Why Do Dogs Lick You?

You’re sitting on the couch relaxing after a long walk with your dog. Your dog comes over, so of course you start petting them. But as soon as you do, the licking begins. Suddenly, your dog is licking your face like a lollipop! Sound familiar? While this is totally normal behavior for your dog and others, you probably want to know – why do dogs lick you so much? Discover the top reasons why dogs lick you (and other humans) below. Plus, find out when licking may be a sign of a health issue in dogs that may need addressed.

Why do dogs lick you so much?

Dogs lick their human family members and friends for a number of reasons. Understanding why your dog licks you can help you better understand your furry friend. The reason for the licking is different for each dog and the circumstance. But here are some of the top reasons why dogs lick you:


The first way to understand a dog’s licking behavior is as a form of communication. While dogs can’t talk like humans do, they do communicate in many different ways. Licking is one such form of canine communication. For example, your dog might lick you to say, “I like you”, “I’m feeling nervous” or “I’m hungry”.

It can be difficult for us humans to interpret dog language. Whereas humans use language to communicate in specific terms, dogs communicate mostly through their body language and posturing1. So the next time your dog licks you, pay attention to their gestures to try and figure out what they might be telling you.


Speaking of communication, one reason why dogs communicate through licking is to show you their affection. Yes, your dog’s slobber all over you is probably a sign that they love you. They learn this when they are young; puppies lick their mothers and vice versa. So when your dog joins you on the couch and starts licking your face, it’s just their way of telling you that they love you and want your affection and approval.



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