Why dogs lick, is more likely to be behavioral than medical. We’ll go over some of the most common behavioral reasons and mention a few medical reasons. As always, if you suspect a medical issue we encourage you to see your veterinarian.
Dogs will lick their owners, most typically, because they like the saltiness of their skin. Not to mention, if they have applied a lotion that the dog may be especially fond of!
Your dog may lick you as a show of affection, or to get your attention. Even if they get pushed away, it’s better than being ignored. If you dislike it, try ignoring them during the licking and if they stop without your feedback, then it is likely the taste or how it makes them feel, such as affection towards you.
Why dogs lick may simply be because they are bored and/or it has become a habit. If the licking of themselves becomes excessive creating skin irritations, avoid punishment. Rather try redirecting them with a chew toy or a Kong filled with peanut butter that has been frozen. This will help redirect their licking, reward them for it with positive feedback!
It may also be beneficial to make sure they have plenty of exercise to ease their boredom. Top Dog has many affordable walking options to help if you are unable to provide the exercise they need!
Calm or Soothe
Licking releases endorphins and your dog may engage in lengthy licking sessions, either with you, themselves, or a favorite toy, to soothe anxiety or relax before bed.
Excessive licking may be the sign of an underlying medical issue. If you notice hair loss or skin irritation, it may be time to see your veterinarian. Some underlying medical issues may include: allergies, infection or even pain. Again, your veterinarian can determine what medical issues may be occurring with your dog.