A common question dog lovers ask is “Why do dogs lick?” It is a very common behavior for dogs, and these licks can have a variety of different reasons behind them. Understanding what some licks mean can help you make your furry friends’ lives better, so let’s take a look at what these licks can mean.


It’s in a dog’s nature to groom themselves, whether that be by licking their paws or their fur. The licking of the paws is extremely common as they do it to remove the dirt and anything else they have stepped on.

Moderate licking is normal, but excessive licking may indicate an underlying medical issue. If this is the case, consult your vet for possible reasons and solutions. You can even use Pet Notify’s Pet Vault to take notes prior to your appointment or upload documents afterward for safekeeping and for future reference.

Good Taste

Similar to how dogs lick their bowls or the floor after something spills, dogs like to lick things that simply taste good. This can be the case for why your dog licks you too! Without our realization, we often have tiny food particles on our skin that dogs can taste. The salt on our skin is especially tasty to dogs as well, making it very common for dogs to lick our hands or face after we eat! 


Sometimes dogs lick themselves if they have a wound in the area. From a small cut to a graze, dogs have a natural instinct to lick the irritated area. Don’t be worried though, it is completely normal! Dog saliva has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that aid in fighting against certain bacteria, helping to keep it clean. The licking of the wound also helps remove dead tissue and clean dirt from that wound. Your dog might lick your wounds as well since it is natural for them to do so! It is important to stay aware of the amount of licking though, because too much pressure on the area can reopen the wounds and cause infections. 


One way a dog communicates with us is through licking! There are a variety of ways they may be communicating with us, but the most common ways are to tell us they’re hungry, submissive, or they want to be friends! It is important to be aware and respond after they lick because they may be telling us something important! 


Your dog may be licking objects, themselves, or people out of compulsion. This could be because they are nervous, scared, or simply bored. They are most likely just trying to calm down if they are licking a lot, because licking can sometimes be a stress reliever. Just keep in mind that excessive and obsessive licking can make problems worse. Check in with a vet if you have any concerns about your dog licking too much.


One of the most common reasons a dogs lick is out of affection! Just as puppies love to lick their mothers, dogs want to lick you to show you how much they love you. So, if your dog is licking you, just know that they love you greatly!

To keep your furry friend happy and healthy with the Pet Vault, Intellitag, and Pet Notify’s other pet-management tools, sign up for a Pet Notify plan now!