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Why Does a Dog Lick Your Face? 7 Reasons You Might Not Know

You may have wondered why pups lie on you or why dogs lick their noses but have you ever wondered why does a dog lick your face? While this can be an endearing display for some pet owners, others may be wondering what the reasons behind it could be.

Our pups usually show undying love and loyalty through non-verbal communication. This includes barking, wagging, and licking – you know the drill. And your face is not exempt from this.

This article will cover everything you need to know about your furry friend when it comes to this quirky quality. We’ll also uncover whether this licking behavior is normal or something to be monitored more closely. Let’s dive right in.

white dog licks woman's face

Is This Your Pet’s Way of Kissing You?

Yes, your hairy hound loves you and does not have the words to say so. But more than a display of affection, licking can be attributed to various factors. Some of these include obsessive-compulsive behavior, neediness for attention, instinct, and, believe it or not because you taste yummy.

So, while licking can be likened to kissing and whispering sweet nothings into your ear, your dog is trying to communicate a whole lot more when they slobber you with a kiss.

labrador licks woman's face

Why Does Your Dog Lick Your Face?

There are often a few mysteries surrounding our beloved doggos, including the reasons behind some of their licking behavior. It’s handy to understand the motivations behind these wet kisses so that we can best care for our pups.

These non-verbal communications are nothing new, including their slobbery face kisses. Our hounds are loyal companions, complete with their own social tendencies, responses, and inherited traits.

In order to best take care of our fur babies, we need to learn a little more about their ways. For instance, what exactly do they find so appealing about our faces?  

dog licks woman's face

1. They’re Craving Attention

Dogs are highly intelligent creatures, and just like humans, they have emotional needs. They just aren’t able to communicate verbally, so they instinctively ask for what they need in various other ways. You may come across a hound who likes to lick more than others, which is totally normal.

Not all dogs show love in the same way, and licking is not always an indication of how much they care about you. Acting out, misbehaving, or neediness in the form of licking can also be the result of boredom and loneliness.

So be sure to take note of it if your pup is licking you consistently, as they may simply be feeling neglected or need a little extra attention. Life easily gets in the way, but our pooches should not be overlooked.

dog licks small boy's face

2. They’re Tasting You

Your doggie likes the taste of your skin the same way they would want to lick a salty bone or anything interesting tasting, for that matter.

If you find that your hound just wants to lick you and be nearby when you’re eating, it could be because you taste pleasant, and so does your food. They are probably just waiting for a nibble.

3. They’re Navigating Their Environment

Bear in mind that dogs use their, sometimes overbearing but necessary, licking and sniffing to navigate their environment. You are a crucial part of their environment, so it’s only fair that they investigate you thoroughly. It is part of the ongoing investigation of where you last were and what you are eating next.

dog licks little girl's face

4. Following Instinct

Our beloved tail-waggers are often licking our faces because of an instinct passed on in their DNA. In nature, wild dogs such as wolves and coyotes would go hunting and, upon return, their pups lick their faces to ask them to regurgitate their food.

Though not in the wild fending for themselves, our domesticated doggos have likely inherited a similar instinct.

5. They’re Grooming You and Themselves

A dog licking your face, or any part of your body for that matter, can also be part of grooming. So if you don’t mind the slobber then enjoy the TLC from them. Your dog may also lick its animal housemate’s face and yours. Additionally, your dog may lick your hands or the closest body part if they can’t reach your face.

dachsund licks a person's face

6. Endorphin Release

Did you know that licking your face is pleasant for your pooch to do? It stimulates an endorphin release and makes them generally happier. It is also a natural, age-old bonding method. So if you don’t mind some slobber then there’s no harm in letting them go at it.

7. They May Have Anxiety

General anxiety in a dog is very real and stems from a number of issues. Dogs can develop anxiety from violent or traumatic experiences, unstable living situations, and fearing abandonment.

Excess energy is a lead cause of licking, so be sure to allow your hound to sniff, play, run and explore as frequently as possible. These high-energy activities are beneficial for both their health and happiness.

Although it is not so common, some dogs, unfortunately, suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. A worthy investment for your anxious pup is CBD dog treats to manage their general stress and assist in regulating sleeping patterns.

cute dog licks man's face

Relieving anxious behavior is among the many health benefits these supplements hold for dogs. They also alleviate inflammation, pain, and seizures. Alternatively, you can opt for CBD dog oil, as these will go a long way towards ensuring your pups are functioning at their best.

Is Licking Harmful to Humans?

There is a generous amount of bacteria in your pups’ mouth, so the rumor of it being significantly cleaner than a human mouth is not true. However, it is still nowhere near deadly to humans.

But be cautious when it comes to their tongues making contact with an open wound. Their saliva may stop the sore from drying and therefore encourage bacteria to thrive, which may result in a potential skin infection. If you don’t mind the odd lick and just want to be safe, you can apply some antibacterial sanitizer to the area after the slobbery embrace.

Being licked by your four-legged friend is actually an indication of submission and respect for your authority. They are instinctively showing their obedience toward you, their alpha leader. Now that does not sound particularly harmful, does it?

brown dog licks man's face why does a dog lick your face

More Worrisome Reasons for Excessive Licking

If your pooch’s licking is excessive or constant, start by ruling out any medical issues. Once your veterinarian has done a thorough check-up and addressed any discomforts or possible problems, you can consider behavioral issues from there.

If your fuzzy companion is licking their own paws excessively, for instance, then it is best to consider introducing a distraction. Suggest a playful and engaging activity that redirects them completely from the paw. This should be repeated each time they paw-lick to retrain their behavior with positive reinforcement.

Similarly, their face-licking could just be a bad habit or compulsion and can be sorted out in the same manner. Remember, our doggies are eager to learn and rely on us to parent them in the way that is best for their wellbeing. So don’t be afraid to nip any potential bad tongue lapping habits in the bud.

black dog licks' womans face

After all, if they are prone to face-licking, you may become rather unpopular with visitors or strangers who are less tolerant of this habit. One of the best distractions you can implement is an interactive dog puzzle to keep them busy. You can also invest in some dog toys or engage your pooch in trick training to stimulate them mentally.

 Harmless Licking – Don’t Be Alarmed

Remember that licking can also be a playful indication of affection and not a cause for worry.

Fear not, as your hounds’ licking should not always spark concern. Your dogs carry healing, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties in their saliva. This means they are possibly disinfecting any wounds or cuts when they lick themselves excessively.

Why Does a Dog Lick Your Face? 7 Reasons You Might Not Know 1golden retriever with tongue out panting” class=”wp-image-5244″/>
golden retriever

They are also instinctively using their tongues as useful tools for removing any foreign particles that may be stuck in their paws or fur. In the same way, this instinct could be directed at your face – they are very likely trying to soothe you in some way.

If you prefer not to be licked in your face by your doggie, then you can take the above-mentioned training and retraining route. Licking behavior will be reinforced if you give your pup attention every time they lick your face, which means they will likely repeat the behavior.

Similarly, if they lick you on your face or mouth while you’re eating and you respond by giving them a piece of food, then you are essentially giving them the go-ahead to do it next time.

white dog licks nose

Is an Allergic Reaction to Licking Normal?

You play with your furball, and within 10 minutes, you notice that everywhere you got licked is covered in raised, red bumps. Do not panic, as you wouldn’t be the first to experience a rash of sorts. This is simply your skin having an allergic reaction to the enzymes secreted in your dog’s saliva.

Simply take one antihistamine, and you’ll soon be on your merry way. However, if the allergies are severe, you might, unfortunately, need to avoid excessive kisses from your beloved pooch going forward.

cute dog licks its nose

Final Thoughts on Why Your Dog Licks Your Face

It is best to stay well-informed on all the behaviors and needs of your hound so you can identify possible harmful behaviors and how to approach them.

Now that you have a more in-depth understanding of the reasons your pup may take to lapping your face, you know what to look out for and how better to co-exist. All in all, you’re well on your way to enjoying happy, healthy adventures with your fur baby.

brown dog licks its nose

I covered all of the costs associated with writing this post on why does a dog lick your face. However, it does contain affiliate links. That means if you click through on some of the links in this article and end up making a purchase I may receive a small commission. It won’t affect the price that you pay. Just wanted to let you know.

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