Why Dogs Lick Each Others Ears – 6 Reasons for This Behavior

Why Dogs Lick Each Other’s Ears

Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Fumipets

Why Dogs Lick Each Other’s Ears: Unveiling Canine Social Behavior


Dogs are known for their curious and sometimes puzzling behaviors, one of which includes licking each other’s ears. While this action might seem odd or even off-putting to humans, it serves several important purposes in the canine world.

Dogs licking each other’s ears is primarily a form of social interaction and communication. It can convey a range of messages, from bonding and affection to submission and respect. Understanding why dogs engage in this behavior sheds light on their complex social dynamics and how they build relationships with one another.

Why Dogs Lick Each Other’s Ears

Dogs and other furry friends are well recognized for their adorable, humorous, and sometimes odd and unusual actions, such as when they kiss one other’s ears. While this conduct may be disgusting to you, it is commonplace to them. Why do they do it, and how did it begin?

Where Did It All Start?

Prior to being our personal companions, the majority of dog breeds were pack animals. A pack’s social structure is ever-evolving, therefore the animals must develop effective communication. Licking is one of the most typical ways that dogs communicate, however they may also use other methods like barking.

Prior to becoming domesticated hundreds of years ago, dogs were pack animals. Members of the pack would lick the other dogs to let them know they were there during a reunion. Therefore, licking played a crucial role in their pack’s daily activities.

Licking could be compared to a canine version of the high five. As dogs are still group creatures at heart, licking may never end.

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Dogs that are close to one another often groom one another. Your dog could lick you to express love and another dog to express affection. From the time they are pups, grooming and attention are started.

A mother dog would often kiss her pups to show them love and groom them. A puppy may thus learn from its mother that licking is a positive expression of love and that the tongue is a tool for grooming.

The 6 Reasons Why Dogs Lick Each Others Ears

Dogs may lick each other for a variety of reasons, as we’ve already discussed. Some of the explanations are as follows:

1. Grooming

Your dog may surprise you by caring about their cleanliness even when you think they’re disgusting. Your dog may clean itself by licking. The other dogs step in here since dogs cannot reach their ears to groom them.

Two canines who are good friends or members of the same family feel at ease grooming one another. So, one of the grooming techniques involves licking each other’s ears.

Although licking your dog’s ears may help prevent ear mites, excessive licking might irritate your skin. The skin on your dog’s ears can be irritated if the other dog that is licking them is being very aggressive.

Your pup’s aggressive licking might result in ear infections, so be careful to inspect, clean, and attempt to limit the licking.

2. Submission

As has already been noted, dogs are still pack animals genetically. In a pack situation, there must be dogs of a higher rank and those of a lower rank. Typically, the larger, older individuals hold the upper ranks, while the smaller, younger individuals hold the lesser positions.

These canines on the lower level will lick the senior dogs to demonstrate their awe, respect, and subordination to them. If you have more than one dog in your house, you may have observed that the younger dogs sometimes lick the older ones.

3. Delicious Ear Wax!

No matter how disgusting it may seem, many dogs really like the taste of ear wax. Since that ear wax is said to be somewhat salty, your dog will undoubtedly like it if they enjoy salty foods.

But, if the fondness for earwax gets extreme, it may not be the greatest. The other dog can go mad if your dog is obsessed with ear wax. Also, as we previously said, excessive licking may be dangerous, so be sure to try to curtail this tendency.

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4. Infection

Dogs possess a very keen sense of smell. In fact, it has been said that a dog may detect an illness even before it manifests its symptoms. Due to their ability to detect infections, your dog may also be licking the other dog’s ears in an effort to clear them out.

Even though it sounds disgusting, discharge or yeast may sometimes result from infections, and your dog can even like it. Consider sending your dog to the doctor for a checkup if you discover that your dog begins to lick its partner after previously refusing to do so.

5. It’s Better than a Butt Sniff

Some dogs may prevent this from occurring, while some dogs like the traditional butt sniff welcome. If this occurs, the sniffing dog will have no choice but to employ a similarly efficient licking procedure.

6. Licking Has a Soothing Effect

Both humans and canines have anxious tics from time to time. Dogs lick themselves to get rid of their anxious tics. They are able to lick both their own paws and those of other dogs. Maybe that’s why your worried dog keeps licking the ears of other dogs.

Stopping the licking is not the sole solution to this problem. You have the option to divert your licking impulse. This will be covered in the section following.

Is It Safe?

Your next concern would be if this behavior is safe now that you understand why dogs lick one other’s ears. The answer is both yes and no, depending on their motivations.

That is often beneficial for the licked dog. That may not be safe for the licked dog, however, if you have a heavy licker. If the licking comes on suddenly, your veterinarian may advise you to get it checked for ear infections.

How Do I Stop It?

If you have a dog that licks other dogs excessively, you should stop them from doing so. Thankfully, it is simple to stop them from licking each other’s ears by doing the following:

Divert Your Dog’s Attention

Maybe you could get them a plaything that interacts with them. To prevent encouraging the habit and making the issue worse, it is crucial to provide the toy before the licking activity begins. Be vigilant and keep track of situations when the behavior is shown; soon you’ll be able to predict it, at which time you may start a play session or provide a toy.

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Although the conventional dog toys may keep your dog entertained, some canines become bored too quickly. If so, your best option is an interactive toy. These toys could include rewards, and your dog must play with the toy in order to get the treat. It’s a good idea to get your dog many toys so they have something to play with every day of the week.

Give Them Something to Lick

Recall that one of the reasons your dog licks the ears of the other dog is to make them feel better. They may lick a portion of people, but when they get bored, they turn to other dogs and lick their ears.

In this scenario, a silicone lick pad is helpful. You may get a silicone lick pad for your dog and mount it on the wall.

The next step is to spread peanut butter on the pad and get your dog to lick it. Your dog will spend a lot of time licking the silicone pad and using it to relax themselves since it takes a while for the dog to lick off all the butter.


Even though it looks and sounds disgusting to observe your dog licking another dog, most canines regularly do it. To determine whether it becomes excessive, you must examine attentively.

If so, you must take action. See a veterinarian, look for anything to occupy them, or offer them something else to lick.

Questions & Answers:



Why do dogs lick each other’s ears?

Dog ear licking is a multi-purpose behavior. It can signify affection, a desire to groom or clean a fellow canine, and sometimes submission or respect within a social hierarchy.


Is ear licking exclusive to specific dog breeds or ages?

Ear licking can be observed across all breeds and age groups of dogs. It’s a common form of social interaction in the canine world.


Can ear licking indicate any underlying health issues?

While occasional ear licking between dogs is typically harmless, excessive or obsessive ear licking might indicate an underlying ear infection, allergies, or skin irritation. If you notice persistent ear licking, it’s wise to consult a veterinarian.


Are there situations where ear licking might be discouraged among dogs?

In general, ear licking is a natural and harmless behavior among dogs. However, if it becomes obsessive or leads to discomfort for one dog, intervention or redirection might be necessary.


How can dog owners interpret ear licking between their pets?

Dog owners can interpret ear licking by observing the context and body language accompanying the behavior. If it occurs during play, grooming, or relaxed interactions, it’s likely a sign of social bonding and affection. Understanding the overall dynamics of the dogs involved can provide valuable insights.



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