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What Does It Mean When Dog Licks You?


You are probably well aware of the behavior of dogs who slobber around your face, hands, mouth, and feet. The licking behavior in dogs is common, and this might be due to your appreciation for them, you are feeding them, and they do so in response. Also, they salivate you when they want to honor you with a warm welcome. If you want to know what it means when dogs lick you, this piece of writing is for you.

What Does It Mean When Dog Licks You?

Licking is a normal behavior in dogs when they want to express their feelings. In many dogs, licking is done for grooming purposes, and also they perform licking to establish a bond with the humans and other dogs.

Dog Licks

Sometimes, the dog wants to grab your attention, show you its affection, and demonstrate empathy. In addition, if the dog is excessively licking you, it means a lot of frustration and anxiety and symbolizes discomfort. If you feel any of these things are present in your dog, you may contact the vet for better advice and treatment for this abnormal behavior.

Licking Is Dogs’ Nature

Licking is not a new behavior that a dog adopts after a certain period of its age; rather, it is present in its instincts. Dogs usually lick each other and their bodies to groom, show emotional reactions, and want to communicate.

Dog mothers usually lick their cubs; this way, they can teach them many things, such as their toileting habits, to encourage them to do a task and keep them clean. Similarly, puppies also lick each other to keep them clean; it is like dogs to show affection by licking.

Primary Reason For Licking

When two humans meet, they shake their hands to greet each other. Similarly, when we meet our dog, we usually stroke it with a hand. Now, we also use our hands to groom ourselves, but the dogs show the behavior of licking because they use their tongues for grooming like we are using our hands.

We usually use our hands to understand what is happening around us. Similarly, dogs use their tongues and mouths to identify what is in the environment. Dogs also lick many people and other dogs to judge behavioral temperaments such as moods.

For instance, dogs lick us because they want to judge our mood and greet us. Dogs also use their mouths to carry certain things and objects, such as prey, balls, and toys.

A sign of Empathy

It is well known that dogs lick because they enjoy this activity. In addition, it also gives a lot of comfort to the dogs. When your dog is concerned about you, it tries to lick you. Thus it helps the dogs to get a soothing and comfortable feeling. Of course, our dogs are quite empathetic towards us.

In many studies, researchers found that dogs love to lick their owners because sometimes they just want to hum and talk without anything else. Many people think that licking is just a behavior of dogs, but many hidden things are associated with this act like dogs understand our feelings.

Attention Seeking

When a dog licks you, it might be getting your attention as it adopts a certain way of seeking attention from its owners. When a dog licks its master, it will get a stroke or a gentle talk. The dogs demand this positive attitude, encouraging them as their owners give them proper attention. Due to the buck-up from the owners, the dogs usually get happy, and they keep this action in the future as well.

When Licking Becomes A Problem?

Licking is a natural part of a dog’s personality and behavior. Some dogs prefer licking a lot, while others do this activity occasionally. But if your dog suddenly starts licking you a lot, then you may understand that something odd is happening with your dog. It might be a psychological or medical issue your dog is going through.

Moreover, frequent licking may indicate a health or anxiety problem. For instance, an allergy, injury or arthritis might cause a boost in licking by the dog. Many dog parents feel concerned about the behavior of their dogs when they frequently kiss them, so they are advised to take their dogs to vets or a behaviorist.

How To Stop Licking In Dogs?

There are many ways which you adopt to discourage the frequent and increased licking in dogs, which are mentioned below:

Move Away

Try moving the area of your body that is being licked away from your dog rather than paying it either positive or negative attention. Don’t say anything, don’t look them in the eye, just be neutral. Try stepping away from your dog or leaving the room altogether if this doesn’t help. This should gradually convey to them that it’s not something you appreciate.


Another useful way is to distract the canine by giving it some toys or puzzles.


To stop them from licking you, try teaching them to sit or do an activity that will earn you attention and affection. Examples include giving you their paw or rolling over.


To relieve stress or expend any excess energy that might be focused on licking you, keep your dog active and give them lots of exercises.

Be Consistent

Being constant is important. Your dog will become confused if you communicate with the dog differently. Tell your dog what you want to do and what you do not really consistently and straightforwardly.

Always seek guidance from a behaviorist or veterinarian if you notice your dog licking you repeatedly, especially if it’s a new behavior or becomes a problem and makes you feel uneasy.


Licked by the dog up to a small amount is liked by many dog owners. Many reasons and underlying medical factors persuade the dogs to lick their owners. If you feel stressed by the licking behavior of your canine, you can adopt certain ways to stop it. For instance, distraction, training, exercise and ignoring your dog when it licks you are some of the ways you should consider seriously.



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