We all love puppy kisses! It's one of those things where more is better....usually. In general, it's pretty harmless when dogs lick things but excessive licking can cause some issues. We answer some questions below about why dogs lick various things and when to intervene:
Why Does My Dog Lick My Face?
Most often when dogs lick our faces it's because they're showing affection. Dogs are affectionate, loving creatures and licking is one way they express their adoration for you. These are truly puppy kisses!
Why Does My Dog Lick My Feet?
Moving from the top of our bodies to the bottom, some dogs love to lick feet. One reason that dogs lick feet is more simple - they smell the salt lingering on your toes and want to get a taste of it. But there is also another explanation for why some dogs like to lick feet and it has to do with canine anatomy.
Dogs have an excellent sense of smell and they use scent to gather information about their environment and other animals (including humans). Dogs also have what's called a Jacobson’s organ, which is an extra sensory organ on the roof of their mouth that allows them to smell and taste at the same time. This allows dogs to get even more information about what they're smelling or tasting. And as gross as it may be to you, our feet are full of smelly, tasty information. So when a dog licks your feet, it's often to learn as much about you as possible.
Why Does My Dog Lick His or Her Toys?
When dogs lick their toys, it's often a way to show affection to them, just like when they lick our faces. This may seem odd, but dogs can get attached to their toys (similarly to children) and then sometimes they just want to show their favorite toys some love.
Why Do Dogs Lick Things Around The House?
If you've ever seen your dog licking things around the house - like the couch or a rug - it usually means they've picked up a scent. Fabric can absorb lots of smells and that can be intriguing to your dog. If a smell interests your dog, he or she may lick the object to get more information. And if it tastes good, they'll keep licking.
Why Does My Dogs Lick His or Her Paws?
Sometimes dogs lick their paws to clean them - it's the fastest and easiest way for them to remove dirt or other debris from their feet. Other times, however, dogs lick their paws because something is bothering them, like a skin irritation, infection or allergy. This is usually the case when your dog is excessively licking his or her paws and at this point, it's time to intervene. It's best to consult a vet, especially if you see redness, sores, loss of fur and other abnormal symptoms.
Another reason your dog may be excessively licking their paw is because something is stuck in there and they're trying to dislodge it (like a pebble or other object). If they can't remove what's stuck, they could cause irritation to their paws through the excessive licking. Check to see if anything is stuck in their toes and if not, it may be an issue aforementioned in the previous paragraph.
Other Reasons Dogs Excessively Lick
There are other reasons dogs lick excessively. One is anxiety, as some dogs will turn to licking as a stress reliever or nervous habit. Another reason is boredom, as licking their paws is a way to pass the time. A third reason that some dogs lick excessively is to get your attention, especially if you've inadvertently reinforced the behavior.
Read more: Learn how to entertain your dog
If your dog's licking is becoming problematic, you can work together to kick the habit through some training and positive reinforcement. As long as it's not because of health issues, of course. And if it is because of health issues, it's time to take your pup to the vet to figure out what's going on and get some treatment.