As a new dog owner, your pupper’s licking habits may feel cute but also strange. To a point that you ask yourself – why does my dog lick me so much?

Dogs will lick their pups to groom them. So, even before the pups open their eyes, they’re familiar with the calming sensation of being groomed and licked by mom! 

When a puppy licks your hands, you naturally give it more attention and treats. So, they will repeat it to get back rubs, cuddles, and food from you! 

What Does It Mean When a Dog Licks Your Face? 

Licking is an instinctive behavior for a dog. They show affection by licking people’s hands and faces. Your dog may lick your face or other body parts simply for pleasure. Our skin and sweat contain salt, which some dog breeds find surprisingly enjoyable! 

Another interesting fact about licking is that our pups want to make sure that we’re clean! You’ll often find your Golden Retriever licking its own belly, forearm, and paws. They do it to their parents, siblings, or littermates too! 

Moving forward, licking is a natural behavior that dogs adapt to show respect to bigger dogs, especially the pack leader. Puppies think of you as one of their own and will try to calm you down if you show signs of anger or distress. 

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The Main Reasons Why Dogs Lick People So Much 

Dogs often lick their mother’s mouth when they’re hungry. They sometimes lick just for the fun of it! 

But what does it mean when your dog licks you a lot? It means that your pug is simply “working hard” to get your attention or its favorite beef jerky. 

To help you understand why your dog loves to lick, we’ve put together five reasons below. Have a look!

To Get Affection 

Does your pup lick your face and wag its tail when it sees you in the morning? That’s awesome! It means he loves you a great deal and can’t wait to spend time with you! Many dog breeds lick their owners to express their love, loyalty, and appreciation.

Golden Retriever, Poodle, Maltese, Pug, and Pitbull are popular dog breeds that enjoy licking and cuddling their owners. At the end of a hard day, getting showered with love is a fulfilling experience as long as you don’t mind a little dog saliva!

A Form of Greeting

Dogs have an instinct to lick their human parents as if they were greeting them. It’s in a dog’s nature to slobber and constantly wag its tails when it sees you. Can you blame him? Dogs lick things all the time. Pitbulls lick us because they naturally produce more slobber than other breeds. So, the next time your dog licks your face, take it as his way of saying hi!

Communication and Grooming 

Dogs can sense your body language and emotions. A stressed dog owner is often relieved by an affirmative ‘boop” or a kiss from their pet poodle. It’s how a pup communicates with its family members. 

If you’re a proud parent of a Chihuahua, you know about its sweet, affectionate disposition. He may lick you far more often than other dogs. 

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Additionally, a dog feels that you need to be groomed like a dog to stay clean. So, licking could also mean that your Lab, Retriever, or German Shepherd is trying to keep you clean. 

Respect and Submission  

Our poodles start licking our faces in a frenzy when we come home from work. If you can relate, it can only mean one thing. Your pup loves and respects you, not from fear but from his heart! 

Licking is a common behavior for a dog to convey its respect and subservience to its master. A good family dog will always save you a seat, sit straight when you’re talking to him, and allow you to touch his food and toys.

The Pup Just Wants Food

Licking is often an affectionate behavior among Retriever, Poodle, and Dachshund puppies. Young dogs like to lick their mother’s mouth as a sign of endearment, but also when they’re feeling peckish!

Whenever your dog gets hungry, it will follow you and possibly lick you until you give it food!

On a similar note, many dogs like the taste of our sweat. So, you might not like your own scent without deodorant; but your dog sure does. He will prove it by licking your face, ears, and hands as many times as he can.  

Should I Let My Dog Lick My Face?

There’s no harm in letting your dog lick your face, leg, or ear as long as you’re both clean! For the most part, dog saliva is harmless for unbroken skin. However, many dog owners with a poor immune system could get sick from the bacteria in the saliva.

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Bacteria can also enter your skin through a cut or an open wound. Take your dog to the vet every few months and have him checked for diseases. It’s also a good practice to wash your face and hands after a pup licks you! 

Now, the question is  — what to do when you’re not a fan of your dog’s face-licking? If your dogs start licking your skin, especially when they’re hungry, don’t give the pup any treats. It will condition their habit and gradually get the licking behavior out of their system!

What Excessive Licking Means for Dogs 

Licking is not only a dog’s love language but also its instinctive behavior. Every pup licks its human parents from time to time. 

You might want to know when your pup is being affectionate and when he’s trying to tell you something. 

Even though dogs love to lick, keep an eye out for their stress factors — new faces, loud noises, strange objects, and loneliness!  

Dogs may also lick because they’re nervous, scared, bored, or in pain. If there’s something bothering him, he will often lick your face to try to get your attention. 

If your dog’s face-licking is off the charts, you can easily discourage the behavior by walking away. 

Bottom Line 

Dogs love to eat, sleep, play and walk. But what they love more than anything in the world is you! So, when it comes to expressing affection, love, and care, your dog simply can’t hold back! 

Licking is completely natural, and it indicates life-long bonding and respect. We hope we answered your question — why does my dog lick me so much? Thanks for reading!