About the Author: Introducing Dr. Adriana Luis, our Senior Content Editor at MyPetDoggie and also Veterinarian (MVZ). Kerry devotes most of her time to penning enlightening pieces about pet health, providing invaluable knowledge to pet owners globally. As the director of our Veterinary Content Team, she ensures the accuracy and comprehensiveness of our content, thereby making pet care accessible and understandable for everyone.
Have you ever thought about Why does my dog lick my nose? It’s a thoughtful and natural question, as dogs do it occasionally. Dogs are undeniably curious creatures full of fascination.
They are famous for their affection, generous adoration, and loyalty. All these wholesome characteristics are exhibited in their kind gestures of love and signals of communication. When dogs spend a lot of time with humans, they consider themselves a vital part of that community.
This is explicitly displayed in their behavior. I remember when I bought my pup, Max, he was a little reserved in his behavior of expressing affection. But when he saw me kissing my friends and family as a greeting, he adopted the way too. In dog language, licking resonates with kissing a lot.
But you may wonder, “Are all dog kisses/licks a symbol of affection?” Well, the answer is, “Absolutely not.”
Everyone has their own way of coping with stress and anxiety. You might scratch your head or ears like I bite my nails. Similar is the case with the dog’s mechanism of dealing with anxiety.
They do so by licking themselves or their masters to soothe themselves. Licking provides them with a calming effect. Now, we will dive into the canine event of dogs licking their masters.
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Affection and Bonding
The primary reason for dogs licking you is none other than their motivation to strengthen their connection with you. Dogs are very clever and expressive creatures. They know when you genuinely try to make them happy, when their actions make you angry, or when you are depressed. Similarly, they are smart enough to communicate and express their emotions. When my dog runs to me and licks my nose with happiness filled in his eyes, I can hear the silent message,” My master, you mean the world to me!”. These affectionate licks are nothing less than a warm handshake between you and your friends.
So, at the core of the question, “Why does my dog licks my nose?” lies his unexpressed devotion to you.
Exploration and Communication
If I had to use one adjective to describe the dogs, it would undoubtedly be INQUISITIVE. Dogs are very sharp-brained and don’t limit themselves to the knowledge available to them.
J A toddler is willing to find answers to questions like, “How was he born?” and “How does an airplane fly?” Who drew the map of the world for the first time? His explorative nature does not allow him to sit quietly. Similarly, dogs want to explore their surroundings. And when I mention the word.
“SURROUNDINGS” starts with them exploring you and your nature. They lick your nose, face, or belly button to smell your body, to taste your sweet and salty sweat/ body secretions which is a sign of their curiosity.
Communication is the key to nurturing any healthy relationship. Whether it is your relationship with your friends or family or your doggo with you. Licking can also be called a form of greeting. Whenever I step home after an exhausting work day, Max runs to me, climbs to hug me, and licks my face, specifically my nose. This symbolizes that licking is a way of communicating or greeting the dogs to welcome their master.
Mimicking Grooming Behavior
Let me take you back to those cherishable moments when your doggo was a hand-sized puppy. He used to have grooming sessions with his mother, which had many more purposes than hygiene. He used to forget all his pains, stress, and worries when embraced in his mother’s arms.
Still in doubt, “Why does your dog lick your nose?” no need to worry! Let me state it clearly.
In each gentle shower of licks sprayed by doggo on your nose lies their wholesome purpose of revisiting their core memories of warm moments of motherhood. He carries the unforgettable legacy of affectionate trust and bonding he learned from his mother whenever he licks your nose.
This reminds me of a beautiful saying, “ Nobody can truly understand the meaning of love unless he has owned a DOG.”
In this hustling bustling world of every day occupied with business, you and I need a kind smile, a warm hug, or merely a few sweet words of appreciation. Similarly, your dog also craves a wholesome interaction between themselves and their world (YOU). a moment in which they are the center of all your attention. A moment in which they can express their heart to you.
To gather your attention, they do various activities like sitting in your lap, bringing a ball or their favorite toy to you, or a gentle lick on your nose.
Dogs are social beings just like us. They love to be in the spotlight as much as you do. Licking can be one of their ways to improve social connection with you. They have a generational history of human interaction, and it is their innate nature to consider themselves a vital part of their caretaker’s life. They remind you of their neverending companionship, love, and trust by licking.
Submission or Respect
Other than love and trust, dogs feel satisfaction in displaying submissive behavior to their masters. When your dog licks your nose, it can be more like a gentle act of submissiveness for you. They are smart enough to understand and familiarize themselves with the natural hierarchical system of society. They know you are dominant and slightly communicate it through their gestures.
They have ultimate respect for you, recognize your role in the world, and in most cases, never say NO to your orders. Licking your feet, nose, or any other body part is also their way of exhibiting love.
“Why does your dog lick your nose?” you might think it’s out of affection, respect, curiosity, or attention-seeking reasons. But this is not the complete answer to your question.
Just like humans and all other creatures, dogs feel low too. At times, they experience the emotions of separation anxiety, depression, or stress.
To cope with that stress, they need something soothing. Just like a plush toy or squeezy ball helps me deal with the nervousness and anxiety I am going through, dogs deal with it by licking excessively or exposing their belly.
Now you might wonder, “How would I know if my dog is licking me out of love and respect or out of stress?” Well, the answer lies in observing the licks closely. If he is licking rapidly and intensely, followed by a panting or awkward side-eye look, he might be doing it out of anxiety. Moreover, his facial expression can speak volumes about the purpose behind the licks.
Should I Let My Dog Lick My Nose?
The question of whether you should allow your dog to lick your nose or not is a very personal one and can vary depending on the preferences of the person who owns the dog. Some people consider nose liking by dogs as an affectionate communication between you two, while others may get uncomfortable by their dog getting close to their mouth.
Although nose licking is a valuable way of exchanging emotions, one should consider the potential risks of bacteria transference. You should also take other factors like your comfort, health, and your dog’s oral hygiene before deciding whether to allow your dog to lick your nose.
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What is Unique about Nose Licking?
Nose licking is a multifaceted process that signifies a complex human-canine relationship. It is not just a simple gesture shown by dogs but carries a much more wholesome meaning. It symbolizes their affection, a source of their communication, and an exhibition of their profound love for their masters.
At the same time, it can serve as a source of grooming and a way to cope with mental stress. The answer to why your dog licks your nose makes this habit unique because the intensity and frequency of each lick tell a different story.
Should I Stop My Dog from Licking Other Dogs?
Although licking is an unstoppable natural habit of dogs, it should be interrupted when it starts causing discomfort for you and others. Whether to stop your dog from licking others depends on the context of the licking activity, type, and reaction of the dogs involved.
The potential reason behind your dog licking other dogs is grooming. However, every dog has its own personal space and boundaries and feels discomfort when others interfere with those limits. So, if the other dog is feeling anxious in the presence of your dog, you should stop your dog immediately.
Moreover, if you fear that your dog might get an oral infection or allergy by licking other dogs, you should not risk his health and train him to avoid that behavior.
Ways to Get Rid of Dog-Licking Habit
Tired of the extensive dog-licking habit of your doggo? No need to worry about this! I have sorted this all out for you.
I know licking you and other dogs might seem annoying. It is undoubtedly a valid concern for various reasons like hygiene, personal comfort, and establishing boundaries between you and your dog.
Now, as you know, “Why does your dog lick your nose?” It is pretty easy to train him to get rid of this habit of licking. Let’s dive deeper into some suggestions and ways to eliminate this dog-licking habit.
Distraction and Diversion
One of the reasons for engaging in this activity is attention seeking, and dogs find it soothing for themselves. So, look for other methods that can give more or less the same effect. One technique that I have successfully tried and tested is the distraction and diversion technique.
Invest in exciting toys and puzzle games that keep the doggo busy and away from licking habits. Moreover, don’t make him feel left out or ignored because it will cause separation anxiety, ultimately taking him back to the licking practice. Spend quality time with him, solve puzzle games together, have a movie night every week, and he will feel the spotlight he needs and stay away from licking.
Training dogs might be a long and time-consuming process, requiring consistent efforts. But it will be all worth it in the end, and you won’t regret investing time in his training.
When training Max myself got on my nerves, I explored the option of hiring a personal trainer. He successfully taught him to avoid dog-licking in less than 2 months. If you go for hiring a professional, you’ll observe significant changes in his behavior yourself.
However, if you are not ready to hire a professional trainer, you can play around with your dog’s psychology and effectively manage his behavior. Positive reinforcements are recommended, like rewarding him with a snack every time he avoids dog-licking behavior.
Physical and Mental Stimulation
When dogs are physically and mentally retarded, they are more like;y to engage in canine and compulsive activities like body licking than a mentally and physically active dog. Physical and mental stimulations are equally important and helpful in managing those behaviors.
Take your dog for a long walk or jog with him in the morning. Inhaling fresh air and getting involved in such physical activities will sharpen his mind by pushing laziness away from him.
Mental stimulation is as necessary as physical stimulation is. Try out new puzzle games with him, hide his toys, ask him to look for them around the house, and spend time exposing him to novel activities like a new music band or a fun cartoony character. Dogs are instinctively curious creatures, and engaging in such mind-boosting activities can be valuable in preventing body licking.
Offer Alternative Chewing Items
Chewing is an instinctive behavior rooted in the nature of dogs, just like chewing and sucking in the case of human babies, a turtle walking out of the pond soon after hatching, or birds migrating to a different place in winter. To satisfy their instincts, dogs involve themselves in licking habits that keep them satisfied and motivated to carry on other life activities.
If you want to manage their licking behavior without depriving them of satisfaction, energy, and motivation, you can provide them with PUZZLE FEEDERS or other chewy toys. Supervise them while chewing to avoid swallowing or breaking the toy. Select an appropriate brutal toy made of fine material, suitable size, and good quality to ensure the pet’s safety.
Behavioral Modification Techniques
If you are facing difficulties in self-training your dog to manage his behavioral characteristics, then enlisting the attributes of a professional behaviorist can make all the difference needed. These experienced psychologists have the expertise, knowledge, and ability to investigate the underlying cause of your dog’s licking behavior. They can devise specific tactics required to manage and shape your dog’s behavior in a way you like. Professional help can be helpful because they have the patience and consistency necessary for long-term training without getting harsh on your pet. If your dog gets grumpy when you stop him from doing something, these empathetic and kind professionals will take care of that too.
Grooming and Skin Care
When your dog licks excessively, you must investigate the underlying potential cause for it, i.e., irritation, skin allergy, or infection they have. Dogs may lick to relieve discomfort, just like me, and you scratch to relieve itching.
You should address the potential triggers and reduce the urge for excessive licking by prioritizing the treatment of any possible skin disease. A proper, well-maintained skincare routine can prevent many extreme licking habits, which is essential for a dog’s hygiene. Maintaining healthy, germ-free skin is advisable.
It can be done by ensuring regular grooming sessions, giving them a bath once or twice a month, shaving their body hairs if necessary, and combining them. Moreover, regular vet visits will care for skin infections and allergies, preventing severe medical conditions.
Use Bitter Tasting Products
Bitter-tasting products are common to prevent dogs from licking certain areas or objects. This effective strategy is based on the idea that dogs dislike the taste of bitter and sour substances like vinegar and grapefruit.
As a result, they are less likely to engage in licking the area where these substances are applied to avoid discomfort. However, if you are using this strategy, please ensure that the object is safe and non-allergic for the dog in case of swallowing. You can also consult a professional to discover a suitable substance for your dog’s breed.
It is advised to be consistent in the application of the product and closely monitor the changes in your dog’s behavior by observing his expressions after licking the area where the sample product has been applied.
Taking your dog to a vet for regular checkups is the most vital and elementary step to ensure his safety. Professionals will deal with any complexity or behavioral changes and their underlying medical reasons, if any. They will also advise a treatment and care plan to keep your dog healthy and active.
Are dog kisses safe?
Dog kissing, also known as licking, is generally completely safe. They are an adorable way of showing affection. But a few factors should be considered before allowing your dog to develop a habit of this adoration activity. The mouth of a dog is full of bacteria present in its saliva.
Although the chance of their transference to a person is minimal. But a person with a weak immune system, an infant, or someone allergic can easily be infected by dog kisses. If you want dog kissing a pleasing experience for both of you, try investing in an excellent mouthwash to keep allergies away. Moreover, make regular cleaning baths and vet visits a habit.
Can you get sick from a dog lick?
Generally, it is improbable to get sick from a dog’s lick. The set of bacteria in a dog’s mouth are different from the ones causing infections in humans. However, if you have a weak immune system and get easily infected, you should avoid getting physically close to your dog as it can lead to health risks.
Additionally, if you have open wounds or injuries, you are prone to getting infected by a dog’s lick. It is strictly advised to avoid dog licks near open wounds as it can worsen the situation of the injury and elongate the healing process.
Should you allow a dog to hump any toy or pillow?
Humping is a natural behavior in dogs produced by excitement, stress, or play. Humping is a natural behavior, so it depends on whether the act’s frequency and the situation’s context should be allowed.
Suppose you intervene in less frequent humping and try to remove it from the root. In that case, it can make your dog grumpy and unWhile allowing excessive humping can reinforce this behavior, you should seek professional help if it isn’t manageable by yourself.
Why does my dog follow me everywhere?
Dogs have an innate tendency to follow their masters everywhere they go. There are various reasons behind your dog following you around. Dogs are social animals. They like to be in large groups or live in a human community.
To improve the connection with their masters and strengthen the bond of companionship, they want to follow you everywhere. Dogs also have a strong sense of smell and can track it by following you.
Naturally, they have associated you with positive reinforcements and rewards like food and play, so they follow you to get closer to it. Lastly, some dogs have separation anxiety, and following you seems the only logical way to cope with the stress of being left alone. So, they try their level best to be around you.
The answer to why your dog licks your nose is vast and dives deep into observing your dog’s behavior. While nose licking is a straightforward way of saying, “I love, and I care,” in dog language, it also carries bundles of complexities.
Remember the risks and problems associated with this habit and treat them as described. However, you can always manage and train your dog the way you like and stop him from licking your face, nose, and other dogs. Hope you succeed in this journey. Wishing you luck!