Dogs lick each other’s faces for a variety of reasons, and these include a sign of affection, to apologize for bad behavior, to show submission, or due to an underlying medical condition.
Similar to human kisses, face-licking among dogs is a sign of affection among our furry friends. And you can also tell that two pooches are affectionate towards each other when they take turns to lick each other’s faces.
As A Form Of Apology
It may also interest you to know that dogs lick each other’s faces to apologize for either rough play or to communicate peaceful intent. And you can tell if the apology is accepted if the receiving dog licks back.
Two dogs meeting each other either for the first time or after a long time apart may lick each other on the lips to express their excitement at meeting each other. In the same vein, licking each other on the lips is also a sign that both dogs are ready to play.
To Show Submission
Dogs are hierarchical by nature, and in an interaction between two dogs, you can often find the more submissive dog licking the dominant dog’s face in a bid to show respect and build rapport.
And in addition to face-licking, you can also tell that a dog is being submissive if you notice behavior such as:
- A dog rolling onto its back or lying belly up
- Flattening of the ears against the head
- Refusal to make eye contact with the other dog, just to mention a few
A Sign Of Hunger
Puppies are seemingly always hungry, and if you notice your young furry friend licking the mouth of an older dog, then such a pooch may be trying to communicate to the older dog that it is hungry.
This behavior is mostly observed among wild dogs. And according to the American Kennel Club, wild puppies typically lick their mother’s lips when she returns from a hunt, to get her to regurgitate some of the pre-digested meal.
This behavior of licking their mother’s lips to get food is also observed in domestic dogs, and it typically occurs when the puppies are placed on a solid food diet.
Dogs are masters of self-grooming, but it isn’t uncommon to see a female dog with a litter licking her puppies’ faces in a bid to groom and keep them clean.
Presence Of An Injury
Canine face-licking is predominantly classified as social interaction, but there’s every possibility that a dog is licking another pooch’s face due to the presence of an injury on the face.
Sometimes, a dog may be licking another pooch’s face in a bid to tend to a cut, scrape, or even tumors that require urgent medical attention.
Hence, whenever you notice two dogs licking each other’s faces, the first point of action should be to examine the dog’s face for signs of injury. And if you discover an injury on the dog’s face, prompt emergency veterinary care should be provided for such a dog.
An Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Licking is quite helpful in calming dogs. And when certain dogs discover how calming this activity can be, they take to excessive licking other pooches’ faces.