Why Does My Dog Lick Everything? [It Is NOT Always Out Of Love!]

A Pug licking a butterfly

The one thing every dog owner expects when they come home after a few hours away is an excited dog jumping on them, wiggling his tail, and licking their face as soon as they can get to it. Sometimes, it's not just a face they are licking, but everything else. So, a dog owner may want to stop and ask: "why does my dog lick everything?"

Many associate dog licking with dog love, and most of the time, they have it right. However, there are other reasons behind such behavior. And sometimes, it may get out of hand.

So, you want to understand why dogs lick everything?

Keep reading to find the answers.

Why Do Dogs Lick Faces?

There are a few answers to this, so let’s just start with the obvious one: showing love.

As far as your dog is concerned, licking your face is one way of telling you he cares and loves you. If you reward him for that by petting him and feeding him, he understands that you love him back.

Black Labrador Retriever licking owner's face

“I love you, Hooman!” said the dog while licking his owner’s face.

This is a mutual understanding that grows up with the puppy. He will start licking just the same way his mother licks his face. Soon he will understand that by doing so, he gets to have a lot of love and affection from you, so he keeps doing it forever.

The other reason your dog is licking your face has nothing to do with you, but with what’s on your face. It could be just the salty taste of the skin. That’s why he licks everybody’s face. Or it could be the food you still have on your face. He’ll make sure there’s no more food on it by licking it all out.

Why Do Dogs Lick Feet?

This is something you’ll probably have to deal with every time you come out of the shower or when you are pretty tired after work.

For the first one, you are probably still wet and smell very darn good. Therefore, your dog will lick the water to make you dry and get a taste of your sweet salty skin.

For the second one, that’s his way of registering your sweat as a marker to recognize you every time. He will do the same for mostly every new person that enters the house so they can register their scent as well. At some point, your dog will accurately identify everyone that has ever come to your home by their smell.

Why Do Dogs Lick Themselves?

This behavior is very similar to cats. If you have a dog from a breed that loves to keep himself clean, licking himself is one way to do it. That means, he will be licking all body parts that his tongue can reach without causing himself any pain.

However, it’s not just hygiene. Your dog may have some serious health problem. If he starts licking his own paws for longer periods of time, he may have some allergies. Typically, they are accompanied by other symptoms such as redness, sores, and smelly discharges. Or it could be something more serious, and only a visit to the vet will help your dog.

Here are some other possible reasons for dogs licking that are associated with medical problems.

When it comes to a dog’s health, never be too lazy. As soon as you notice a strange behavior, not necessarily excessive but abnormal to your dog, call your vet and schedule a visit. You can never be too sure.

Watch this video by Bark & Co explaining why dogs lick.

Why Do Dogs Lick Random Things?

Dogs are super curious pets, but they are also careful. Therefore, they want to see “what’s this new fence is made of?” Anything you bring to the house will have to endure a dog lick if your dog can reach it. If it’s a toy, brick, a bottle, anything really. And if it’s food, your dog just hit the jackpot.

White Pit Bull licking the glass

Here is a picture of what a dog licking the window looks like.

However, if you see that your dog always licks the same spot every day, it may be an indicator of a medical problem.

It could be anything from licking the doorbell, to a spot in the window or on the carpet.

Your dog could just be afraid of these things, but he could also have more serious problems that he doesn’t know how to communicate. Don’t guess! Let your vet find out which is which.

Here’s a case of Gina possibly licking everything out of anxiety.

Other Reasons for Dog Licking

The above reasons are what specialists can tell you about specific spots your dog licks. However, down below are other reasons that are almost entirely different.

Showing Submission

In the wild, the dog that gets the most licking is the leader. In the household, whoever is licked the most is the pack leader. Therefore, if your dog licks you more than anyone else at the house, that means he understands that you are the alpha. It’s a good thing as it shows respect and admiration.

Communicating with You

Your dog will bark, howl, whine, and even lick to communicate with you. Each of them has a different level of intensity. While a bark might mean danger ahead, a lick is simply telling you that the food bowl is empty. Time to fill it up, hooman!

When your dog starts licking out of nowhere, be sure to check what time it is. They are very conscious about their routine, and they will let you know.

Showing Affection and Seeking Attention

Small Pomeranian dog kissing his owner

Here is a cute dog kissing his owner.

This is mainly why dogs lick every human they trust. Your dog is simply asking you to stop watching the TV, stop working from home, and give him your undivided attention. If you did it once when he was a puppy, he would keep doing it for as long as you allow him. That is just a way to reciprocate all the love that you both share.

Here is a good article from DogTime explaining dog licking.

Force of Habit

Your puppy’s mother licked him when he was a newborn. He licked her when he asked her for milk. He licked you when he wanted to play. For him, licking seems like the one way to easily communicate, and it becomes a habit.

If you deem it a bad habit, it easy to stop. As soon as your dog licks you, leave the room. The first time, the dog will just shrug it off. The second time, he’ll start asking questions. By the fifth time, he’ll understand that licking you means you will leave the room.

Therefore, he comes to the conclusion that licking is not the only way to talk to you and only resorts to it when it is the only way. Instead, he’ll try different things like bringing you the food bowl to see that it is empty. Now, fill this thing up, hooman!

Here is a step by step guide from WikiHow on how to stop a dog from licking you.

Let us know in the comments down below how you deal with your dog licking everything. If you have a story or advice, feel free to share on the comments down below.

About the Author Youness Bermime

Hi, there! My name is Youness, a professional content writer and marketer. I love dogs, and I think Huskies are, for most of the time, better than humans. I am, also, the owner and editor of WritersDo. I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post because I enjoyed writing it. Don't forget to share it with your friends!

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