What Our Dogs are Trying to Tell us When They Lick

By Dr. Lisa Lippman

Dr. Lisa Lippman, DVM, is one of the most followed and socially influential veterinarians in the United States. She is nationally respected by media outlets such as Dr. Oz, Inside Edition, and Good Day, New York as a go-to source for expertise in pet health and safety. She shares her experiences with her friends, followers, and fans by posting at @DrLisaLippman on Instagram. This post was written by Dr. Lisa.

Most dog owners love doggy kisses! But while we tend to associate pooch smooches with affection, dogs actually lick for a variety of reasons- and not all of them are positive!

Licking is an important form of communication for our canine companions. Pretty much from birth, puppies will lick and be licked- and when dogs communicate with one another licking can be anything from a sign of submission, to anxiety, or a display of affection.

The same goes for when our dogs lick us! The trick to determining what our dogs are trying to tell us when they lick is to look at their body language. If your pup is wagging their tail and licking when you first get home, they’re probably just excited to see you and all that licking is a sign of love! If your dog seems anxious and is licking you repetitively, he may be doing so as a way to self soothe and manage his stress. However, if your dog obsessively licks inanimate objects, check out my post about excessive licking syndrome!

Finally, your dog may also just be licking you because you taste good! It may seem gross, but the taste of our sweat and secretions can be comforting to our dogs since they associate our smell (and thus our taste) with being loved and cared for!

For more facts and tips on how to keep your dog healthy and safe, follow Dr. Lisa Lippman @DrLisaLippman on Instagram and learn more at drlisalippman.com