It’s no mystery dogs like to lick us. But, Why!? Simple, it’s in their nature, and it’s one of their ways to communicate with us. While for some may not be the favorite way of communication, we must learn this non-verbal language. It’s important to understand what they are trying to say in order to respond appropriately.

Possible reasons why dogs lick us

Soliciting food

Puppies would lick their mother as a precursor to feeding. While in the wild lower ranks of the packs lick their Alpha’s in the hopes of getting an invitation to the feeding feast.


Lower rank members of the pack will greet higher ranks members of the pack with a submissive body language and face licking. Your dog may do the same every time you’re back from being out of the house.

 Bonding and affection

Studies have shown that for some species licking releases the hormone oxytocin. This hormone is associated with bonding and emotional attachment. If your dog is licking you, in essence, he/she is trying to tell you “I love you.”.


Your dog might be inviting you to participate to join in an activity that will meet their needs. This could be playing, going out for a walk/run, or any activity that you would interact with your dog.

Self licking

If your dog is chronically licking himself it is possible the dog is feeling bored, anxious or possibly has skin problems such as allergies. The dog could also be feeling pain in the licked area or elsewhere in their body. Make sure your dog is receiving sufficient stimulation and seek professional veterinarian help to rule out any infections or allergies. If your dog is still presenting excessive licking and all other possibilities have been ruled out, it may be a behavioral problem. Try seeking professional veterinary behaviorist.


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