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Why Do Dogs Lick?

We know that dogs love to show us affection, and we know how they love doing it - by licking! But there are actually a few different reasons why dogs lick you, others, or themselves. If you've been wondering why dogs lick, we're here with some explanation! 

To Show Love

Of course, dogs lick in order to express affection. This is something we all know, which is why we're complimented if a pup licks our face - and maybe a little grossed out. If you don't mind licking, go ahead and let them express their affection! But if you'd like to train your dog out of it, you can do so by simply ignoring them or walking out of the room when they're trying to lick you.

As a Compulsion

Some dogs have more anxieties than others, and many dogs express these anxieties by licking. You can tell that your dog might be licking as a compulsion if they are licking the same area on their body repeatedly or if they're licking an object. Think about introducing them to a new toy and attempting to address the reason for their compulsive behavior. 

To Groom

While many people associate cats with licking and grooming, dogs actually do it, too! Sometimes, dogs lick themselves simply because they want to stay clean. However, if they lick one part repeatedly, this might indicate a wound or compulsion rather than grooming.

To Taste

Of course, dogs use their tongue to taste things. That's why they often lick their bowl at the end of a meal (or even the cat's bowl), and sometimes why they lick our hands if we've just been eating. In this way, dogs are like us! They simply want to taste yummy food.

To Heal

Often, dogs will lick themselves to help heal a wound. If they have an itchy or sore wound, they might lick it to get rid of the dirt or bacteria (since dog saliva actually has enzymes that help get rid of bacteria). However, just as with the "grooming" type of licking, you should make sure that they're not obsessively licking their wound, or they might cause more irritation and damage. 

Now, go get a big kiss from your dog! Or maybe not. 

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Jenna Gomes

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Jenna Gomes