9 Reasons Why Dogs Lick What They Lick

Hilary Gowan

Journalist

"Why is the dog licking? Right from birth that is how the mother communicates with her new puppies, how she stimulates them to start breathing and how she cleans them when they are born, so it's very important to the survival of puppies," writes Victoria Stilwell, a noted dog behavior expert and author of dog-related works. So you see, licking is an almost inseparable part of a canine's/dog's/doggo's/pupper's life.

However, they do an awful lot of licking and many of it is still mysterious to us. You don't have those issues with the cat – cats barely lick anything but themselves - but dogs lick every day. So what are the specifics of doggie licking habits and where do they come from?

1

Licking your feet

source Dogs like salty stuff, so they like the saltiness of our sweat, especially when it is combined with our smell. And if they're liking your feet after you get out of the shower, they're doing it for moisture.

2

Licking the couch

source They might be bored or doing it to comfort themselves (think of the couch as a huge pacifier), or there might be traces of human oils and food on it.

3

Licking your hands

source It's a straight up display of affection.

4

Licking other dogs

source This is similar to a doggy handshake, so that's how they greet each other. Sometimes, it's also a sign of submission. If a scolded dog licks you, it's showing you that it is submitting to your will.

5

Licking the air

source Dogs have an organ in their mouths that can help identify smells (similarly how the snakes do it, but not as developed), so the dog might be using it to boost their sensory data.

6

Licking their paws

source They only lick them when something's wrong and they want to clean it away. If you can't identify what's happening and the dog keeps licking the paws, you might have to take it to the vet to check for allergies.

7

Licking your face

source According to Stilwell, licking releases pleasurable endorphins in dogs. It brings feelings of pleasure and comfort, and is basically a doggie display of affection.

8

Licking their butts

source From simple cleaning up to lice to even medical conditions – you have to gouge whether the dog is doing it too often, and then go to a vet!

9

Bonus: how to stop them from licking so much

source If the dog is licking you too often, you can distract it with a toy or something. If the dog is licking itself excessively, you will have to take it to the vet!

Tagged: love, dogs, pets, important, vet, why, licking,

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