A dog stands under a picnic table, licking their chops

Why Do Dogs Lick You?

8 December 2022

Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 9 June 2023

Whether you own or have looked after a dog before you may be all too familiar with dog licking. Sure, it’s cute and most probably a sign of affection but is there a deeper reason as to why our dogs lick us? We take a look at the few reason why our furry friend like to lick their humans.

Yum, tasty!

Doggy member Jaffa Cake

Our four-legged friends lick food off kitchen floor or in their bowls because they like the taste and the same can be said about us. Our doggies enjoy the salt on our skin and also any tiny food particles that we may have left behind after our lunch or dinner. Through the taste on our skin they are also able to recognise and recall who we are.


Doggy member Suki

Dogs lick other dogs to communicate and they can use their lick to communicate with us humans too. If your dog is licking you they be trying to tell you something, take a look and see if there is something you may be missing - perhaps an empty water bowl or they may need to go out.

Happy doggy

Doggy member Margot

Dogs show their affection in a number of ways and licking is one of them. As they lick you their brain releases endorphins, this not only makes them happy but also calms and comforts them. They also may be licking you to cheer you up when you are sad.

Pay attention

Doggy member Otis

We all know dogs love our undying attention, so when they may be feeling a little bit neglected they may use their bark or licks to receive a few more cuddles from us.

They think we enjoy it

Doggy member Poppy

On continuation from the previous point, as we often reward their licking behaviour with happy tones and petting they associate it with our enjoyment and positive reward. Therefore our dogs will continue to lick us as they think we enjoy it.

However if you want your dog to stop licking, ignore them and walk into another room whenever it begins. They will learn that licking causes you to leave, which they won’t want.

This article is for information only, and should never replace any advice, diagnosis or treatment from your veterinary surgeon. Always contact your local vet or out of hours vet without delay if you have any concerns about your dog.

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