Why Do Dogs And Cats Lick Us?

Aug 9, 2020 | Health, Pets, Tips and Tricks

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  I wrote this post because I have two sweet labs who love to lick me but I call it “giving kisses”!  As I type this, Jake is laying next to me giving me kisses on my leg.  In the middle of the night, I will feel two little kisses on my arm and it is Jake.  It’s as if he is checking on me and letting me know he is there.  But why do dog lick us?  

Maggie's Sunday morning routine!

She loves laying on her daddy in his big chair and relaxing.

Dogs lick people for a variety of reasons:

It helps relieve stress
They want attention
It also could be something they learned as puppies when they would lick their mother and siblings
Licking may relate to trying to placate a person who seems angry or simply expressing affection
Indicate submission
In packs, lower ranking dogs will lick higher ranking dogs
Saying “thank you” for feeding them or walking them
Trying to clean you
Likes the taste of your skin
Licking your mouth because he likes what you had for lunch
They might be suffering from an obsessive compulsive disorder
They are in pain or have a digestive disorder
Trying to get nutrients from licking your skin such as the taste of salt
They are associating licking you with licking and healing a wound as they would do themselves
They can sense you have a medical problem such as cancer.

Cats lick for a variety of reasons:

They want to show you affection
They want affection in return
They are claiming you as their territory
They are showing you how to groom yourself
They are making you a part of their family
They are licking you as a way to ease your stress

When Maggie was a puppy, we called her the mad licker.  She would lick you with such enthusiasm and happiness.  We tried everything and walking away worked.  She still likes to “give kisses” but no where near what she did as a puppy.  According to experts, to stop your dog from licking, teach your dog that licking makes you go away.  Licking is usually about attention.  Telling them to stop or pushing them away, reinforces the licking behavior because you have touched or spoke to your dog.  If you say nothing, walk away, and your pet still follows you, put a closed door between you for a second or two.  Come back and give the dog another change to interact with you in a way you like better.  Pet and praise behavior that you like so your dog understands what behavior you are willing to tolerate and what you are not.

One of the reasons I named this blog Two Adorable Labs is because Jake and Maggie are two of the most adorable dogs who have the sweetest personalities.  Their “kisses” have never concerned me as we have always received them in the most loving and calm way.  I post pictures of Jake and Maggie on social media almost daily on Instagram and if you would like to follow us, check out @twoadorablelabs and use hashtag #twoadorablelabs!  I’m trying to reach 1,000 followers :-). 

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