Keep your dog from licking you

keep your dog from licking youAs a veterinarian I’m always cringing when I observe dogs licking their owner’s face.  I just know too much about all the hazards you receive by allowing your dog to do that.  There are two important facts you need to know about dogs that are licking people’s faces.

First point is about hygiene.

Updated 2017

You know that your dog isn’t as clean as humans are.  Well, I clarify this statement by saying that dogs are sort of clean.  They groom themselves with their tongues, but not in the same manner like cats do.  Dogs only lick their privates and feet, that’s it.  And the reason is not because they are less flexible than cats.  The reason is that dogs need to have smelly bodies, they often even roll in smelly things.  The smell dogs are carrying is like a story they are telling to other dogs.  This behavior is rooted in their instinct since their wolf origin.  Of course, I have to add here that there are dogs that groom themselves more than others.

The other point is about the origin of the dogs licking behavior.  Wolfs have strict hierarchy in their pack.  To keep this hierarchy alive lower ranked pack members show their submission by licking the mouth of the ones that stand higher in the pack’s hierarchy.  This sign of submission is very subtly including also affection and a wish for attention.  Dogs show this behavior without exception, meaning when your dog is licking your face, he presents his submission by asking at the same time for your attention.

keep your dog from licking youAs dog owner you might even encourage your dog’s licking behavior through your wish of kissing your beloved pet.  This works for your dog and will embolden him to lick you as answer.

On the other hand obsessive licking can be a sign of a bored and attention-craving dog expressing an heightened anxiety. Try to give your dog the right kind of attention through playing with him, walking and grooming. And with time your dog’s anxiety transforms into calmness.

All this said, let’s conclude that your dog’s licking behavior is actually hazardous for your health.  Studies showed that dog owners carry as a percentage more and even hazardous microbes in their mouths than any other person.

So what can you do? If you’re busy at the moment your dog wants to lick you, do not give neither attention nor affection.  With time your dog learns that licking doesn’t bring the desired result.  But if you have time for your dog, distract his behavior.  Keep your dog occupied with toys, play fetching balls.  Burning energy very often helps to curb your dog’s licking and other anxiety behavior.  It might sound simple, but walking your dog as often and as long as possible is one of the best methods to turn negative behaviors of dogs around.

I found this set of dog tennis balls that are for such situations just perfect as a dog toy.

Dog Tennis Balls

The Dog's Balls Dog Tennis Balls

Product Highlights

  • 12 strong dog tennis balls
  • Extra thick natural rubber walls
  • Certified non-toxic non-abrasive felt
  • No squeaker

Customer reviews

I purchased these dog balls for my black lab. What I like about these balls is they are very durable. Another positive thing, is because they have been so durable I don’t have to worry about her choking on the pieces of broken ball.

These balls are tough!  I have 2 pit bulls and an Akita and they have been playing and chewing on these balls for 5 days so far.  They are bouncy which makes play time fun with them.

Great balls for your dogs.  Comes in a drawstring bag so easy to keep them all together and comes with 12 balls inside.  Balls bounce well on the floor and can be easily thrown far.


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2 Responses to Keep your dog from licking you

  1. Thank you for the information you’ve shared here. I have two pugs and one of them always licks our knee caps when he sits on our laps. Luckily he never tries to lick our faces—I’ve seen what he eats out in the yard and I definitely do NOT want him to lick my face!

  2. Cecilia says:

    Thank you, Marcia. I’m glad your dog doesn’t try to lick your face.

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