Why Do Dogs Lick?
Dogs lick for lots of different reasons. It can really depend on the dog. LIcking is a natural impulse for dogs. Mother dogs lick puppies at birth to clean them and to get them breathing right after delivery. It’s part of giving birth. They will go on licking them in order to wash them for several weeks. And many dogs keep licking other dogs, and people, as a way to wash. They may also lick because it is relaxing, both to the dog that’s licking and to the dog that’s getting licked.
Why Do Dogs Lick People?
If your dog licks you, then your dog may find it soothing. Or your dog may be using their instincts. For instance, in nature, canines use licking as part of displaying the dog hierarchy. It is not unusual for a puppy to lick a dog that is higher in social status as a way of saying, “Hey, I want you to like me.” So, your dog may be doing the same thing to you.
Or, your dog may just like the taste of your skin! Maybe your dog just likes you and wants to show you some affection. That’s another possibility. Dogs are very affectionate, as we all know, so licking can be a way for dogs to “give kisses.”
Why Do Dogs Lick Themselves?
Dogs lick themselves to wash themselves, in the same way that cats wash themselves. If a dog has a skin or coat problem, then you may notice your dog licking himself a lot more. If your dog gets into something dirty or smelly, then your dog will probably start licking himself a lot.
Some dogs may start licking themselves if they are bored. This can sometimes become a serious problem, especially if they become anxious and start making their skin raw or red. You may need to see a veterinarian and find a treatment for your dog’s skin problem in this case, or you may need to find a way to discourage your dog from licking his skin so much.
Why Do Dogs Lick Their Paws?
A dog may lick his paws if he has allergy problems. In some cases, if a dog has allergies he will start to have itchy, red, or irritated paws. You may not notice anything until the itching starts making your dog lick his paws. Once your dog starts licking his paws, then they start to become red and irritated, and it becomes a cycle. The more your dog licks, the more irritated they become, until they start to get infected. If your dog is licking his paws it’s often a good idea to take him to the vet to see if there’s an allergy or inflammation. Your vet can often do something to help the problem before it becomes worse. Your vet may give you some medication to put on your dog’s paws or your dog may need to wear an E-collar (Elizabethan collar — like a cone-shaped collar) to keep him from licking or biting his paws) while they get better.
Dogs lick people, themselves, and their paws, for lots of different reasons. It’s a natural behavior for them. Finding out why your dog is licking can tell you a lot about your dog.
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