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Why Do Dogs Lick

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Why does my dog lick?

When dogs lick, their brain releases endorphins which in return makes them feel happy and secure. This goes back to their mom licking them when they are young. Many dogs also lick because they were praised for it at some point and now do it to get that reaction from you.

There are many answers to why do dogs lick and they all have different explanations:

  • Dogs lick people usually because that is how they show affection for us. As stated above, when a dog licks he or she releases endorphins that make them happier. Dogs also lick people because they like the person’s salty skin. Especially after a good workout!
  • Dogs lick faces usually out of respect to the older dog. Sometimes it could be because the younger pup is just hungry. Puppies lick their mothers’ lips to stimulate a regurgitation reflex so they can eat the food their mothers vomit. There are also a lot of scents around the mouth so the younger dog can get information about where the other dog has been and what they have been up to. Just keep an eye out on your pup as some older dogs do not like getting their faces “washed”.
  • Dogs lick their paws if there is something that is bothering their paws. Look over the paw for any irritations, blisters or anything stuck in their paws. Licking paws can be a sign of an allergic reaction to the food or the environment.  Dogs also lick their paws out of boredom (so exercise your puppy!!) or out of obsessive compulsive behavior or anxiety. Talk to your vet or a certified animal behaviorist about these behaviors.
  • Dogs lick other dogs because their mom used to lick them so they have carried it into their adulthood. There is some speculation that dogs can feel when the other dog is not feeling well and will try to comfort him or her.
  • Dogs lick their bedding out of boredom! You need to stimulate your puppy as much as you are able to. Some bed or toy licking can be a sign of behavioral problems like obsessive compulsive behavior or anxiety.
  • Dogs lick their lips when they are scared or anxious! Pay close attention to other signs like a tucked tail, whale eyes (a lot of white around the eyes) and the dog or puppy not looking comfortable!