You must have noticed that whenever you meet your dog, he licks your hands. But have you ever wondered why does he do so, and what does this mean? God has given us various organs through which we can express our feelings. But animals don’t have such types of sources to communicate. Therefore, dogs use their senses of touch, smell, and taste to communicate. By licking your hands, they try to communicate with you or greet you. Sometimes your dog might give you a snuffle or two before they start licking. Moreover, they also smell you so that they can know something about you through your smell. Even they get upset or jealous when they see other dogs smelling, sitting, or playing with their favorite person. Some dogs are attracted to the smell of creams and lotions, but you should be careful on another side because your dog can lick those products and can fall sick.
Why Dogs Lick?
There are certain reasons because of which dogs lick hands or feet.
Grooming is an important thing that needs to be done to keep our bodies clean and ensure hygiene. Similarly, dogs also groom their body by licking. For example, they might lick their rear ends or feet after going to the washroom. However, you need to ensure that your dog does not lick in excess because it could lead to various health problems. For example, suppose if your dog is licking his paws continuously to soothing itching, he might be suffering from some allergic reactions. In such cases, you should consult your vet.
Dogs may lick to express their feelings such as happiness, anxiety, or affection. You may notice the difference in their licking. For example, they lick you madly when they see you after a very long time or are excited about something. Usually, they will lick you calmly on a daily basis to express their greetings or to say hello. Licking is something that releases good hormones in your dogs and helps feel them happy and excited. Watch their body language when they’re licking you. A wagging tail will come with desperate licking when your dog is very happy or excited. Maybe when you asked them for their favorite food or to take them to meet their friends, their excitement level gets double, leading to the release of more good hormones, which keep them fresh the rest of the day.
3. Skin allergies
It might be possible that your dog licks his skin continuously, and in such cases, you should immediately take him to your vet for a proper check-up if you are concerned for him because it might be a sign of skin allergies. Working with a vet to manage your dog’s skin or allergies should stop the licking. For some dogs, after a while, it becomes a habit and might be more compulsive. Once you’ve got the medical issues under control, you can now tackle any compulsion.
What to do if you need your dog to stop licking?
If you do not want your dog to lick you or any other person or you do not like slobber anymore, then you can make him understand by training him and teaching him something else. For example, you can teach them high five, shake, or paw. You may also teach them to just smell the person to know him better instead of licking the person. For doing so, you need to be strict with him till he understands that you do not want him to lick. But you must ensure that you don’t punish him because if you do so, you will lose a very good and childlike friend. Instead, show him the signs or videos of the greetings that you want him to attain.
Dogs lick hands or faces to express their feelings of love, happiness, nervousness, or anxiety. They do so to groom themselves and to communicate with you. In fact, mother dogs lick their babies to keep them clean and hygienic. Sometimes they lick themselves continuously out of compulsion or itching, which might be a sign of skin allergies. In such cases, you need to visit their vet and consult them for treatment. Allergies sometimes may occur due to unhygienic conditions, so for that, you must ensure that you shower them regularly. If your dog licks you too much and you want him not to lick you or other persons, especially those undergoing medical treatments, you may teach them the other signs of greetings such as high five, touch, shake, etc.
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I am a dog lover who spent her childhood in the company of a friendly Labrador Retriever. I believe that pets make our lives more enjoyable and stress-free. So, here I am, attempting to share my experiences and knowledge to improve the lives of pets and pet owners.