Why Do Dogs Lick Your Face

Whether or not you like it when your dog licks your face, it is important that you understand what your dog is trying to let you know with the sloppy gesture. This is because dogs will often lick their human companions’ faces to pass important messages.

The best known reason why dogs lick your face is as a sign of affection, or simply how they show their love for you.

However, there are other surprising facts about our four-legged best friends and why they lick our faces from licking as a sign of submission to face licking as a tool for investigating the unfamiliar.

Here are 6 facts about why dogs lick your face that you should know about.

6. Submission

Image from Darwin’s Pet

Dogs are pack animals and love hierarchy. If you have established yourself as the alpha in your home, your dog may lick your face as a sign of submission and peace. In this case, the licking will be calm and brief.

The dog may also lick you as a sign that they see you as an equal. This means that they don’t entirely submit to you as the alpha but at the same time do not consider you a lesser member of the pack.

5. Inspection

Image from K9Cuisine

Dogs are naturally very curious creatures. Therefore, they may be licking your face as a way to inspect you or investigate something unfamiliar.

Maybe you have put on a new brand of aftershave or tried some new perfume that they are not familiar with. The dog may also lick the faces of strangers for this same reason.

Here, the dog will not only lick your face but also intentionally smell you as they try to get acquainted with the new smells and tastes.

4. Free Grooming

Image from Pet Plate

Dogs groom their human companions especially if they see you as one of their puppies or as a sibling. This kind of face licking by your dog is instinctive and usually triggered by memories of the pooch’s own childhoods being groomed by their mothers.

As with the tasting, the dog may not be very excited but instead looks determined to complete the task. What makes this face licking different from when the dog licks for taste is that they will lick you all over your face, including your hair and not just a specific spot.

3. Attention-Seeking Behavior

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Most dog breeds thrive on attention from their favorite humans. One way they get this attention is by licking your face.

You will notice this a lot when you are sleeping or happen to take a nap when your dog is wide awake and wants you to do something. They will usually lick your face to wake you up and get you to do whatever they want whether it is playing or feeding them.

2. You Have Food On Your Face

Image from Pet Plate

Another common reason why dogs lick their owners’ faces is because they like the taste. It could be that you had a tasty dinner and still have some food or at least the smell and taste of the food around your face.

The dog in this case will be licking on your face as a way to get some of the tasty treats you were enjoying. This face-licking may not always be accompanied by signs of affection like a wagging tail. Instead, the dog will have more of a focused and determined demeanor.

1. Doggy Kisses

Image from Petmate

Your dog is most likely licking your face as a way to show your affection. Dogs, of course, don’t understand the concept of kisses as humans do but the intentions are the same.

In these cases, your dog’s body language will also be screaming love and contentment. This includes leaning on you for snuggles and wagging their tail happily.

You can expect these kinds of kisses after being away for a while as your dog tries to remind you that they love you very much.

Is It Good To Let Your Dog Lick Your Face? It is technically not a good idea to let your dog lick your face mainly for your own safety. Dog saliva contains germs that your immune system may not be strong enough to fight off properly. These could enter through your mouth, nose, or eyes resulting in local or systemic complications.

Why Does My Dog Lick My Face Before Bed? Your dog may be licking your face before bed out of instinct and memory. Mother dogs do this to their young puppies before they sleep as a way to groom the pupscalm them down, and stimulate their growth. So if your dog is licking your face before you go to bed it is probably because they see you as one of their pups that needs the same sleep time routine they had.

Is A Dog Licking Your Face A Sign Of Dominance? When a dog licks your face, it is unlikely to be an assertion of their dominance. If anything, dogs are believed to lick people or other dogs as a sign of submission or at least to show that they see you as their equal. So you don’t have to worry about aggression.

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Pete Decker