5 Reasons Why Your Dog Licks Your Face So Much
It’s cute until your dog starts to lick your face at every opportunity and drenches you with saliva. Here are five interesting reasons why your dog or puppy likes to lick you so much.
1. They Want to Show Affection
Dogs aren’t called a man’s best friend by accident. They are affectionate animals that love to bond and provide companionship within their pack.
According to Stephanie Borns-Weil, a clinical instructor in animal behavior, licking could be a way for dogs to show affection to their owners. It could also be a way for dogs to appease others. Just think of licking as a form of kissing for dogs.
2. Your Puppy is Hungry
One interesting behavior observed among wild canines is when puppies lick their mother’s face to get her to vomit out some food. When your puppy is licking you, it could potentially be a sign that he is hungry and is asking you for some kind of snack.
3. Licking is a Sign of Submission
According to Dr. Susan Nelson, licking could be a sign of submission. Dogs may lick other dogs that have a more dominant pack status in order to show their respect. People are no exception to this behavior. For domestic dogs, their owners are most likely considered the leader of the pack.
4. They Enjoy the Taste of Your Skin
This is a strange one but your dog could be licking you excessively because they like the taste of your skin, specifically the mineral and salt in the body sweat. Dr. David Dilmore states that dogs have the taste receptors to respond to the sodium/acidic content of body sweat.
5. Your Dog is Bored or Stressed
Licking could be a sign that your dog is bored or stressed, especially if you have shown a lot of positive reaction (e.g petting, speaking in a positive tone) every time your dog has licked you in the past. Licking could be a form of communication for attention-deprived dogs.
A dog’s licking behavior shouldn’t be examined in isolation. You will need to take into account the whole situation to determine the reason why your dog likes to lick your face so much.
It could be as simple as showing affection or it could be a way for the dog to de-stress (because he is left alone at home for a long period of time).
Is it Okay for My Dog to Lick My Face?
The bacteria and germs in your dog’s saliva may make you sick, and in extremely rare cases, may cause death as well. According to the CDC, Capnocytophaga is a germ common among dogs and cats. Unfortunately, this particular germ led to the death of one dog owner in June 2018.
Healthy dog owners aren’t all that likely to be affected by the occasional lick but you should still take precaution and discourage your dog from licking your face, especially due to the fact that it’s much easier for germ-carrying dog saliva to be absorbed via your mouth, eyes, and nose.
If your dog is licking you as a form of affection then you want to make sure you aren’t re-buffing his positive behavior by encouraging him to display the same level of affection in a different way. For example, every time your dog licks, you may want to teach your dog that it’s better for him to sit and be petted instead.
Is it Okay for Dogs to Lick Babies?
The reason for the licking behavior could be different when a dog licks a baby’s face. Instead of a sign of submission, a dog that licks a baby’s face could be viewed as a sign of dominance.
Your dog shouldn’t be allowed to display such behavior over your baby as there’s no way of knowing how your baby or the dog will react. In worst case scenarios, your dog (if female) may start to exhibit some maternal behaviors and do things as if the baby is her puppy.
There’s also the health issue. Babies are much more vulnerable to the bacteria in the dog saliva because their immune system is less developed. If you have a baby at home then don’t take any risks. Keep your dog at a safe distance from your baby.