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Why do Dogs Lick?

Licking is a natural behavior ingrained in dogs from birth. 

The mothers of canine litters clean and comfort their young by licking them. 

Like many other behavioral characteristics, licking can be interpreted in various ways, ranging from an individual's desire to attract attention to their need to clean themselves.

Attention seeking

When pups greet one another, it is common for them to lick. This behavior is typically accompanied by a great deal of friendly wagging of the tail as well as body wiggling.

Canines also learn that it is a fantastic way to gain attention at other times; if we smile & pat them when they lick us, we can quickly reinforce this behavior. So, sometimes dogs learn that licking is a method to get attention.

Our dogs can also find us rather delicious, primarily after we have worked out and our skin has become salty.

Health

Dogs, unlike humans, do not have hands, so to soothe themselves when they are uncomfortable, they frequently use their tongue to lick an irritated area/wound. Your dog's rate of licking the affected area will vary according to how much discomfort they are experiencing due to the irritant.

You should keep a close eye on your pet if they tend to lick one spot over and over again. If this behavior continues, you should consult your veterinarian to find out what could be triggering it.

Allergies

The dog is likely licking himself because he has allergies, and it does not matter what area of his body he licks. Either food or the environment can cause these allergies. In either scenario, you will need the assistance of a veterinarian to determine the cause of your dog's allergic reaction to treat the problem successfully.

Cleaning

Even though dogs do have some antibacterial characteristics in their tongues, the idea that canines possess completely antiseptic tongues is a misconception. In addition to the beneficial bacteria, dogs' mouths also harbor potentially hazardous germs that coexist with the beneficial bacteria.

The reason why your dog uses its tongue for grooming its hair/coat is more likely because its tongue is the most effective instrument they have available to them.

Taking in the surrounding aromas

Your canine companion can pick up on much more information utilizing its mouth and nose than a human being will be able to. As a result of their sharp senses, pups will occasionally lick another dog's urine to gain a more comprehensive knowledge of the information they detect through smell.

Dogs May Engage in Compulsive Licking

Whether you observe that your dog is licking the same spot repeatedly, you should investigate more to determine if there is something wrong with them. He might also lick himself to an extreme degree when he is frightened or anxious. Licking can be a helpful way to reduce tension, but doing it compulsively is likely to increase anxiety and make the situation even more difficult.

Is it harmful to dogs to lick humans?

Dog licking does not represent much of a threat to people as long as you do not have any open wounds and your immune system is operating effectively. Bacteria can pass through a dog's licks, so the practice is not entirely risk-free. Dogs' saliva contains a bacteria called Capnocytophaga, found in their mouths and can, in unusual circumstances, trigger an infection in humans with compromised immune systems.

On the other hand, if your dog is licking you, you need to ensure that you do not have any chemicals or foods that are harmful to dogs on your skin. It is especially important if your dog is licking your face.

Is there any way to get my dog to stop licking me?

What can you do if the constant licking from your dog becomes intolerable for you? If you want to stop him from licking you, ignore him and go into another room as soon as he starts. Sooner or later, he will probably realize that the licking is forcing you to leave, which is the last thing he wants, and he will probably stop doing it. 

The act of licking is a natural and expected behaviour for dogs. However, if there are any sudden, unexpected changes in this behaviour, always consult with a vet.

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