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Why dogs love to lick?

 by lucy on 28 Jul 2017 |
3 Comment(s)
It can seem like a nuisance, but to our canine companions, licking you is most often a sign of affection. While it is a healthy behavior, licking can also indicate something’s wrong with your pet, making it important to pay attention when Fido’s lavishing you with a few too many kisses.
 
Licking comes naturally to our canine companions. A mother dog licks her pups during grooming, making this a form of affectionate interaction from the start of your pet’s life. Puppies will lick their mothers to draw their attention, too, and your dog may likewise lick you to get your attention and say “hello.” This sort of affectionate licking not only releases endorphins that make your dog feel good, but can help calm and comfort him. The behavior also can be used to indicate social rank, however. Dogs are pack animals by nature and lower-ranking individuals sometimes lick their superiors as an appeasing gesture, often in hopes of being offered communal prey. Your domesticated pet may lick you as an appeasing gesture, too, since you are his superior in the “pack.” Dogs will also use their tongues to tell you the water bowl is empty, they need to go outside, or to communicate some other message. Licking can help heal wounds, too, as canine saliva carries enzymes that help kill bacteria and a good licking can help clean out dirt from an injury. Finally, some dogs simply like the taste of salty skin or are sampling the food particles leftover after cooking.
 
Because licking is often an attention-grabbing behavior, your pet may learn to incorporate it more and more into his daily routine. While his kisses are generally a sign of affection, you pet can become annoying if he’s offering too many. To discourage slobbery behavior, simply ignore your pet or move to another room when he starts to lick you. If he begins licking while you’re petting him, stop immediately and walk away. With some time, your pet should learn that licking does not get him the attention he wants and will curb the behavior.
 
Though licking is a healthy habit, there are cases where it becomes a compulsive behavior indicating something is wrong. Obsessive licking can be a sign your dog is suffering from anxiety, boredom, pain or even skin allergies. If your he begins compulsively kissing, ensure your pet is getting plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. If the behavior continues, take him to the vet to rule out allergies or any other physical ailments. If anxiety is the source of his licking behavior, a canine behaviorist or certified dog trainer can help alter your dog’s actions to help him live a happier life.

Comment(s)3

Larry - Comment
Larry29 Jul 2017Reply
Hi. My Teddy is a Pekingese and he loves to give kisses he gives kisses at night he gives kisses in the morning and he gives kisses when we come home. Teddy is good dog, and I don't mind the kisses, on the other hand my wife can't stand it, but that don't stop him from trying . After she tells him no, he will try at least once every week. But mommy still says no.
judy - Comment
judy30 Jul 2017Reply
my concern is the opposite our rescue dog doesn't want to show much affection he doesn't like to be cuddled and never gives kisses I find it sad
Donna - Comment
Donna30 Jul 2017Reply
I have a morkie and he loves to kiss! Dad doesn't mind but I'm not a fan but I let him kiss as long as it's not in the mouth! I agree with all the reasons for licking . He needs to share his love too!

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