Why Does Your Dog Lick You?

Jan 07, 2022 ByLaura Lee

Every dog owner has spent a moment wondering why their pet feels the need to lick them and other people who come in contact with them. Well, we’ve made a list of 5 possible reasons that your loveable companion feels the need to slobber on your hands and face.

Saying Hello!

One simple and obvious reason is that your pup is just excited to see you!

Lara Sypniewski, DVM, is a professor of small animal medicine at Oklahoma State University. Sypniewski says that “essentially, it is their way of greeting you … like they are saying ‘Hello!'”

It’s not just people that dogs like to lick their greeting to, some doggy researchers say that wild dogs will lick other members of their when they return from hunting or roaming.

They Love You!

Dogs have been observed to lick one another to show affection, the licking is part of grooming and is often done by momma dogs to soothe their puppies.

“Licking is a normal juvenile behavior in puppies and this behavior appears to be common with humans, especially when humans encourage the interaction,” says Sypniewski.

They’re Trying To Comfort You!

Your doggy best friend has evolved to be sensitive to how their owners are feeling.

Some studies have suggested that dogs have a compulsive need to comfort unhappy owners. A study published in 2012 suggested that dogs are able to pick up on people who had the appearance of being sad or depressed.

Chihuahua licking

GettyImages/Hillary Kladke/Moment

They Want Your Attention!

Your dog has learned that licking you is a good way to get your attention and get fed if they’re hungry.

“As dogs lick, humans typically respond with attention and love, further reinforcing the dog’s licking behavior,” Sypniewski explains.

They Like The Way You Taste!

Studies suggest that dogs love the taste of salt that is found in human sweat, so it’s possible your pet is just licking you to get a taste of your delicious sweat!