5 Laws of Licking: Dog Edition

The bonds between us and our furry friends are untouchable. With each sniff, scratch, bark, and yes, even a lick – we aren’t surprised at the correlation between dog and man’s best friend. However, this relationship we treasure so vehemently did not just appear randomly out of the dog park. Just as humans use varying communication methods, dogs too utilize their own styles in conveying and exchanging meaning. One of these forms being – you guessed it – licking! So why do dogs lick?

Like Mother, Like Pup

As mentioned above, communication is essential and unique for our pups, and licking stems from the very beginning stages of these learned behaviors. Early memories of a puppies’ mother taking care her young are ingrained throughout its life, with licks representing feelings of adoration and stimulation. These interactions are the building blocks to defining relationships between mothers and her pups, which then cement those traditional behaviors we see between dogs today!

It Tastes Good – Your Dog Says So

Yes, your dog is licking you to offer affection. However, the human skin is also just very tasty to dogs! It secretes oil and sweat – both of which taste of salt. Of course, dogs will lick humans depending on the flavors that fancy their taste buds! Fun fact: While humans have roughly 9,000 taste buds, dogs only have around 1,700!

It Feels Good – Science Says So

Did you know that when a dog licks, endorphins are released into their bodies? It’s true! While humans may exercise to trigger this release, for dogs licking is often done in an attempt to casually console and provide comfort, just as their mothers did. So naturally, do not be alarmed to see your dog minding its business with a few relaxing licks. It is important to note that moderation is key, as excessive licking can be a sign of something more serious.

Coping During Times of Need

Unfortunately, licking from your dog is not always a positive sign. Dogs do enjoy licking. So much in fact, that it can be used to calm nerves and alleviate anxiety. This is a natural coping mechanism but can prove to be the culprit of bigger problems at hand. Be aware of excessive licking and possible anxiety triggers in your household so identifications can be found, and solutions made. Check out our 5 Ways to Ease Your Dog’s Anxiety here:

Easing Discomfort When in Pain

Some of us get allergies, and the same goes for dogs as well. Many breeds are prone to certain skin allergies and medical problems. To ease this inevitable discomfort, your pup might resort to licking the targeted area repeatedly. Licking does not fix problems or conditions within your dog. This act is merely a distraction from the source and an attempt to draw away from the pain. If you notice excessive licking, and other physical signs that could point to a potential skin condition or other medical issue, be sure to contact your vet immediately.

As you can see, the act of licking is vital for dogs. This behavior guides them and is helpful in understanding key roles, expressing emotion, and interacting with others around them. Just be cautious of how often your dog is licking and for what might those reasons be! Dog in a licking fit? Barkery and Bath has the perfect tool to get your dog stimulated and keep the licking to a minimum.