Why Do Dogs Lick Other Dogs’ Ears? Understanding This Instinctive Behavior

If you’ve been a dog owner for some time now, then you must have noticed that these canine buddies tend to portray different kinds of behaviors that you definitely don’t understand. One of those behaviors is ear licking. They seem to do it often, especially when they meet other dogs. Why is that?

Dogs usually lick other dogs’ ears when they first meet, like how we shake hands and introduce ourselves to one another. It is how dogs greet one another and as their cue to greet each other. Ear licking can also mean affection or simply grooming the other dog.

Ear licking and ear nibbling among dogs is not a new behavior that has only started to appear recently. It may seem like completely normal behavior. But what if your dog goes overboard with the ear licking? This article talks about everything you need to understand about why your dog licks other dog’s ears.

Should I Let My Dog Lick My Other Dog’s Ear?

In most instances, your dog licking another dog’s ear is a healthy and natural behavior that you shouldn’t interfere with. So, if your dog is licking another dog’s ears, you should sit back and enjoy the show.

However, you have to note that dogs are different when it comes to this kind of behavior. Some dogs can actually get annoyed with others who go overboard. This is why before they meet, make sure your dogs are already familiar with each other, so they know how your dog will react.

At other times, excessive ear licking may indicate a medical issue with the dog being licked such as an ear infection or a compulsive disorder with the one licking. In this case, you should take your dog to the vet if it shows signs of discomfort after getting licked by other dogs or vice versa.

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Why Do Female Dogs Lick Male Dog’s Ears?

Female dogs lick male dog’s ears as a sign of love, affection, grooming, or they’re in heat. Female dogs tend to act differently when they’re in heat and often get too friendly with any male dog around. This behavior is called flagging, and female dogs do it to attract male dogs to mate.

When a female dog flags, they position themselves so the male dog can mount them. When he does, she licks his ears as a sign of affection or simply getting to know him more.

But licking is not just restricted to the ear region only. Female dogs also lick other parts of the male’s body, especially if they are in heat.

Why Does My Little Dog Lick My Big Dog?

Your puppy senses that the big dog is stronger and tends to behave humbly around them. This is how most dogs behave when they sense inferiority under other dogs.

Another reason for this could be a conditioning behavior they got used to while with their mothers. It can be a behavior they learn from puppyhood and are now using it to groom the bigger dog, show affection, apologize for playing rough, or call for attention.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Licking Other Dog’s Ear?

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This instinctive behavior is part of a dog’s natural instincts. Some breeds like Doberman Pinschers and Cocker Spaniels are known to spend hours licking their ears. You can’t really stop this kind of behavior, but you can make it less frequent by distracting your dog with playtime or simply petting her.

It is best not to scold or punish your canine buddy when they lick another dog’s ears because that will only cause them to be aggressive or scared when they see other dogs. Just distract furry friends with a toy, treat, playtime, or simply pet them.

You should also pay attention to how your dog reacts when they get licked. If your pup doesn’t seem comfortable, talk with your vet about an ear solution that will keep their ears clean and healthy at the same time.

What Causes A Dog To Lick The Other’s Ears Excessively?

If the answer to the question “why does my dog lick another dog’s ears” is because they get too much affection, then this could be a reason behind it. Your dog may want more attention than usual, so they lick your other dog’s ear for more petting.

Another reason for this may be because something is attracting them to the other dog’s ear, such as ear wax. Talk with your vet about ear solutions to keep their ears clean and healthy.

Alternatively, you can consider getting a dog ear cleaner and regularly clean your dogs’ ears yourself. Depending on your dogs, they might like the procedure and look forward to it.

What Does It Mean When A Dog Licks Another Dog?

Most of the time, dogs licking each other is simply a sign of affection. Dogs already have a way of communicating with each other, but they also use their tongues to express themselves. They lick one another for reasons such as grooming, licking wounds, showing affection, or simply getting to know one another better.

So when your dog licks another dog’s ears, you shouldn’t be alarmed, especially if the whole act was gentle and without any problems. If the licking behavior is aggressive, however, you should immediately separate them and call a vet to check for two possible reasons:

Ear Infections

Dogs have ear wax glands that produce a light waxy substance to prevent dust from going inside their ears. This substance also acts as their natural protection against bacteria and other germs. Ear infections are common in dogs because their ear canals are also quite long, just like ours.

Ear Mites

These are small parasites that feed on the wax inside your dog’s ears, causing it to become red, swollen, and irritated. They look like tiny moving dots under a microscope or magnifying glass. Some breeds are more at risk of getting mites, especially those with long ears.

Why Is My Dog Suddenly Obsessed With Other Dogs?

Dogs portray this kind of obsessive behavior towards others due to different reasons. It can be because of anxiety, dominance, excitement, fear, or stress.


It is also called separation anxiety, and it is common in dogs that are left alone for long periods of time. This causes them to display obsessive behavior, such as licking other dogs’ ears excessively.


Dogs always have a pack mentality, especially if they are in a new environment. When they see an unfamiliar dog, the beta dog of the pack will approach and greet them by licking the ears or even the face.


If your dog is overly excited whenever they see another dog, they will want to show their excitement by licking their ears.


Dogs who are stressed out can also develop obsessive behavior. If your dog is constantly licking other dogs’ ears, it could be because of their anxiety or stress.

Can A Dog Licking Other Dog’s Ear Cause Infection?

When a dog excessively licks another dog’s ear, they cause a moist environment which creates a good environment for bacteria, mites, and wet ear wax to thrive. This could cause an ear infection in the other dog, which can eventually lead to hearing problems.

This licking can also cause an external ear infection called otitis externa. This is an inflammation or bacterial infection of your dog’s external ear canal.

How Can You Tell If A Dog Has Ear Infection?

Ear infections in dogs can be very painful, and it is already difficult for them to hear. This infection could also cause your dog to shake their head or scratch excessively on that side of its body. This can lead to other complications such as the rupturing of blood vessels, swollen lymph glands, etc.

Every time you suspect ear problems in your dog, you should immediately bring them to your vet. They will determine the extent of damage before they start treating it.

Can You Treat Dog’s Ear Infection At Home?

Ear infections in dogs are very difficult to treat at home. If you notice any signs of ear infection, do not attempt to give your dog any home remedies.

When your dog is constantly licking other dogs’ ears, it could indicate that they already have an ear infection. The best thing to do is bring them immediately to the vet and get the proper medication for treatment.

What Happens If A Dog’s Ear Infection Goes Untreated?

So if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above in your dog, be sure to bring them immediately to a vet before the problem gets worse.

It’s also essential to take your furry friend to regular checkups even when they show no signs of infection. This will help prevent any problems as the vet may identify them soon enough or prescribe remedies that can help.

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Pete Decker