When your dog is excited to see you, he might show his enthusiasm with a big wet smooch on your face, but dogs don’t just lick to show that they missed you. Licking is a common behavior for dogs, and it is often just part of a normal routine. There are, however, instances where licking might be a sign of anxiety or uncleanliness, and these cases should be addressed. Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons dogs love to lick.
To Clean Themselves
Much like cats, dogs lick to groom. They might lick their paws or private parts to keep clean, but excessive licking can be a problem. If your dog is licking to the point of removing fur or won’t leave certain areas alone, he may be suffering from skin allergies or need a trip to the groomer. Female dogs may excessively lick if they have certain infections, such as yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis, which is common in younger pups.
To Enjoy Tasty Food Crumbs
Many times, dogs will lick in search of treats. They lick the floor to clean up the remnants of crumbs or spills, they lick their bowls in hopes of remaining kibbles, and they lick their owners because their skin tastes of salt.
To Heal Wounds
If your dog has a cut or wound, he’ll probably try to lick it frequently, and this is a natural urge, because dog saliva has enzymes that naturally fight off bacteria. However, many dogs don’t know when to stop, so they lick to the point of irritation. That’s why your dog may need a cone or protective bandages to wrap up an injury or surgical scar.
To Show Affection and Obedience
It’s not wrong to assume that your dog wants to lay a smooch on you out of love. Dogs do lick to show submission and affection, though constant or agitated licking might indicate some source of anxiety or a request for something like water or a trip outside.
To better understand what your dog is trying to tell you and know when your pet’s habits are not the healthiest, pay a visit to Horizon Animal Hospital in Scottsdale. You can reach us on our website or by calling (480) 800-4559.