LifestyleWhat does it mean when your dog licks your face?

What does it mean when your dog licks your face?

A dog licking can have many reasons.
A dog licking can have many reasons.
Images source: © Adobe Stock
7:05 PM EST, November 12, 2023

Many dog owners are curious about their pet's behavior, including why they lick their faces or hands. Some even worry that such behavior could signal a problem.

Observing a dog that licks its owner's hands or face is fairly common. However, it might sometimes seem puzzling - why do dogs lick people? Is it a cause for concern? Or could it be the opposite - an indication of affection and attachment from the animal?

Dog-licking behavior has several explanations. Fortunately, most of them suggest signals of a strong bond between the pet and the owner. It's not unusual for dogs to want to lick their owners when they arrive home. This behavior is entirely normal as the dog, having missed its owner, is expressing its yearning and joy of their return.

By licking, dogs also demonstrate their affection and love towards their owners. If the pet spontaneously licks an owner's hand, especially when it is lying close to them, one can be confident that the dog truly adores that individual.

Licking is also a display of respect, indicating the dog regards its human as superior in the household hierarchy.

Could licking behavior signal illness in dogs?

Another reason why dogs lick people can be attributed to pragmatism. Sometimes there might be residual scents on our skin, particularly hands, that appeal to the dog, especially if we've recently consumed aromatic food that entices dogs, such as deli meats.

Licking is also a method for dogs to gather more information about our whereabouts and interactions, supplementing their keen sense of smell, which is significantly superior to that of humans.

Regrettably, constant dog licking could be a sign of health problems. If a dog repeatedly licks its own fur, it is essential to pay attention. Though it usually represents grooming, excessive licking of a specific area might indicate pain and could cause hair loss. Besides, licking fur and inanimate objects could signal stress and a need to alleviate tension.

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