Why does a dog lick?


The dog cannot use language like people, so it needs other forms of non-verbal communication innate to its species. Why does your dog lick? animals use these forms of non-verbal communication to communicate with us.

In this sense, it is very important that dog owners know the forms of communication of animals. You have to know what they want to convey to us and be attentive to their gestures and movements .

Animals use their body to communicate with us , with the movement of their ears, their tails or their paws we can understand what they want to convey to us. We can also know how our dog feels based on the position of his body. In the same way, they use barking, howling or licking to convey different messages to us.

In this case, we are going to focus on licking, one of the forms of communication for dogs.

According to numerous studies, the licking of the dog could be similar to the kisses and caresses of people, but this is not always the case. From puppies, dogs associate licking with the tranquility that their mother transmits to them when they are with her.

But sometimes a lick from your dog can mean very different things, depending on the way he licks you, or the number of times he repeats the same action, it can have one meaning or another. This gesture is not always related to affection or calm.

It is very important to be attentive to your dog’s reactions, in order to understand what he wants to tell us.

6 reasons why a dog licks

When a dog licks us, it may want to show us different things, among which we highlight:

  1. Affection : by licking us suddenly or when we get home, the dog is showing us his affection. The animal tells us that it has missed us, and that it was looking forward to seeing us. It can also indicate tranquility, since the dog is a puppy, its mother uses licking to convey tranquility and calm in an affectionate way. When the animal licks the air it is telling you not to worry about anything because it is with you. As long as the animal is by your side, it will protect you, it is showing you its unconditional affection.
  2. Acceptance and submission : through its licks the dog tells us that it accepts us as leaders . Try to tell us that you follow our directions and agree to it. Dogs need a leader , a person to obey and who they will follow in everything. When your dog licks you, he also tells you that he is submissive to you and will happily do whatever you tell him.
  3. OOD : often we can use some creams or products in our body that attract the attention of the animal. The smell that these products give off catches their attention. The animal approaches, sniffs and licks us with the intention of sucking the product we have, mistaking it for food. In this case, they do not communicate anything to us, they are only carried away by the attraction that this smell generates in them. You have to be careful because the product we carry may contain some substance that damages your digestive system.
  4. To release stress : if your pet licks compulsively and repeatedly it can indicate that he has a high level of stress and needs to let go. In many cases, lack of exercise can lead to stress and fatigue. It is necessary for dogs to have an active life to release all the tension they accumulate during the day. These animals need to go outside at least three times a day and exercise.
  5. Call for attention:  if the dog repeatedly licks a part of its body, it may indicate that it has a wound. You can also try to warn us that you have something stuck and show us the area that bothers you. We must observe our animal well to verify that there is nothing that causes any harm. When the dog has a wound, it licks it continuously, it is his way of “healing” it. But this action is not advisable, since the only thing they can do is infect it more.  When your dog has a wound, it is best to cover it so that it cannot lick it .
  6. Gastrointestinal problem : if your dog begins to lick objects, furniture or plants desperately , it can indicate that something has made him wrong. It is his way of showing that he is not well . The safest thing is that after having that compulsive behavior for a while, you will have some vomit. Anyway, if your pet spends time in this state, it is best to see your veterinarian.

We must maintain good communication with the dog

As we can see, there is no single meaning for each gesture of the dog. Depending on the intensity with which it is performed, the length of time and the attitude shown by the dog, the same gesture can have very different meanings.

When you have been with your dog for a while, you will know what he wants to tell you at all times. For this, he only needs you to pay a little attention and observe his movements.

Your dog will know how to communicate with you. Spend time with him and spend great time with him during your day, he will appreciate it and together you will form a great team. Remember that if he has a strange attitude you should take him to see a specialist.


Divyesh Patel