Everybody knows that puppy love and affection can often come in the form of licks. In fact, we often refer to these licks as “kisses”. While often times, these licks are just that, there can sometimes be other reasons for your dog’s persistent licking. In this article we will explore some of the reasons why your dog won’t stop licking.
Probably the most common reason your dog is licking you is for genuine expression of affection. Amongst puppies, licking can signify submission. Mother dogs often lick their puppies to groom and clean them. When a dog becomes part of your family, they sometimes take on the role of caregiver for the pack. This will lead to licking as a way to help clean and comfort family members and friends.
Face Licking May Mean They’re Hungry
When puppies are little, they are often conditioned to lick their mothers’ faces to ask for some regurgitated food. So, often times if your dog is running up to you and licking all over your face, they may be hungry. Interestingly enough, almost all of your dog’s communicative signs are developed in the first few days of their life through interaction with their mother and siblings.
This may sound strange, but the average human’s skin is loaded with salt. We naturally excrete salt from our pores when we sweat in order to regulate our body temperature and maintain homeostasis. Unlike us, dogs do not sweat. They regulate their body temperatures by panting, among other things. Just like us though, dogs crave salt. In fact, it is actually an important component of their diets. So, as strange as it is, dogs actually often lick our skin to get some of that salty taste. It is not unlike a horse or a cow coming across a salt lick in their natural environments. If your dog won’t stop licking there are some methods discussed further down in the article.
Can I get sick from my dog licking me?
The short answer is no. Although dog saliva can potentially contain some harmful bacteria, it shouldn’t be an issue for the surface of your skin. The only potentially harmful situation would be if a dog licked an open wound on your body. This could grant some of those bacterias access to your immune system. With that being said, it would still be extremely unlikely that you would actually get sick from this. Our immune systems are pretty strong, you know!
How do I teach my dog to stop licking me?
If your pup continues excessively licking you, there are ways to get them to stop. Most dog trainers recommend ignoring the behavior completely. By not reacting, you are showing your dog that it may be time to quit it. If they still persist, you may even have to remove yourself behind a closed door. Over time, most dog’s will catch the hint and stop the licking.
In summation, there are many different reasons why your dog may be licking you. Most of the time, they are just exciting to be hanging out with you, and it’s nothing to worry about at all! Over everything, your dog will react and take cues from your emotions and body language. They can usually pick up on the appropriate times for displays of affection.
For other articles on dog behavior, check out our tagged articles, including this one on dog’s eating habits!