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There’s nothing wrong with a puppy kiss or two (or a hundred) now and then. But if your dog likes to lick, the excessive licking—especially if the licking is on your feet—can get to be a little much (especially if you’re ticklish!).
So what’s with all the licking? Why does your dog feel the need to constantly lick your feet (or your face, or their own paws, or the rug...seriously, so much licking!)?
Why Does My Dog Lick My Feet?
If you’ve ever wondered “why does my dog lick me feet?” there are a few things that could be going on.
Dogs have an incredible sense of smell—and they use that sense of smell to gather information about their surroundings. Dogs also have an extra sensory organ on the roof of their mouth (called the Jacobson’s organ) that allows them to smell and taste at the same time—and get even more information about what they’re smelling/tasting
It might seem gross to you, but for your dog, those stinky, smelly feet are full of everything they could want to know about you—and licking your feet is just a way for them to gather information about their favorite person.
If your feet are extra sweaty, your dog might also get a whiff of the salt in your sweat—and want to get a taste to go along with it.
Why Do Dogs Lick My Face?
If your dog licks your face, chances are, it’s because he’s trying to show you a little love!
Dogs are affectionate animals, and licking is one of the ways they communicate that affection. So, if your dog comes up and starts licking your face, think of it like a puppy kiss—and soak up all the adoration.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?
Sometimes, dogs lick their paws as a way to clean them. But if you notice your dog is excessively licking their paws, you’ll want to take a look to see if there’s anything else going on.
Your dog may be dealing with skin irritation or infection or trying to dislodge something that’s stuck in their paw (like a rock or debris).
Why Do Dogs Lick Things (Like Toys Or Rugs)?
It’s not always you, the human, that’s the target of your dog’s licks. If you notice your dog licking other objects—like the couch, the rug, or a Plush Toy
—there are a few things that could be going on.
If your dog licks their Plush Toy, chances are, they’re showing it affection—just like they do for you! Dogs can get attached to their plushies—and if they do, they may lick it as a way of expressing their love.
If your dog is licking other objects—like the couch or rug—it’s probably because they picked up on a smell. Fabric can pick up scents, and if your dog smells something interesting (or tasty!), they may lick the area as a way to gather more information (or to try to pick up on any food you may have dropped!)
Other Reasons Dogs Might Lick...
There are a few other reasons dogs might lick excessively, including anxiety (some dogs lick when they’re stressed out), as a way to get your attention, or simply as a way to pass the time (dogs get bored too, you know!).
When To Intervene
For the most part, licking is harmless. But if you notice your dog is licking excessively and/or compulsively, if it starts to become a problem (for example, if your dog wants to lick your ticklish feet for hours at a time), or they’re licking themselves so much that it causes skin issues, it’s time to address the issue.
If you think your dog is licking because of a skin issue (or if they develop skin irritation as a result of licking), talk to your vet to provide the proper treatment. Otherwise, with a little bit of training and positive reinforcement (and patience!), you’ll be able to curb your dog’s habit lickety-split—pun intended.
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