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Why Does My Dog Lick Me So Much? Understanding Canine Licking Behavior

Dogs are known for their affectionate nature, and one of the ways they express their love and bond with their human companions is through licking. While it’s a common behavior, many dog owners often wonder why their furry friends lick them so much. In this article, we’ll explore the various reasons behind this behavior and shed light on some related questions.

1. It’s an instinctual behavior

Licking is a natural instinct for dogs that stems from their early days as puppies. When they were young, their mother would lick them to clean their fur, stimulate their circulation, and bond with them. As they grow up, dogs may continue to lick as a way to show affection and maintain social bonds.

2. Licking is a form of communication

Dogs communicate through a variety of ways, and licking is one of their primary methods. By licking you, your dog may be trying to convey various messages. It could be a way of showing submission, seeking attention, or simply expressing their love and affection towards you.

3. Dogs lick for taste and smell

Another reason why dogs lick their owners is to taste and smell. Our skin has natural oils and sweat that can be enticing to dogs. They may lick you to explore and gather information about your scent, which helps them in recognizing you and feeling more secure in your presence.

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4. Licking can be a stress-reliever

Just like humans, dogs can experience stress and anxiety. Licking can be a self-soothing behavior for them, helping them to relax and alleviate their anxiety. If your dog licks you excessively, it might be a sign that they are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, and you should consider addressing the underlying cause.

5. It’s a sign of affection

For dogs, licking can be a way of showing their love and affection towards their owners. It’s their version of giving kisses. Dogs often lick their favorite humans as a way to bond and express their feelings. So, if your dog showers you with licks, it’s likely a display of their deep affection for you.

6. Dogs may lick to seek attention

If your dog is constantly licking you, it could be their way of seeking attention. They may have learned that licking gets them the desired response from you, such as petting or praise. While it’s important to give your dog attention and affection, it’s equally important to establish boundaries and discourage excessive licking if it becomes bothersome.

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7. Medical and behavioral considerations

In some cases, excessive licking can be a sign of underlying medical or behavioral issues. Dogs with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may engage in repetitive licking behaviors. If you suspect your dog’s licking is excessive or abnormal, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog behaviorist to rule out any underlying health concerns or address potential behavioral issues.


While dogs licking their owners is a common behavior, it can have various meanings and motivations. Whether it’s a way for them to communicate, show affection, or seek attention, understanding the reasons behind this behavior can help strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion. However, it’s essential to set boundaries and address any excessive licking if it becomes problematic. Remember, each dog is unique, and their licking behavior may vary, so observe your dog’s cues and respond accordingly to ensure a healthy and happy relationship.

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