Why is my dog licking so much?

Discover why your dog may be licking you, other dogs, or themselves too much. The most common reasons are love, submission, or possibly behavioral or medical condition.

Why is my dog licking so much?

Do you ever wonder why your dog licks you all over you when you come home from work?

Dogs lick their owners, other dogs, and themselves for various reasons, including love, submission, and possibly a medical condition. 

In this article, we cover the most common reasons your dog may be giving you canine kisses.

Why is my dog licking so much?

Dogs lick you because you taste good.

Our sweaty, salty skin may seem disgusting to us, but it can be fascinating to dogs, using their senses to explore the world around them, and feel soothed by the scent of their loving owners. 

Dogs steal our socks and underwear for the same reason. 

Combined with the resulting attention and endorphins, a quick dog lick is tasty and rewarding for our pets.

Dogs lick you because they’re rewarded for it

Consider the last time your dog licked you and your reaction. 

Did you reach down and give him a scratch? Offer him something to eat? Even say something to him like, “would you please stop licking me?!”? 

These actions are all positive reinforcements, demonstrating to your dog licking you will result in some reward and encouraging him to repeat the behavior in the future. 

In addition, when a dog licks, endorphins (the “feel-good” hormone) are released, increasing the reward.

Dogs lick as a show of submission

If your dog licks another dog’s muzzle, he may be licking to show submission.

Wild puppies lick their mother’s mouth to show acceptance of authority and signal her to regurgitate the meat she’s hunted.

Then, it makes sense that domesticated dogs would use this instinctive behavior when interacting with superior dogs (or humans).

Dogs lick because of a potential behavior issue or medical condition

Dogs that lick the same spot repeatedly may be suffering from an issue that requires professional help, such as anxiety or OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder).

Dogs licking their feet constantly may be trying to relieve an itch caused by allergies.

Dogs licking their anal area excessively may have allergies or need their anal glands expressed.

Speak with your vet if you’ve noticed that your dog is licking themselves, a person, or an object excessively. Your vet may be able to recommend medical treatment or a dog behavior specialist.

Be grateful that your dog appears to enjoy your company and expresses his affection in this species-typical manner in the majority of cases. He loves you and respects you. Take pleasure in the present!

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Me and my chocolate brown Miniature Dachshund, Pippin, biting my nose!

About Me

Hi, I'm Chris, the author, and owner of SmallDogOwner.com

When my three miniature dachshunds aren't running me ragged, I'm writing articles that answer the questions I've had since becoming a dog Dad.