Top 3 Reasons Why Dogs Lick Your Baby a Lot
One natural concern that some people may have is whether it is safe for dogs to lick a baby or toddler, especially if the dog is licking the baby’s face a lot. Here are some common reasons for dogs that do this.
1. Dog likes the baby’s scent
Is the dog licking the baby more than anyone else in the household? It might have to do with the baby’s scent. The dog, for example, might be obsessed with the scent of the baby bath or baby wash product. It might also be the scent from the baby’s diaper. Some dogs are known to lick the urine of other dogs to learn more about them. The same might be happening here with the dog trying to learn more about the newborn.
2. It’s part of social grooming
One way dogs bond with one another is by grooming each other. The dog might be licking your baby or toddler a lot to show affection and to strengthen the bond between them. Babies are messy eaters! It could also be a case of the dog trying to clean up some food that has made its way onto your baby’s face.
3. It’s an instinctive behavior
It might be a natural instinct for dogs to lick babies or toddlers. This, however, may apply more towards dogs that have grown in a proper family setting (not being separated from their mother at an early age). One way mother dogs communicate with puppies is by licking. For exmaple, a mother dog may lick her puppies to help stimulate their breathing. Your dog may have learned a few things from his mother and could be repeating the same behaviors on your baby.
Is it safe for dogs to lick babies?
The main concern is around the passing of bacteria and germs, especially when the toddler’s immune system is still in its infancy. Generally speaking, it’s rare for illnesses to pass on from pets to human.
That said, you probably shouldn’t have the dog lick your baby too often, whether that is licking the baby’s face or other areas like the baby’s legs and hands. You don’t know what your dog has been licking. Dogs are known to lick dirty things such as another dog’s pee.