There are many things to love about your canine companion. Their loyalty, companionship, and work skills are often at the top of the list. Licking however, it can go either way. Some pet owners love it when dogs lick their feet or face, but some people really don’t. Regardless of your preference for licking, have you ever just wondered about the behavior? Why do dogs love to lick our feet, other dogs, or even objects?
The truth is dogs are known for licking. Not only is this behavior an instinct, but it is one of the first survival instincts they learn. Licking for dogs has many purposes and just as many meanings. By learning more about licking, you can better understand your dog.
Why Do Dogs Love to Lick Our Feet?
There are common reasons for a dog to lick a human. The first reason has to do with the human and canine bond. Licking is a way to indicate their feelings
. This is often why they will lick your face
as well. When a dog licks you they are indicating their position in the pack. They are acknowledging you as their master, showing submission, and are also displaying their loyalty.
The second reason why dogs love to lick our feet is to get attention
. Barking would be the more natural method. However, in many households the incessant dog barking proves to be counterproductive, as it gets only negative attention. So usually a dog is trained to only bark for certain things like visitors, or needing to go outside. So, if you have missed the hard stare, the nose nudging, or the furiously wagging tail, then a lick to the foot might surely get your attention. The next time your dog licks your foot, they might just want you to throw their ball or grab them a treat.
Another reason dogs lick humans, themselves, or other objects is to relieve stress
or beat boredom
. The licking behavior is thought to release endorphins
and help your dog reduce stress or cope with a situation. You might notice your dog licks more compulsively if they are nervous or afraid. Also it is simply a way they can occupy themselves and pass the time.
Yet another reason dogs may lick your feet is because they like the way you taste
. Dogs are attracted to the salt on human skin
, but also like any food debris you may have picked up in the kitchen. Also, if you are packing around an unfamiliar scent your dog might lick you. The sniff and lick method commonly performed by dogs is a way they can investigate. This process will provide your canine with information about where you were and what the unknown scent belongs to.
The fifth and final reason why dog licks is based on affection. Why do dogs love to lick our feet? Simply because they love us. In the canine world puppies lick their mothers for food. Dogs lick another dog’s mouth out of submission or respect. Often a dog will lick another dog to communicate friendship and affection. Why not do the same with their human?
Should I Worry if my Dog Always Licks my Feet?
Why do dogs love to lick our feet? This may be your first question, but closely behind it might be, is this something to be concerned about? For the most part your dog’s licking habits are harmless. However obsessive and repetitive licking could indicate a problem. If your dog’s licking behavior is constant it may require some behavioral modification.
If you think the behavior no longer working for one of the purposes listed above, you can and should contact your vet with any questions.
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I've been a dog lover since the day I was born but it's the current four legged love of my life, Phoebe who inspired me to create the Munch.Zone.We moved together from Israel to New York in 2013, love hiking together, and never pass up a trip to the dog park. Watching her over the years sparked so many questions about dog behavior and health needs, and it wasn't always easy to find answers. Thus, the Munch.Zone was born.On any given day you'll find me watching Netflix originals, eating popcorn, and thinking about how to get into house flipping.