Why Do Dogs Lick You? Unraveling the Canine Mystery

If you're a dog owner, you've likely been on the receiving end of a wet, slobbery "kiss" more times than you can count. But the question remains: Why do dogs lick you?
This age-old canine behavior has puzzled many, but when we delve deeper, it's clear that there's more to these licks than meets the eye.
Why Do Dogs Lick You? Unraveling the Canine Mystery

Affection and Bonding

One of the primary reasons dogs lick is to show affection. Just as humans show affection through hugging or kissing, dogs show their love by licking.
When your dog licks you, it can be their way of signaling their affection for you. Licking can also be a submissive gesture that shows they recognize your authority.
Pug in a Sherpa dog hoodie

Communication Tool

Dogs use licking as a form of communication. From the moment they're born, puppies experience their mother's licks as a form of care and attention.
As they grow, this behavior becomes a way for them to communicate with other dogs and with humans. A lick can be a dog's way of saying "hello", asking for something, or showing that they're not a threat.

Taste and Curiosity

Dogs are naturally curious creatures. They use their mouths and tongues to explore the world around them. If you've just had a meal or even if you've applied a new lotion or cream, your skin might taste interesting to your dog. This exploratory behavior is completely natural.
Poodle in a dog dress

Seeking Attention

If your dog wants attention, they might lick you. It's an effective way for them to get your attention, especially if they've learned that licking leads to positive outcomes like petting, treats, or play.

Instinctual Behavior from Puppyhood

Licking is an instinctual behavior that begins at birth. Mother dogs lick their newborn puppies to stimulate breathing and to clean them. As puppies grow, they lick their mother's face and mouth as a way to ask for food.
This behavior can carry into adulthood, where dogs may lick humans as a form of greeting or to show submission.
Cavapoo in a rainbow dog shirt

Licking as a Soothing Mechanism

For some dogs, licking can be a self-soothing behavior. If they're anxious, stressed, or bored, they might lick you or themselves as a way to cope.
Interestingly, just as licking can offer comfort to dogs, certain dog clothes can provide similar feelings of security. Dog sweaters and hoodies can give warmth and a soft feel, while dog pajamas and onesies offer a snug fit that many dogs find reassuring.
Moreover, these clothes can retain familiar scents, such as the smell of their owner or home, further enhancing their sense of safety and comfort.
Instagram: rockynycmorkie

Medical or Behavioral Issues

Excessive licking can sometimes indicate an underlying medical issue. Dogs might lick to soothe themselves if they have pain or discomfort. Behavioral issues like anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorders can also lead to excessive licking.
Dogs in snug fit dog pajamas
So, why do dogs lick you? The reasons are varied and can range from simple affection to more complex behavioral cues. Understanding the reasons behind your dog's licking can help you better connect with your furry friend and ensure their well-being.
And just as they find comfort in the act of licking, providing them with familiar comforts, like their favorite dog clothes imbued with familiar scents, can go a long way in making them feel safe and loved.