Why Do Dogs Lick Us?

Coming home from a tough day-at-the-office to your dog who is overwhelmed with excitement can put a smile on anyone's face. You are greeted by a wagging tail and lots of licks... but what do these licks actually mean? Why do dogs lick us?

We are going through some of the reasons why 😝.

Puppy sitting
Sourced: akc.org

They are giving us affection

Yip, many of us think this - and this is one of the reasons 😁.
Your doggo is simply just giving you some affection. "So they are giving us kisses?" You may ask. Yes and no, dogs are reciprocal – if a dog licks you, and you respond with hugs, kisses or playing, the dog will want to repeat this behaviour. Even if they’re licking you for a reason besides wanting to show affection, they will continue to do it if you respond with these actions. Figuring out the intensity and frequency of the licks, and whether they’re licking your hands, feet or face, can help you better understand.

Puppy sitting
Sourced: dogster.com

Figuring out our mood

If your doggo enjoys licking your sweaty hands or feet, it’s probably a different reason altogether – and here is why. Dogs are driven by their senses, and often, it’s the first part of our body that we reach out to them. We give off pheromones in our sweat, which can be decoded by dogs to better understand our mood. It’s not captured by the tongue, but instead, licking sends signals to the vomeronasal organ to figure us out.

Puppy sitting
Sourced: theanxiouspet.com

We taste good

Most dogs will do anything to get their hands on something to eat. Whether they’re licking crumbs off the floor, getting the last scraps from their bowl, or cleaning up after a spill, they’re usually the first to get involved. The same goes for when they lick us. They might able to lick the last bits of food after we’ve been eating, but they are also attracted to the taste of salt on our skin. Whether this is for the taste or more for our pheromones is open to debate.

Puppy sitting
Sourced: vetdepot.com

They’re showing empathy

Like we mentioned in one of our previous articles, dogs are fantastic at reading us. Its been found that dogs licked, nuzzled or sniffed their owner when they pretended to cry more often than when they were humming or talking. This pattern of response should be quite comforting to dog owners; especially those who can vouch for the fact that dogs can definitely detect when an owner is upset. Licking is generally a mechanism for dogs to find out more things about you.

Puppy sitting
Sourced: drmarty.net


Contact Us


Vissershok Road, Durbanville Hills, Cape Town


+27 21 979 7007

Paw Print