Why Do Dogs Lick You? 3 Causes And Solutions

It’s cute and kind of gross at the same time. But our dogs just seem to love licking us humans.

But why do they like doing this so much?

What does it mean when dogs lick you and more importantly, how do I stop my dog ​​from licking me?

If these questions interest you, this is the right article for you. Have fun while reading!

In a nutshell: Why do dogs lick people?

There can be a variety of reasons why your dog keeps licking you. But the fact of the matter is, they’re mostly harmless and pretty cute. When your dog licks your hand or face, it means he is showing you affection and love.

Licking each other is part of the normal behavioral repertoire of our dogs and can be seen, for example, as care, reassurance, or as a challenge to play. However, sometimes it is not so easy to correctly interpret the behavior of our dogs and we are unsure.

Why is my dog licking me? 3 possible causes

Your dog’s behavior can actually be for a variety of reasons, all of which are harmless and even downright cute. Let’s get to the bottom of this!

1. Social Interaction – Care & Affection

As soon as the dog is born, the mother dog begins to lick her puppies. She does this for reasons of affection, care and health.

Licking the puppies stimulates the circulation and frees the fur from dirt. It is part of the normal behavior of our dogs.

Even in adulthood, mutual licking among dogs can often be observed. It’s a loving gesture. Even if your dog licks you!

2. Licking as appeasement

Some so-called appeasement signals belong to the body language of our dogs. Licking is also one of these signals and means in a figurative sense: “Calm down!”.

This can happen, for example, when you are stressed or have an argument with your partner. Your dog will sense that this is an uncomfortable situation and may start licking your hand to calm you or itself.

In dog packs, one can often see lower-ranking animals licking the snout of higher-ranking dogs to appease them.

3. Licking, playing, cuddling

Your dog may also want to encourage you to play or cuddle by happily licking your hand, arm, leg or face.

If he gets overconfident and jumps around happily, it’s very likely that he wants to play with you.


If you ever get the chance to spend a few hours with a pack of dogs and just watch them, you should definitely do it! This is how you learn the most about the pacification signals and normal behavior of our favorite four-legged friends!

How do I get my dog to stop licking me?

Your dog won’t stop licking you? There are dogs that lick a lot and dogs that lick a little. Excessive licking and the morning wake-up call from drool in the ear can be really annoying.

How to stop your dog from licking:

  • Reinforce desirable behavior and ignore undesirable behavior. When your dog starts licking you, turn away and ignore him for a few seconds. You interrupt the social action so as not to reinforce the behavior.

It takes some patience and consistency to break your dog’s licking habit. Keep in mind that it’s just meant to be nice to your dog!

  • Offer to lick your hand rather than your face. Maybe he can be distracted with an alternative, for example with his favorite toy.

When should I see a vet?

In general, mutual licking is part of the normal behavior of our dogs. So you don’t need to visit a vet!

However, if something strikes you as odd, such as your dog belching while licking or wanting to eat a lot of grass, this can indicate an acidic stomach or other digestive problems.

Good to know:

Listen to your gut feeling and it’s better to go to the vet once more than once too little!


“It’ll be fine with a little spit!” – Maybe our dogs think like that? Okay, that’s humanized, but it actually pretty much sums up what our dogs might mean by that.

For example, your dog may want to calm you down by licking your hand or face. Or he uses it to calm himself down. This behavior can be observed in both puppies and adult dogs and is completely normal.

Dogs lick each other or their humans to show them love and affection. He cares for you!

As you can see, licking is completely harmless and normal. However, if something seems strange to you, do not hesitate to contact a veterinarian.

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