and keep their fur in good condition. This grooming behavior extends to their human companions as well. If they lick you, they might be helping you stay clean in their own unique way.

7. Demonstrating Affection

One of the most heartwarming reasons why dogs lick you is to express their love and affection. Dogs are incredibly loyal and devoted animals, and licking is their way of showing you just how much they care. It’s a display of unconditional love that’s sure to warm any dog owner’s heart.

8. Healing Powers of Dog Saliva

It’s not just a myth that dog saliva can have some healing properties. Dog saliva contains enzymes and antibodies that can help clean and disinfect wounds. In fact, some animals, like mother dogs, instinctively lick their puppies’ wounds to promote healing. While it’s not a substitute for proper medical care, a dog’s lick can provide some minor benefits in wound care.

9. Attention-Seeking Behavior

If your dog is persistently licking you, they may be seeking attention. Dogs are incredibly perceptive, and they quickly learn that licking is an effective way to get noticed and garner affection from their owners. If you’re not giving them the attention they desire, they’ll use licking as a gentle reminder.

10. Taste of Salt

Human skin contains salt, which dogs find appealing. This saltiness can be a reason why dogs lick you. They might simply enjoy the taste and seek to satisfy their taste buds by giving you a few licks.


In the world of dogs, licking serves as a versatile means of communication, affection, and bonding. The question, “Why do dogs lick you?” has multiple answers, and it often depends on the context and the individual dog’s personality and experiences. So, the next time your furry friend showers you with slobbery kisses, remember that it’s their unique way of expressing love, connection, and understanding. Cherish these moments, as they’re a testament to the incredible bond you share with your loyal companion.

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