Why Do Dogs Lick Your Face? 6 Reasons & How to Stop Excessive Licking

Why Do Dogs Lick Your Face

Last Updated on September 20, 2023 by Fumipets

Why Do Dogs Lick Your Face? 6 Reasons


Dogs commonly lick their owners’ faces, and this behavior can have various underlying reasons. While it may seem like a simple sign of affection, licking can serve several purposes for dogs, including communication, bonding, and seeking attention or comfort. Understanding why dogs engage in face licking can help owners interpret their pets’ needs and emotions.

Dogs Licking

Licking is an inherent canine action that canines utilize to communicate with humans and each other. You’ve come to the correct place if you’ve ever wondered why your dog licks your face. Your dog may lick your face to communicate, to keep you clean, to collect data, or just for amusement.

There are techniques to stop your dog from excessively licking your face if it is upsetting you. Learn the causes of dogs biting your face and how to stop it.

The 6 Reasons Why Dogs Lick Your Face

1. Affection

Dogs will lick your face to express their love. When they are pups, they often lick their littermates and learn how to lick from their mother. Licking may help to make family ties stronger in this manner. Your dog may be licking you because it loves you and wants to be close to you.

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2. Respect

Within a pack, dogs have a social hierarchy, and you are the pack leader. When a dog licks your face, it can be doing so to show you respect and obedience as the pack leader. Your dog is only demonstrating to you that it respects your authority.

3. Hunger

Dogs may sometimes lick you to let you know they are hungry. Puppy lips are licked by their mothers to encourage regurgitation. Dogs that live in packs will lick the pack leader’s face to request food. If it’s close to feeding time, your dog can be notifying you that food is ready.

4. Gather Information

Dogs use their jaws and whiskers to investigate their surroundings. Your dog may be attempting to determine your mood by licking your face since they are able to decipher the odors in human perspiration.

5. Grooming

Dogs lick themselves to remain clean, and after giving birth, moms will lick their puppies to clean them up. It’s possible that your dog is acting in this way when it licks your face to clean you up.

6. Enjoyment

Your dog may sometimes lick you just because it loves doing so and feels safe and secure doing so. Your dog could lick you solely to make you feel good as licking is a self-rewarding activity and generates feel-good endorphins.

Is It Dangerous for Dogs to Lick Your Face?

Dog saliva poses no health threat to adults or healthy youngsters. But, if your dog licks an open wound, this might leave the area open and encourage bacterial growth, which can result in an infection.

The capnocytophaga bacterium is found naturally in the saliva of people, dogs, and cats, according to the Centers for Disease Control. These bacteria may infect a person who has a damaged immune system. It’s crucial to limit your contact with dog or cat saliva as much as you can if you have this virus.

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Do not allow your dog to lick open sores or areas close to your mouth, eyes, or nose if you are concerned about infection. When your dog kisses you, wash your face or wipe the area with an antibacterial gel or spray.

How Can I Stop Face Licking?

A dog licking your face may not be dangerous, but it’s not everyone’s favorite activity. You may make some behavioral changes to your dog’s behavior to get it to stop.

Most essential, be aware that you can unintentionally encourage the habit of licking. You may reward your dog for licking your face by smiling or patting it, or you can punish it by asking it to stop. You’re promoting the conduct when this happens.

Redirecting the licking to a more suitable region, such as your hand or wrist, is the most effective technique to change this tendency. If you really detest licking, you may promote other types of affectionate behaviors, such as playing with your dog.


Some dogs might be too affectionate, even though many dog owners appreciate having their pet kiss their faces. Moreover, infections from canine saliva may be a concern for persons with weakened immune systems. Teach your dog other ways to show love if you wish to cease the habit, and divert any licking efforts. You can stop excessive licking with time.

5 Questions & Answers:



Why do dogs lick your face?

Dogs lick their owners’ faces for several reasons, including showing affection, seeking attention, displaying submission, and communicating their needs or emotions.


Is face licking always a sign of affection?

Not necessarily. While dogs often lick their owners’ faces as a way to show love and affection, it can also be a form of communication or an attempt to solicit attention or food.


Why do some dogs excessively lick their owners’ faces?

Excessive face licking can be a sign of anxiety, discomfort, or a compulsive behavior. It’s essential to monitor the context and frequency of this behavior and consult a veterinarian or dog behaviorist if it becomes problematic.

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Is it safe for dogs to lick human faces?

In most cases, gentle face licking from a healthy dog is considered safe. However, it’s important to maintain good hygiene and be cautious if your dog has open sores, is ill, or has a history of behavioral issues. Some people may also have allergies to dog saliva.


How can you discourage or redirect excessive face licking behavior?

To discourage excessive licking, you can redirect your dog’s attention with toys or treats, establish clear boundaries, and use positive reinforcement training. If the behavior persists or seems related to an underlying issue, consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist for guidance.



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