Why Do Dogs Lick?
Licking is an instinct in many animals. This includes dogs, which are introduced to licking as soon as they’re born since their mothers will lick them to clean or comfort them, but they also use licking as a communication tool, telling their babies when to answer nature’s call.
Dogs also have incredibly sharp senses of smell. And when they’re drawn to a strong scent, such as food or a body part, they’ll sample it for a salty taste.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Owners?
It sounds natural for dogs to lick food if they’re hungry or lick themselves to get clean. But why do they also lick humans so much?
If you have other pets that live with your dog, you’ll notice that your dog also licks them, not just you. That’s because dogs lick others to show affection, strengthen their bond, or even grab their attention.
However, dogs can also excessively lick when anxious, as we’re about to explain in a moment.
Dogs lick each other for many reasons, including playing with each other and showing affection. So it’s no surprise they carry on licking their loved ones when they get older.
Many dog breeds get lonely when their owners or closest buddies aren’t playing with them for a few hours. So if you spend some time working at your desk every day, your dog might lick you to grab your attention.
Lastly, dogs can lick you and anything else in their way when they feel anxious. That’s because licking releases endorphins: a group of hormones that regulates their brains and nervous systems to calm them down.
Health Safety With Children
It may look cute, but sadly, you shouldn’t let your dogs lick your children. Dogs’ mouths often contain germs that can easily pass to humans. There’s no significant concern for healthy adults, but for kids (and adults with health problems), it’s an unnecessary risk.
Which Breeds of Dogs Lick the Most?
Now let’s have a quick rundown of the five dog breeds that lick the most.
One of the most popular dog breeds also happens to be one of the fiercest lickers. And it’s no surprise when you consider how friendly and affectionate labrador retrievers are, despite their ability to display aggression in dire times.
Golden retrievers are very friendly dogs that like to enjoy their time with good company. They also like to please their owners and leave an impression on them, which is why they lick to show affection or when they’re craving attention.
Pugs seem to lick their owners as if they’re a delicious platter of fresh food, and that’s because they’re crazy for love and affection. Moreover, pugs enjoy salty flavors, so their tongues often gravitate toward their owners’ faces, hands, and feet.
Although pit bulls have developed a reputation for being aggressive, they only do this to protect their loved ones, as they’re very wary of danger. In their comfort zones, pit bulls love to cuddle and lick their owners to re-enforce their bond.
German shepherds are big and strong on the outside but warm and fluffy on the inside. They often lick their owners to play with them, show some love, or get attention. They also like to lick themselves for pleasure, so if you’re nearby, they could involve you in the fun.
Which Breeds of Dogs Lick the Least?
Some people don’t enjoy it when their dogs lick them. So if you want a dog that doesn’t lick as much, you’ll have to look for less affectionate breeds since this is why dogs lick so much in the first place.
Sighthounds are some of the popular dogs that don’t lick as much, so that includes greyhounds, whippets, Irish wolfhounds, and Italian greyhounds. These dogs are also affectionate but in their own calm way.
When Is Dog Licking a Problem?
As we’ve established, it’s normal for dogs to lick a lot. But if they start licking themselves excessively, even when you provide them with another stimulus, it might be a sign of infection or allergies. And if they lick you too much, that could mean they’re too anxious or depressed.
How to Fix a Dog Licking Problem
If you suspect your dog has a medical issue, it’s best to book an appointment with your vet to get it sorted out as soon as possible. In the meantime, ensure your dog’s diet is healthy for them and, if possible, supplement it with healthy items like fish oil and multivitamins.
The Bottom Line
To wrap up, you should be happy that your dog is licking you since it’s a way for them to show you their love or invite you to play a game. And if you reciprocate your dog’s licks with positive reinforcement, you’ll build an invaluable bond with them.
Just be on the lookout for signs of illness in your dog. For example, if they’re only licking all the time and refuse to play or eat to keep licking, then it’s time to call your vet.
Featured Image by Roman Michael Gottfried from Pixabay