Why Does My Dog Lick My Hands?
Your dog will never miss a chance of greeting you, whether you return after a few hours or a few days. Dogs love to show their affection by wagging the tail, jumping around you, and licking your hands. It seems quite fascinating that someone is quite excited to have you back, especially after a tiring day.
However, there are some questions that puzzle pet owners. People often wonder “why does my dog lick my hands”. Is it just showing love or trying to convey a message that most humans cannot understand? Such things make it quite mysterious and entertaining too.
Do not speculate anymore about your dog’s licking habit. This post will answer all your queries so that you can communicate better with your pooch.
Why does the dog lick your hands?
Unfortunately, you cannot pinpoint one single reason behind this action of a dog! The pooch may lick your hands and feet for several reasons. The most plausible reasons can be the following:
It is your pet’s way of expressing love
Every domestic dog appreciates the shelter, food, and comfort the owner offers. The dog starts feeling like one of your family members and it is always excited to express some love. Most dogs lick their owners to show how happy they are.
It is true that every pet parent is not a fan of licking, but they cannot do much about it. The dog will lick energetically until you learn how to curb this behavior. Even though you push the pet away, it may think you are in a playful mood. The dog will find a way to get closer to you and start licking you again.
If you have no issues with the dog licking you, the pet will try this more often. Dogs do not show their love throughout the day though! It might lick a few times when you meet after a long time. The dog will behave normally once you meet him and get busy with other things.
Does face licking means kissing?
So, why does my dog lick my face and hands? Does face-licking mean kissing? It is a yes and no because dogs are not familiar with the concept of kissing. They only know how to show love and parents often consider it the dog’s way of kissing.
The dog will lick you back if you give him some rubs and hugs after licking. Your pooch may interpret that you enjoy it when it licks your face and it will do more. Even though the dog isn’t showing love, it will continue this action if you respond positively. You have to figure out the meaning to control this action and keep your pooch safe.
The dog is grooming you!
You obviously do not need your pet’s help to groom, but the dog does not know it. Female pets lick their puppies to groom and clean them. Cats do it a lot and this action is quite common in many mammals.
If the dog considers you an important part of its life, it may try to keep you clean and healthy! The pet might start licking your face to groom you instead of showing love. It might be an awkward reason, but the dog might think that you need a little grooming session.
The dog will most probably choose to groom your face. It will start licking your hands and feet if it cannot access your face. Dogs don’t always lick themselves to groom. An underlying skin condition might trouble the pet and they might lick to soothe inflammation. Since it cannot assess your health issues, the dog is most probably trying to groom you.
The pet is trying to gain your attention
Dogs do various things to gain the parent’s attention. Suppose you are busy and the dog is seeking your response, it may bark, wag its tail, scratch you, or start licking you. There might be something important the dog is trying to converse. Since it cannot talk like humans, it will lick your hands, feet, or your face to draw your attention.
The dog can become restless if you do not pay attention. This loving behavior can take a more aggressive turn and it will be a bit problematic for you. Therefore, you should always respond when the dog is licking you.
Talk to your pet and try to reveal what it wants. The pet might want to move out of the house to relieve itself if it’s time for a walk. Or, your pooch might have noticed something troubling and it might like your attention to prevent the problem.
Everything is possible when the dog eagerly seeks your attention. So, respond and observe what the pet does next. If it becomes calm, there is nothing to worry about. If not, you should take a walk around the house to see what’s going on.
It is trying to assess your mood
The dog will know when to disturb you and when to stay away if it is living with you for several months or years. Just like other family members, dogs know who is more playful and who is not at all. They get around individuals who respond perfectly to their needs. It will come to you and lick you if you always greet the pet with hugs and kisses.
Suppose you are the only person around the pet, it may sit around you or lick you to gauge your mood. The pet will become more comfortable and playful if you respond positively. Suppose you respond in a firm voice or push it away, it will know it’s not the right time to disturb.
You should always be polite with the pet, even if you are exhausted. The dog spends most of its day inside the house. It expects you to get back and take him on a walk. The dog will jump on the couch and lick your face to express its needs. Consider it a signal to walk the dog and hold the leash. That will be the happiest moment for the pooch in the entire day!
You probably taste great!
Do you wonder why does my dog lick my hands and feet? You will if the licking frequency is increasing with every passing day. The dog is doing so probably because you taste great. Yes, it’s probably the weirdest reason but it’s possible.
Dogs are gourmet creatures. They can sniff delicious things quite easily and they can’t curb the desire to taste things that smell great. That’s why pets often put a variety of things in their mouth just to take a bite.
Is your dog trying to bite you if it is licking unstoppably? No, it is just taking the taste of your skin and it will stop after a while.
Why do dogs lick hands?
One thing that you will observe quite easily is that your pet licks your hands more often than other parts of the body. What is in your hands that the dog likes a lot? Is it a special message that the pet tries to convey?
Dogs have heightened senses and they can assess a lot of things only by sniffing and licking your hands. Suppose you had pet another pet at your colleague’s home, the dog will find it immediately. Some pets get upset about it and some simply ignore it.
Your dog can learn where you were just by licking your hands. It can assess what you ate before being around it. If that was your pet’s favorite food, it will immediately start demanding it. You might not assess it, but the pet will get restless and signal to have some snacks.
The sense of taste tells a lot of important things to the dog. Being curious creatures, dogs can’t stop licking because it will prevent them from learning about their surroundings. That’s why hand licking becomes an annoying habit of some dogs.
Your dog might lick your hands for the following reasons:
- The dog is trying to find out whether it can trust you or not. It will move away if it assesses that you aren’t trustworthy.
- If the pet is licking your baby or kid’s hands, it is just trying to nurse the kid and showing some affection.
- If your dog licks your hands when you pet him, it is just trying to return the favor. The pet loves it when you scratch and it is licking you so that you can continue petting him.
- The dog may lick your hands if it thinks your hands are not clean. It will try to remove dirt and things it find unattractive.
- You might have had the lunch or dinner recently and the dog can still smell the food. It will lick your hands if you ate something delicious.
- The dog needs some scratches if it starts licking your hands for no reason. Pet him and scratch its belly and neck for a while to prevent licking.
What is the reason behind excess licking?
Some dogs cannot control it and some dogs lick excessively for some specific reasons. Your dog may lick excessively due to one of the following reasons:
The pet is anxious
Different creatures develop different habits to curb anxiety and feel comfortable. Most dogs lick excessively when they are anxious and they cannot stop it. This thing happens mostly with dogs, which are left alone for hours.
Do you leave your pet inside the apartment when leaving the house for the work? It can affect your dog’s behavior severely. The pet will have nobody to communicate and it will have nothing to do throughout the day.
People lock pets in their apartments and houses to prevent physical harm. This action causes mental issues and some pets even become aggressive. Excess licking often occurs due to anxiety caused by loneliness. You should look for a pet sitter or dog care facility so that your pet can socialize with others when you are away.
Your pet is hungry
A dog can easily spend a day without food. Off-leash pets often don’t get enough meals to soothe their cravings, but they survive. Things are quite different with pets because they constantly get delicious meals to stay full.
Suppose you forgot to put food in your pet’s bowl and it spends most of the day without eating anything, it will get quite hungry. The dog will be happy when you return and it will lick your feet and hands to demand food.
The dog will lick excessively until you put food on its plate. If not, your pet will get more anxious and it might bark aggressively for food. So, understand your pet’s needs and give him the food if it is hungry.
Your dog needs some comforting space
Dogs love it when parents hug them, scratch them, and kiss them. It remains an entertaining thing if you do it moderately. The dog will find it irritating if you always hold him and hug him.
Pets also need some free space. They can’t just sit in one place to please you! They need to stretch, play, and do stuff that pleases them. If your pet is licking you and moving away, do not hold him back. The dog will lick excessively if you do not give him some space!
Perfectly trained dogs do not do things that irritate people. Licking is one of those irritating things that most people do not like. You know the potential reasons behind licking and now you can handle the situation in a much better way.
Find the reason behind licking and respond accordingly. Keep training your pet to ensure it responds to your commands. It will stop licking if you train him to stop and stay. Dogs always try to please the parent and they try their best to not upset you.
So, do not get irritated if the pet licks excessively. Understand the reason behind this action and treat your pooch with love!