Why Do Dogs Lick?

All dogs lick. Maybe your dog licks your hand lovingly as you pet him. Or, maybe he can taste the leftover particles of that piece of pizza you just finished. Dogs lick for many reasons – some good and some not so good.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons dogs lick:

Mmmm…something tastes good!

Does your dog hang around the kitchen when you’re making dinner? Or, maybe he waits eagerly at your elbow when you’re having a snack? Dogs will lick just because they like the taste of something – like that spaghetti sauce that just slipped to the floor from the stove. Keep an eye on your dog, however, because sometimes that food he’s licking – like the chocolate sauce that has trickled onto the kitchen counter or on the floor – might, in fact, hurt him.

Why Do Dogs Lick

Time for grooming.

The type of dog breed you have really determines the type of grooming and how frequently your dog should be groomed. A long haired dog, for example, may require frequent grooming from a professional groomer. A short haired dog, on the other hand, may only need brushed several times a week to keep his coat healthy and shiny. Dogs also lick themselves to keep themselves clean.

I love you!

Licking is a way for dogs to show their affection to those whom they love. Does your dog jump up and lick your face every time you walk through the door after a long day away? Or, maybe your dog cuddles up close to you when you’re feeling blue or sick and licks you in an attempt to make you feel better. Licking is a popular way for dogs to communicate with others – both human and canine.

However, if you don’t like it when your dog licks you, you can easily curb that behavior. Every time he begins to lick you, stand up and move away from him. With time he will begin to associate licking with you leaving.

I am soooo bored.

All dogs show boredom in their own ways. Some dogs may dig. Others may become destructive. Still others may begin to excessively lick and bite their paws and other body parts. If you don’t know why your dog is licking, could it be because he’s bored? Does he have enough to keep him mentally and physically stimulated every day? Does he get plenty of walks? Do you give him plenty of attention? If not, try giving him more toys, taking longer walks, and spending more time with him to see if the licking slows down.

Maybe it’s time to see the vet.

A dog may begin to excessively lick himself, perhaps maybe the same area compulsively. Compulsive licking could be a red flag that something is wrong with your dog, especially if you have ruled out boredom and the other common causes of excessive licking. Excessive licking can result in bare spots in your dog’s fur. Make an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible to pinpoint the reason for the compulsive licking.

Why do you think your dog licks?