Being licked on the face by your dog is either something that makes you smile or causes you to cringe in disgust. No matter how you feel about being licked by your dog, know that it is a natural behavior for dogs. This is because it is ingrained in their DNA. Mother dogs lick their pups to keep them clean, and pups lick their mothers right back as a show of affection. When dogs lick each other, it feels good to them both because natural oxytocin is being released.
Why Does My Dog Lick Me?
It seems only natural that your dog would want to bond with you as it did with its mother. It is also possible that your dog is just looking for attention. Another reason your dog might be licking you is that it tastes something on your skin that it likes, such as the lotion you just applied, or on your lips, such as the meal you just ate.
Is It Harmful to Let My Dog Lick Me?
Suppose you let your dog lick you on your face, particularly on the mouth. In that case, you have to think about potentially being exposed to dangerous pathogens such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, and the like. Also, keep in mind that your dog uses its tongue to clean its own bottom. Dogs also eat nasty things such as garbage, feces, and dead animals to name a few.
How to Stop a Dog From Licking People
If you would prefer that your dog express his love in some other way than licking people, here are some steps you can take to discourage this behavior:
- Provide another way to keep your dog’s mouth busy doing something else. A food-stuffed toy can do wonders to shift their attention.
- Give them plenty of physical and mental exercise. Tiring your dog out through exercise will likely calm down their licking habit.
- When your dog begins to lick, turn away.
- Consider changing the soap or lotion you are using to something less appealing…
If your dog’s licking has gotten out of control, speak with your veterinarian to see if your dog might have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD.) If this is the case, you can get help for your dog from an animal behaviorist. With that being said, if you don’t mind getting dog kisses, there is no harm done in letting your canine companion continue expressing their affection for you in the way that they know how.