Why Does My Dog Lick My Face?

Why Does My Dog Lick My Face?

Sep 20, 2021
9 min

It is very common to see dogs licking someone’s face, especially their owners. Because they are unable to speak like humans, the best way for them to communicate is through body language. One of the most direct ways is licking. This article will help you understand why they lick your face, whether it is harmful for them to do so, the associated problem, and the solutions to dog licking your face.


Reasons why my dog licks my face

It is the functional behavior of dogs to lick human faces. The behavior is instinctive and done to communicate either with people or other animals around them. It is observed that there are reasons why dogs behave this way. The following are some of these behaviors:


To show affection

Dogs are described as man’s best friends. They are emotionally attached to people, especially their owners. They love them. Therefore, to show this affection, they lick your face to express how much they love you and to strengthen the bond they have with you. Try the Happi Doggy Dental Chew Zest Apple to freshens your dog’s breath.


To show respect

It may sound strange when someone tells you that animals do respect people. Actually, this is a reality. Your dogs can show how much they respect you by licking your face. This is a demonstration that they recognize you as the dominant pack leader. This same act is done by wild dogs to show that they submit to their pack leader (another dog).


Sign of hunger

When dogs are hungry, they do lick their owner’s face into communicating their condition. So, licking time may mean feeding time, showing that they are ready to feed.


To get information

There are times we feel down or stressed out and find it difficult to discuss what’s in our minds with anyone. Dogs are naturally gifted to gather information about your feelings using their special receptors in their mouth and nose to process and interpret the molecules (scented) that are in your sweat. With this, they will know if you feel stressed or happy.


For grooming

Your dogs may be licking you to make sure you are clean or to groom you. This can be traced to how they clean themselves or littermates by licking.


To enjoy the taste

Dogs do find human sweat tasty due to the “salt” therein which they enjoy. So, they may lick your face since they find it pleasurable doing so. Besides, when dogs lick your face, pleasurable endorphins are released which offers them security and comfort. With this, they may continuously crave to behave in this manner.




Is it harmful if my dog licks my face?

If the skin is intact (without an open wound), dog saliva is not harmful to both children and adults. Dr. Leni K. Kaplan, a lecturer of community practice service at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, says “When dog saliva touches intact human skin, especially in a healthy person, the skin absorption to saliva will be very little that will not cause health concerns.”


Potential risks of dogs’ saliva

The potential risk of a dog’s saliva can come into the picture when there is an open wound in your skin. The saliva may keep the wound open due to the moisture and then allow bacteria to grow which may result in a potential skin infection. In addition, you should wash and clean your hands after playing with your dogs.


Is it a problem?

It shouldn’t be a problem if you take some precautions recommended by experts. These include ensuring that your dog is current on all vaccines, new dogs go through a deworming process, keeping your dogs away from another animal’s feces, and washing your hands with water and soap after playing with your pet (you can add the use of an antibacterial gel or spray on your hands).

So, in as much as you do not allow their saliva to get in contact with your open wound, then you’re completely safe from bacteria.




Solutions to my dog licking my face

Some individuals don’t like dogs licking them in the face. So, if you belong to this group, there are solutions. There are some things you can do to limit the behavior. These may take time, but you need to be patient. This is because licking is an instinctive behavior of dogs that will require some time to curb.

To deal with this situation, you can take the step by adopting the positive reinforcement method to train them. A positive reinforcement method is a great tool that can help shape or change the behavior of your dogs. The reinforcement training includes praising them or rewarding them when they execute a task you assign for them.


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