Why do dogs lick people..? If it isn't to be cute and hilarious, then why?!

Dogs lick people for many reasons, we will explore a handful of those reasons in this episode!

Affection and Love

One of the main reasons your dog might lick people is to show affection and love. Although we can't get inside our dog's brains, there seems to be strong reasoning that dogs lick people to show some love.

Our dogs can't talk or communicate their love, so they often find other ways to do that! Sometimes it is a lick on the leg, sometimes a snuggle, and sometimes just a tail wag when we're having a bad day.

Mothers often lick their young puppies to clean them and connect, and it is believed that action is passed on to their pups as well.

It's In Their DNA

Similarly, many wild dogs, coyotes, wolves, etc. will lick other members of their pack. This is often done by pups when a parent returns as a way to ask for food.

Our pups have many distant (and not so distant) similarities to those wild species, and that desire to lick is likely in their DNA.

Of course, just because your dog licks you doesn't mean they're looking for food! But it might be part of it, at least deep down in their DNA.


In my own opinion only, I think this is the main reason.

Again, our dogs only have limited ways of communicating with us and we often don't like some of those ways (looking at you, barking). So, naturally, our dogs learn to find ways to communicate so that it's more enjoyable to humans.

If my dogs are overly bored or wanting to do something fun, they'll often come up and lick my leg until they get my attention.

So if your dog is coming up and licking you a lot, you may need to give them just a little more attention!

You Taste Good

Alright, I know that is weird... but dogs are much different than humans! Their mouth is one of the main ways they explore the world around them.

And when they find something that has an interesting taste, they'll probably keep coming back! As humans, we do have a slightly salty taste to our skin, especially after sweating.

Weird, right? But dogs can do weird things.


This can be lumped in with the 'attention' category, but oftentimes you'll see a dog lick a person more frequently when they are very excited! Again, it's a way to communicate.

Additionally, if dogs are shy, nervous, or submissive, you may see more licking than normal. Licking people (or dogs) can be a way for a dog to show that they are not a threat.

Is It Bad for Your Dog to Lick You?

Naturally, you may be wondering if it is bad for your dog to lick you...

The short answer, probably not. As long as you don't have open wounds or a weak immune system, you'll likely be fine!

But with that being said, dogs' mouths are kind of gross! Think about the different number of things your dog eats, licks, or puts in its mouth every day... That's why you wanna be a bit cautious with any licking near your mouth or face area.

Again, you will likely be fine but there have been rare instances (very rare) where people have gotten unique/obscure diseases from their dogs.


Overall, we don't know the exact reason why dogs lick people but it can often be for attention, affection, or just cause they like the taste of our skin!

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Intro music cred to Kevin May: https://soundcloud.com/kevin_may


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