Why do dogs lick our faces?


Some of the most recurring questions when we talk about our dog's behavior are, why does my dog ​​lick me? Is it normal for my pet to lick me so much? My dog ​​licks me a lot!

If your dog licks you excessively, it can be uncomfortable! We tell you why your dog licks you so much.

Let's start at the beginning, why does your dog lick so much?

In the language of dogs, licks are a kind of greeting, it is also a way to show affection and even submission. We can say that licking for them is a habit they acquire from puppies when they are with their mother, and as a child, when bringing food, the mother usually lets her mouth lick, a habit that remains like A way of saying "hello."

Is it advisable to fight your pet if he licks you? Do not! If you scold your pet for his licks, he will feel very confused! And is that Your dog will not understand what he is doing wrong.

My dog ​​licks me a lot, can I correct it?

(Photo via: canine training)

As we mentioned before, Don't fight your pet for licking! It is best to teach your dog to do another activity totally incompatible with licking. Another recommendation is that it is far from your face! As you know ... It is one of the areas that most like to lick.

Another thing you can do, is getting used to greeting you, and then being close to you, but without continuing to lick you.

There is an advice that you can follow, and that is provide your pet with a toy that can bite. If your pet licks you excessively, It may be because of anxiety! If you offer an activity that entertains you, you will get me not to lick you or visitors.

What can you do if your dog licks you excessively?

Actually those of us who judge whether our dog licks us or not, is us. For our dog, it's something completely natural! However, you can train your dog to lick you less frequently than the current one (especially if he licks compulsively).

If your pet has some kind of obsessive-compulsive behavior, do not hesitate to ask your usual veterinarianIf your dog licks itself excessively, it could cause skin irritation, and even injuries!

Kisses, in the language of dogs

It is common for a dog to greet its owner trying to lick his face. But, if you look, it also does the same when it greets certain dogs in the park. That is why licks in the mouth and face can be described as Kisses within what would be the canine language. After all, they fulfill a function similar to that of the kisses that people give each other to greet us.

Inheritance of the wolf

Dogs lick our faces because it is a behavior inherited from the wolf.

Surely you know that the dog descends from the wolf. That is, wolves are the wild ancestors of our domestic dogs today. Dogs would come to be - with many nuances - domesticated wolves.

Although the evolutionary relationship between the wolf and the dog does not imply that a dog and a wolf are the same (much less!), It does help us explain some of the behaviors of domestic dogs.

Domestication produced changes in the physical appearance (morphology) and in the behavior of the dog with respect to its wild predecessor, but some behaviors have been maintained or transformed slightly over time.

In wolf packs, when a wolf has wolverines, they lick the corners of her mother's lips to stimulate the regurgitation of food. It is her way of asking the lactating female to regurgitate the food she keeps in her stomach.

This, which may seem a somewhat unpleasant act, is actually part of the process of changing puppies' diet, from liquid (breast milk) to solid. It is natural.

Ritualized canine language

In adulthood, both wolves and dogs continue to mimic some of the behaviors they had as puppies and use them as signs of affection or appeasement. It is the case of licks in the mouth.

It is part of what is called “Ritualized canine language”: a message that fulfilled a certain function (in this case, a nutritional function) during the puppy stage it acquires a new function during adulthood.

It is a ritualized social language that our dogs also use with us, since they consider us part of their social group, of their “human herd”.

Dogs lick our faces as a sign of affection or appeasement

We can interpret the licks on the face and mouth of our dogs as authentic "Canine kisses" why are Signs of affection and greeting. We could say that licks are a sign that our dogs love us.

But, on the other hand, we must not forget that dogs also lick the corners of their lips as a sign of appeasement, to calm the opponent after a dispute or a conflict. Or, simply, as a sign of submission to make it clear to another dog that they don't want to be any threat to him but quite the opposite.

With us, our dogs also use the licks as a signal of appeasement. That is why many times they try to lick us right after we have scolded them because they have done something they shouldn't. They are requesting make peace.

Dogs lick us and that has benefits for our health

The microbiota is the set of microorganisms that normally live in our body. Several studies have shown that the composition of the microbiota of dog owners is different, and more varied, than that of other people.

That is, the fact that dogs lick us may have certain advantages for our health. According to psychiatry professor Charles Raison, "Dogs can work as probiotics, improving the health of the bacteria that live in our intestines. ”

Of course, we must be careful with the spread of intestinal parasites that our dogs may have. For that, just follow the periodic internal and external deworming guidelines set by the veterinarian.

Alba Benítez, CEO at

Different meanings of lam>

There are many reasons that can lead your dog to lick you without stopping, all this is summarized in a sample of love and affection that feels towards you:

  1. Love you: Although we tend to believe that dogs lick us as a kiss, the truth is that they do not perceive it in this way. However, they know that we like it and therefore tend to lick us. Offer him a caress to show him that you love him too.
  2. Fear: A careful and weak lick can mean fear, fear or submission if accompanied by ears or low tail. They usually show this behavior when they are scared, in a fight or when they are really uncomfortable.
  3. Hungry: If when you open a plastic bag or similar you notice that your dog licks its snout excessively while it opens its mouth and looks at you, the meaning is very clear: your dog is hungry and wants you to feed him.
  4. Cleans you: Dogs are usually clean animals. The mother grabs her pups as soon as she is born and continues to do so later until the adult stage arrives in which the dogs groom each other as a sign of affection.
  5. They look for contact: If after he licks you you give him a caress, he interprets it as a tool that he will use to receive your pampering.
  6. Exploration: Dogs often lick what they don't know as a form of research. Remember that your senses, and especially that of smell, are much more developed than that of people.
  7. Wakes you up: If you are sick or simply want to go for a walk, your dog is very likely to wake up with naughty licks all over his face.
  8. Lick the air: It may be one of the signs of calm. The dog tries to be friendly and tolerant of a new stimulus, be it a person, a dog or an unknown object. It is a way of expressing that he is calm.
  9. He licks up and turns around: in this case the dog is trying to say that he feels uncomfortable about something you are doing or what is happening. Search for personal space.
  10. Overly lick: Your dog is restless, nervous and may even feel like vomiting. When you watch your dog licking without stopping, something happens.

Remember that the dog's body language is very extensive and we assure you that it may surprise you if you work to understand him. Keep browsing Expert Animal to discover everything about your pets and forge a unique relationship based on mutual understanding.

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And the cats? Why do cats lick?

If you liked to discover why dogs lick, don't hesitate to continue browsing by Animal Expert to discover why cats lick. And the cats, although somewhat more independent, also want to show their love and express their emotions to those who care for and protect them.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why do dogs lick?, we recommend that you enter our Curiosities section of the animal world.