Most of us owners are not ashamed to admit that it we allow our dog to lick us, since it does not bother us in the slightest bit. But have you ever wondered why do dogs lick, what are they trying to communicate? Is it a sign of affection? Are dog licks kisses?
It is not possible to know for certain the reason your dog is licking you, your dog can’t tell you and we cannot read their minds. However, we can explore their puppyhood and get a good idea of how such behavior develop and why do they continue to exhibit such behaviors.
- Maternal behavior
In order to stimulate newborn puppies to start breathing, the mother of the puppies will spend a significant amount of time licking their young, it is very important to the survival for their puppies.
- Relieves stress
It is believed that the act of licking reduces stress hormones in the body, licking releases pleasurable endorphins that gives dogs a feeling of comfort and pleasure. It has also been found that those puppies who are licked frequently when young are more resilient as they develop and less reactive to stress. Some have argued that dogs like their owners to reduce stress levels, or maybe it could have been the other way round, your dogs might be helping their human friend feel better.
- Pack behavior
Dogs are pack animals, and where pack hierarchy is concerned, dogs are naturally submissive to the alpha and other dogs that are above them in the ranking. It’s in their instinctive nature that the more subordinate members of a pack will lick the more dominant members. They usually do that to indicate that they are not a threat, or it could have been an attempt to garner rewards such as food or attention.
- Health issues
If a dog is spending a great deal of time licking itself, it may be a compulsive behavior due to boredom or anxiety. It could also have been an indication of a skin irritation or allergy, or it could the dog is feeling pain somewhere. In such cases, it is important to ensure that your dog is getting enough stimulation and get your dog checked out by your vet.
- Sensory behavior
Sometimes, the pure reason of your dog licking you is due to a particular odor on you, it could be pleasant or pungent. It could be the salty taste of your skin or a certain lotion that you’ve applied or some especially tasty food that you have eaten that your dog caught a whiff of.
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