Why Do Dogs Lick Your Legs? Should This Be Encouraged?

Most dog owners ask this common question: “why does my dog lick my legs?” It’s one of the many questions about animal behavior. There are different ways to answer them.

Now, why does your furry buddy lick your legs? It might be hard to understand, but dogs are kind animals. Dogs are very different from humans in how they are made. They communicate, show love, and act uniquely to their breed, and it helps them be the best animals they can be. Even though it feels weird, there is a good reason for it.

Your dog licks your leg for several reasons, and this is something that all dogs are born with. This could be for reasons like communicating, getting attention, showing that it is submissive, or because it simply enjoys licking.

This article will help you figure out why your dog licks your legs. You will also know when this behavior might be dangerous for you and your pet and ways to stop when needed. We start by providing reasons why dogs behave this way. Read on to know them.

Why Do Dogs Lick People’s Feet?

Image from Instagram:@feetandbootworship

Your dog licks your feet to get your attention, show you how it feels, get information about you or where you’ve been, or just because it likes the taste of your feet.

Your furry friend will lick your feet because of the following:

Wants Your Attention

Dogs are smart and social animals. They always look for clues and chances to get what they want. Your canine buddy might like what he’s tasting when licking your legs now and then.

It’s also possible that it has learned to lick you all the time. And it works out most of the time because your pooch always gets your attention through that.

Is Bored

Your pet may be bored and is seeking stimulation. Dogs tend to look for ways to stimulate themselves when they are bored.

This is more likely if it licks your feet more frequently prior to exercising. You will notice your rover begins to lick your legs more if it has not been out for a walk.

Trying To Communicate

A mother wolf would give her babies food from her hunt by licking them on the face in the wild. Dogs would lick the mouth and face of other dogs they meet to show they care about them.

These dogs may also lick their owners, a stranger, or another dog to determine what they want. You’ll often see your doggo licking the feet of people to figure out what their intentions are or to show that they are in charge.

There Is A Problem

There’s a big difference between a dog who sometimes tastes their toes or one who is a real fan of your feet. If your furry friend is in the latter group, you might be looking at a dog acting out as a way to deal with stress.

It can also be that there is some stress in the dog’s life, like a change in routine, a health problem, or something else.

Likes The Taste

Unlike humans, dogs’ strongest sense organs are their mouths and noses. Your dog may be licking your legs because it thinks there’s something tasty or smelly there.

It’s time to talk about how your dog is tasting and smelling the world you both live in. When it comes to senses of taste and smell, dogs have an advantage over us that makes them better than we are.

Dogs have an organ that lets them simultaneously smell and taste. Humans lack this organ to do the same. People can smell and taste each other, but they happen one after another. Dogs smell and taste everything at once, which will always help them as your pet.

A Coping Mechanism 

When a dog licks anything, endorphins are released, which are pain and stress-relieving hormones. If your dog licks a lot, whether it’s on your feet, their own feet, their toys, or even the floor, it may be a self-soothing behavior.

Your dog’s foot-licking could be a means of calming down after a stressful period if there have been fireworks or if you’ve been away from home for the weekend.

Acknowledging The Act

Dogs can often read people and want to help. They can also sense when you are happy even when you don’t mean to laugh. Perhaps you acknowledge—even if subconsciously—your rover licking your feet. Maybe your dog knows something about you that you won’t tell yourself.

Further, giggling is a positive response. If you are ticklish, your dog may have overheard your laughter and assume you love them licking your feet.

Wriggling your tickly feet around is probably entertaining to your doggie as well, and it has come to see licking your feet as a game.

Why Do Dogs Lick Your Feet After A Shower?

A lot of people think their four-legged furry buddy licks them after showering because it loves them, but it’s more likely that it wants to look at the water droplets on your skin or smell your body wash or lotion.

Canines are curious, and they naturally want to find out what it is. Hence, they lick your feet to taste and smell the lotion.

There is no reason to be afraid of this act. Human body washes and lotions are not harmful to canines if they don’t take them in large amounts. There’s a minimal chance that your pooch will fall sick if it licks some lotion off your leg.

Are Dog Licks Really Kisses?

Image from Instagram:@hana.shibe1223

Dogs use licking as a means of communication and excitement, and it feels like kisses to them.

“Dog kisses” is an instinctive urge that begins at birth. Your doggie’s kisses are forms of affection, just as you might expect. That is, when combined with butt wiggles and other happy signs, it is loving.

When you get home from a long day at work, your dog, for example, wants to scream, “Hi Mom!” I’m overjoyed that you’ve returned!” Then there are the puppy kisses, which are a natural display of devotion.

When your dog licks for affection, endorphins are released, relaxing, comforting, and securing it. It wants you to know you are the most important person in its life.

Does Your Dog Know You Love Her/Him?

Yes, dogs are often aware of their owners’ love for them. Dogs and humans have a unique relationship in which dogs have taken over the human oxytocin bonding route, which is generally allocated for human newborns.

When you stare at your dog, both of your oxytocin levels rise, just as they do when you start petting and playing with them. It makes the two of you happy and strengthens your friendship.

Do you ever catch your dog staring at you for no apparent reason? They’re just looking at you and “embracing” you with their gaze.

Can Dogs Have A Favorite Person?

Dogs can have a favorite person. Not all dogs are attached to just one person, but some are, and this attachment is thought to develop during the first few months of a dog’s existence. Dogs make eye contact with you to bond with you, the same as humans do with each other.

And, like humans, they are social beings who cannot survive alone. Among the many persons in their lives, our four-legged pals pick one person to whom they devote the majority of their love and devotion.

Also, dogs have such a strong attachment with their people that they may grow envious if they witness their favorite person with other animals.

Does your canine buddy keep a close eye on you as the rest of the family goes about their business? Does it greet you every morning as if it’s been weeks since it last saw you? Does it follow you around everywhere you go, including the bathroom? Then you might be your doggie’s favorite person.

Is It Okay For Your Dog To Lick Your Feet?

Whether you like it or not, your dog will lick your feet. You should, however, know that dogs rarely become ill due to licking your feet, which is usually safe.

Is It Bad For Dogs To Lick Sweat?

There are no toxic elements in your sweat, so it is safe if your dog licks your sweat. Sweat is 99% water with minor amounts of salt, proteins, carbs, and urea.

As a result, sweat does not contain toxins from your body and the idea that sweat may cleanse the body is debunked.

You don’t sweat toxins out of your body. Your liver, intestines, and kidneys eliminate toxins like mercury, alcohol, and most narcotics. Based on this, dogs cannot go high by licking an addict’s sweat.

Is It Safe To Let A Dog Lick You?

When canine saliva comes into contact with intact human skin, it is highly unlikely to create any difficulties, especially in a healthy person, because there will be very little absorption through the human skin.

Therefore, allowing your canine companion to lick you is usually acceptable. It won’t affect you as long as you’re in good health.

An open wound is the only thing you should be concerned about. If you have one on your body and your dog licks it, the dog’s saliva may keep the wound moist and open, allowing bacteria to grow. This could result in a potentially dangerous skin infection.

Nevertheless, you should discourage excessive licking. You can visit your vet if your dog is licking you or other animals incessantly.

Image from Instagram:@kira_the_rough_collie

Should I Let My Dog Lick My Leg?

Allowing your pooch to lick your leg is very natural. It’s a thoughtful gesture on its part. However, when your dog’s licking becomes obsessive, it’s a sign that something is wrong. This might be a sign of a problem.

Constant licking can quickly become a taught stress-reduction method. It is the polar opposite of stress reduction and may necessitate behavioral changes and pharmacological intervention when it reaches this point.

However, the same study further states that as long as there’s no hair or fibers ingested, there’s no harm in your canine buddy licking you.

How Can I Stop My Dog From Licking My Feet?

Dogs have a natural desire to please humans, so if they get a favorable response from licking your feet, you can bet they’ll do it again and again.

Of course, the occasional dog lick is perfectly acceptable. As dog owners, you cherish the intimate bond you have with your pets, but be mindful of rewarding behavior that you don’t want to repeat in the future.

A puppy or young dog should gradually learn that licking can only bring instant gratification lasting for a temporary moment. This should stop it from seeing licking as a good thing or a habit.

If your dog already has a licking tendency, here are suggestions on how to break it.

Exercise Your Pet Regularly

One other thing you can do is to exercise your pooch. Take it out for a walk and let it release that pent-up energy in it. A daily dose of exercise is a great way to stimulate your canine companion and curb boredom.

Change Your Toiletry

Although it may seem strange, your dog may be encouraged to lick you because you are tasty. For example, if you use cocoa butter as a body lotion, you might smell like a delicious treat.

Other sweet-smelling perfumes or hand creams could also be a call to lick down. Citrus odors are typically not appealing to dogs, so try substituting your sweet-scented products with citrus scents like lemon, grapefruit, or orange.

Wash Your Hands Thoroughly

Your hands absorb a lot of odors, especially after eating, cooking, or sweating. When your dog licks your hands, they all taste pretty delicious.

You should wash your hands thoroughly with soap. Because dogs dislike the flavor of citrus, you could even use a spritz of fresh lemon juice.

Image from Instagram:@estrellitafoxy

Wear Socks

In the eyes of a dog, sweaty feet can be a true delicacy. If your feet become sweaty, wash them or wear socks to keep your dog from licking in between your toes.

Distract Your Doggo

Distract your dog with toys, games, or even bones, to keep your dog from treating your legs like a lollipop. If your dog begins to lick you, move away and distract it with something else. Walk around the room or toss them a toy to fetch.

Don’t Reward At All

If your young dog has started licking you to attract attention, make sure you and others don’t encourage the behavior by rewarding it with treatsWhen your dog begins to lick you, simply move your leg (or feet, or whatever) out of the way and ignore them.

Saying “No!” or anything else that could be construed as a call for attention is not a good idea. You can pay attention to it once it stops trying to lick. Simply move away from it without saying anything or looking at it if it does not cease after about 10 seconds.

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Pete Decker