Why do Dogs Lick you? Top 5 Reasons for Dog Licking

Why do dogs lick you? Top 5 reasons for dog licking

Published on January 7th, 2020

It’s one of the most common signs of doggie affection, but have you ever wondered why your dog licks you?

Dog licking – you either love it, or you hate it!

Some people can’t stand getting doggie kisses (after all, dog do lick… err… other things that are slightly less than desirable!), whereas others enjoy the affection for their canine pals.

But what does it really mean when dogs lick you, and why do they do it?

What does it really mean when a dog licks you?

There are several different reasons why dogs like to lick you. Luckily for you, most of them are due to affection!

5 reasons why dogs lick you

  1. You taste good!

Dogs enjoy the taste of salty skin, or you might have some food particles left on your hands following a meal or snack you have just consumed.

  1. They are grooming you

Dogs naturally lick each other as part of the pack to help groom each other. As you are the leader of their pack, they may be trying to groom you too!

  1. To show affection

Ever wondered why your dog doesn’t lick strangers? It’s because they don’t know them – so why would they show them the same level of affection that they show you?

  1. To get your attention

Some dogs use licking as a way of getting attention. They may want you to play with them, they could be hungry or thirsty, or perhaps they just want to tickle their tummy!

  1. They have formed a habit

There doesn’t necessarily have to be a specific reason for dogs to lick people. They could have got into the habit of licking at a particular time of day, or when you are sat with them on the sofa relaxing.

Dog licking face of person

What does it mean when a dog licks your face?

Does your dog like to lick your face? Lucky you!

This is just an enhanced form of the above reasons why dogs lick you.

You may find that you dog likes to lick your hands but won’t lick your face. This can be out of respect, or because you have trained them not to lick your face.

Conversely, some dogs will try their upmost to get to your face to give you kisses.

If your dog is being a bit over-the-top in their efforts to lick your face, then you may need to do some behavioural training to let them know that they need to stop.

Related: How to stop your dog licking you

Slobbery dog licking owner's face

Why does my dog like to lick me all the time?

Do you have a dog that likes to lick you all of the time?

It’s natural for different dogs to show different inclinations to lick you.

One of my dogs will lick your hand at any given opportunity, whereas you should count yourself lucky if you get kisses from the other one as he does it much more rarely, and only to a few people that he really trusts.

I’m sat on the sofa right now typing on my laptop and my kiss-happy dog is trying to lick my hand as I’m typing.

Unfortunately, I type a little bit fast for him, so he isn’t having much success!

French bulldog dog staring lovingly at owner saying 'You're the best'

Do dogs understand when you kiss them?

For some people, it’s a natural response to kiss a dog back when it licks them, particularly if they are liking your face.

But do dogs understand what you mean when you kiss them?

Dogs can certainly feel you kissing them, but they may not understand why you are doing it, especially when they are puppies.

The human way of kissing is a foreign notion to a dog, so they need to learn what you mean.

After time though, they will understand that you kissing them is a form of affection and they are likely to reciprocate with their own little versions of kisses – aka licking you!

Labrador retriever saying 'I love you' to his owner

Should I worry about my dog licking me?

Nope! As explained above, licking is a perfectly natural action for your dog to take.

If anything, you should feel privileged that they trust you enough to want to shower you with affection.

Just sit back, relax and enjoy your lovely little doggie kisses!