Trying to get your dog not to lick you is much like trying to get them not to wag their tail. Licking is what they do. 

Your dog’s desire to lick is ingrained in their DNA and they, like toddlers, explore the world with their mouth. But there are some instances in which licking can be excessive or a result of a bigger problem (aside from the wet dog smooch on your face). 

The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center are to answer your question, “Why does my dog lick me so much?” We hope to give you some insight into this slobbery behavior and when it can become more than just an occasional show of affection.

Reasons Behind Why Dogs Lick People

Any behavior your dog exhibits has more than one answer for why they do it. Like digging, barking, and sniffing other dogs’ hindquarters, licking is a normal canine behavior in moderation. 

Some of the following causes of why your dog wants to slobber all over you include:

  1. They are showing you affection. Licking is a natural instinct tof safety and affection that a puppy first feels from their mother. It is a way to form a bond at a young age, releasing endorphins that cause a dog to relax and feel safe. Your dog is carrying over this tendency to reassure their human family through these doggie kisses and licks.
  2. They want something. Since your dog can’t just verbalize what they want, like that favorite treat in the jar or their dinner, they may resort to licking. Licking gets your attention and, even if you say “no” or scold your pet, it still garners attention. If you want to deter the licking, ignore or redirect the behavior. You can also just get up and walk away.
  3. You’re tasty! Your pet may want to lick you because you taste good. Our skin is covered with sweat, bacteria, and other substances we come into contact with. Human sweat contains salt, so it’s not surprising your pet equates you with a potato chip, or perhaps they are saying “you need a bath, human!”
  4. They are anxious or fearful. Obsessive licking can indicate a need for your pet to self-soothe fear or other unpleasant emotions. If your dog licks you when they experience a trigger that frightens them, such as noise, strangers, other dogs, etc, they may be alleviating anxiety. Certain dogs are prone to obsessive-compulsive disorder that manifest as chronic behavior like licking, chewing, digging, or pacing.
  5. They have allergies. If your pet is chronically licking on you, chances are they are doing it to themself too. Observe your pet’s behavior to see if they are biting at or licking their paws, feet, or other parts of the body. Allergies often show up as chronic scratching and licking in dogs. Do a quick check of their skin and coat condition to see if there are any signs of problems.

Why Does My Dog Lick Me so Much?

Dogs also lick for reasons that have to do with medical issues. Licking, as a mechanism, can help to sooth dogs dealing with illness and pain. Repetitive or stereotypic behavior like licking generally relays to us that a pet is suffering from pain, boredom, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

If you have noticed that your dog’s licking has been excessive, please contact our team for an examination. We can answer the question of, “Why does my dog lick me so much?” We can also offer some solutions to keeping your dog engaged in less sloppy behavior.