Dogs lick for a variety of reasons. This also holds true for dogs licking other dogs or pets you may have. When it comes to licking their master, it is a learned behavior that is supported by the master.
At first glance, the act of a dog licking its owner appears only to suggest affection and familiarity. Maria Grazia Caloreveterinary surgeon, and expert in pet behaviour, explains. Slow and somewhat noisy licks characterise the special contact between a bitch and her young puppies.
They seem mystified, but there is a simple explanation. In the interest of our human friends, we will share the reasons. Convenience is the primary reason and all other reasons fall under that category.
Whether they are licking you, your furniture, the floors, themselves, or just flapping their tongues, there is usually a medical or behavioral explanation. Affectionate licking starts at birth. Mother dogs lick their pups to clean them up after feedings and stimulate them to urinate and defecate. From their earliest moments on Earth, dogs learn that licking is an act of love and caregiving.
Dogs may like to lick before they go to sleep because it stirs latent memories of when they were puppies. From the moment they're born until they're separated from their mother, puppies are subjected to vigorous maternal tongue washes. It stimulates their growth and keeps them clean.
The bottom line is that most of the time, dogs will lick their people as a sign of affection. You taste good, too! But much as barking can be, licking is also a multi-faceted tool that seems to play many roles in canine behavior and, consequently, tends towards many different interpretations.
You may have noticed that your female dog sometimes licks her vulva. Lots of pet owners consider this to be totally normal behavior and a sign of a neat and healthy dog, but others consider it to be a bad habit. Keep your dog happy and healthy by paying attention to this type of behavior.
If you have a dog that licks a lot, you might be left wondering why. If he is licking between his toes, for instance, it would be logical to check that area to see if there is a burr, a splinter or a sore that he is worrying. If he is licking his tail, or the base of his rump, you might consider a flea problem or an anal gland irritation. In addition, sometimes your dog licks your face in greeting or licks your arms just because.
Why do dogs lick their legs and feet obsessively, and what can you do about it? Q: I have a dog who licks her feet and legs too much. She is groomed every month, and I give her daily dietary supplements.
FTC Disclosure: If you make a purchase via a link on this page, I may receive a small commission, at no added cost to you. If a dog keeps licking himself excessively, it may mean that the dog is suffering from some underlying physical or emotional problems. For this reason, it is important for dog parents to understand some of the possible causes of excessive licking in dogs. If you cannot figure out why your dog keeps licking himself, it may be a good idea to take him to a vet for a check-up.