Why Do Dogs Lick Your Mouth And Nose? Canine Affection

Ever wondered why do dogs lick your mouth and nose? Scientifically, dogs lick faces as a form of affection and love they’ve learned since they were puppies.

This blog post delves into the reasons behind this slobbery canine behavior and what it signifies in their unique language. Keep reading to understand more about why those sloppy kisses could be more than just an endearing display of your pup’s love for you!

why do dogs lick your mouth and nose

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs lick faces as an affectionate behavior they learn from their moms when they are puppies.
  • Licking helps dogs explore their surroundings, enhance their sense of smell, and show love and attention to their human companions.
  • Excessive licking can be a sign of stress or anxiety, so it’s important to address the behavior and consult a veterinarian if needed.
  • Setting boundaries for licking behavior, consulting with a vet for excessive licking, and providing proper socialization and training are key in building a healthy relationship with your dog.

The Reasons Behind Dog Licking

Dogs learn to lick as puppies, using it to enhance their sense of smell, seek attention and affection, indulge in instinctual behavior, and simply enjoy the taste.

Dogs learn to lick as puppies

Puppies start to lick when they are very young. Their mom licks them all the time when they are little. This makes them feel safe and loved. Puppies learn this from their mom and do it too as they grow up.

Licking helps puppies bond with their family and friends. It is a way for dogs to show love just like their mom showed them.

Licking to enhance smell

Dogs lick to enhance their sense of smell. When they lick, their saliva picks up scents from the things they lick and brings it to their nose for a better sniff. It’s like when we use our fingers to touch something before smelling it.

Licking helps dogs gather more information about their surroundings and the people or objects they’re licking. So, if your dog licks you, they might be trying to get a better smell of you or show interest in what you’ve been doing.

It’s just another way dogs explore the world around them!

Seeking attention/affection

Dogs often lick people’s faces as a way to seek attention and show affection. When dogs lick your face, it can be their way of saying “I love you” or “I want your attention.” Licking releases feel-good endorphins in their brains, so they enjoy doing it.

It’s also a behavior they learned as puppies when their mother licked them to comfort and care for them. So, if your dog is licking your face, it’s because they want to bond with you and show how much they care about you.

Instinctual behavior

Dogs licking faces is not just a random behavior, but it actually goes back to their instincts. When dogs were puppies, they experienced the comforting sensation of being licked by their mother.

This licking helped them feel secure and bonded with their mom. As they grow up, this instinctual behavior carries on, and dogs continue to lick as a way of showing affection and love.

So when your dog licks your face, it’s their way of saying “I love you” in doggie language!

Enjoying the taste

Dogs lick faces not only to show affection but also because they enjoy the taste. When dogs lick, their taste buds are activated, and this can release endorphins in their brains, making them feel good.

Just like how we enjoy our favorite foods, dogs find pleasure in licking things they find tasty. So when your dog licks your face, it could be a sign that they really like the way you taste! Remember to always make sure that what your dog is licking is safe and clean for them to avoid any health issues.

why do dogs lick your mouth and nose

When Licking Can Be a Problem

Excessive licking can become a problem if it becomes compulsive or interferes with daily activities, and it may be necessary to consult a veterinarian or dog behavior expert for guidance on how to stop this behavior.

Compulsive behavior

Compulsive behavior in dogs can involve excessive licking, to the point where it becomes a problem. Some dogs develop this behavior due to stress, anxiety, or even boredom. It’s important to address compulsive licking because it can lead to skin irritations and infections.

If your dog is constantly licking themselves or objects around them, it may be helpful to consult with a veterinarian for guidance on how to manage and stop this behavior.

Is it safe for dogs to lick?

Dogs licking people’s faces is generally considered safe. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. Dogs have bacteria in their mouths that can be transferred through licking, so it’s important to ensure good hygiene for both you and your dog.

If you have an open wound or a compromised immune system, it is best to avoid letting your dog lick you on the face. Additionally, if your dog has been eating something potentially harmful or toxic, their saliva could transfer some of those substances onto your skin or into your mouth if they lick you.

It’s always a good idea to consult with your vet if you have any concerns about excessive licking or potential health issues related to your dog’s behavior.

How to stop problem licking

If your dog’s licking behavior becomes a problem, there are a few things you can do to help stop it. Firstly, try redirecting their attention to an appropriate toy or activity when they start licking excessively.

This will give them something else to focus on and distract them from the licking. Secondly, make sure your dog is getting enough mental and physical stimulation throughout the day through playtime, walks, and interactive toys.

Boredom can often lead to excessive licking as a way for dogs to self-soothe. Additionally, you may want to consider using deterrent sprays or bitter-tasting substances on objects that your dog likes to lick in order to discourage the behavior.

why do dogs lick your mouth and nose

Understanding Dog Language: What Their Licking Means

Dogs use licking as a way to communicate various emotions, such as appeasement, affection, empathy, and stress.

Appeasement and showing affection

Dogs lick our faces as a way of showing their affection and to appease us. When they lick our faces, it’s like giving us a doggy kiss! It’s their way of saying “I love you” and trying to make us feel good.

Licking can also be a sign that they look up to us and see us as the leader of their pack. So, when your furry friend licks your face, know that it’s their special way of showing how much they care about you!

Showing empathy

Dogs are amazing at sensing and understanding our emotions. When your dog licks your face, it could be their way of showing empathy and comforting you. Just like how humans hug or hold hands when someone is feeling down, dogs use licking as a nurturing gesture to make us feel better.

It’s their natural instinct from when they were puppies, as mother dogs lick their young ones for comfort and bonding. So next time your dog gives you a gentle lick on the face, remember that they’re trying to show empathy and bring you some love and support in their own special way.

Trying to communicate

Dogs use licking as a way to communicate with us. It’s their way of saying something, like “I love you” or “I need attention.” When dogs lick your face, they may be trying to show affection and strengthen the bond between you both.

Licking can also be a sign that your dog is feeling stressed or anxious. So next time your furry friend gives you a big slobbery kiss, remember that they are trying to talk to you in their own special way.

Indicating stress or anxiety

If your dog licks excessively or in a frantic manner, it could be a sign of stress or anxiety. When dogs are feeling overwhelmed, they may resort to licking as a way to comfort themselves.

This behavior releases endorphins and neurotransmitters that help them feel better temporarily. It’s important to pay attention to other signs of stress or anxiety, such as panting, pacing, or hiding.

If you notice these behaviors along with excessive licking, it may be time to consult with a veterinarian for guidance on how to help your dog manage their stress and anxiety effectively without relying solely on licking.

why do dogs lick your mouth and nose


Building a healthy relationship with your dog involves setting clear boundaries for licking behavior, consulting a veterinarian if excessive licking occurs, and providing proper socialization and training.

Setting boundaries for licking behavior

To ensure a healthy relationship with your dog, it’s important to set boundaries for their licking behavior. While licking can be a sign of affection, excessive or unwanted licking can become a problem.

Establish clear rules and consistently enforce them. For example, you can teach your dog that they are only allowed to lick your hand when given permission. If they start to lick your face or other areas without permission, calmly redirect their attention and reward them for following the boundary.

It’s also helpful to provide alternative forms of affection and stimulation so that they have outlets for their energy and don’t rely solely on licking. Remember, setting boundaries is an essential part of keeping both you and your furry friend happy and comfortable.

Consulting a vet for excessive licking

If your dog is licking excessively, it may be a good idea to consult a vet. Excessive licking can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health issue or discomfort that needs medical attention.

A vet can help determine the cause of the excessive licking and provide appropriate treatment if necessary. It’s important to get professional advice to ensure your furry friend stays happy and healthy.

Proper socialization and training.

Proper socialization and training are essential for dogs. Socializing your dog means exposing them to different people, animals, environments, and experiences in a positive way. This helps them feel comfortable and confident in various situations.

Training is important because it teaches your dog how to behave properly and follow commands.

Socializing your dog from an early age can help prevent behavior problems later on. It allows them to learn how to interact with other dogs and people appropriately. Training also helps establish boundaries and teaches your dog what is expected of them.

When socializing your dog, start small and gradually expose them to new things. Take them for walks in different areas where they can encounter other dogs or people. Introduce them to new friends who have well-behaved dogs that can serve as good role models.

Training should begin as soon as you bring your puppy home. Start with basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” Use positive reinforcement such as treats or praise when they obey a command correctly.


1. Why do dogs lick faces?

Dogs lick faces as a sign of love and affectionate behavior. It is their way of showing canine affection.

2. What does it mean when my dog licks my hand?

When your dog licks your hand, it could be comforting behavior or an act of canine socialization, expressing bonding and dog affection.

3. Is face licking by dogs just motherly instinct?

Not only that! Mother dogs do lick their puppies which reinforces this action but also, face licking can imply comfort or endorphins released during the act.

4. Does human-animal interaction affect why dogs lick people?

Yes! Dogs use face and hand licking as forms of communication in human-animal interaction to show emotions like love and comfort.

5. Are there any hygiene concerns with dogs licking faces?

Indeed there are! Dog kisses come with the risk of passing along germs despite its significance in expressing dog emotions.

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