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Puppy Kisses! Why Do Dogs Lick People's Faces?

Are you wondering why your dog likes to lick your face? Is it something to embrace as a sign of love and affection? Or is it better avoided as you don’t know what else they licked just before you!

Why Do Dogs Lick?

Dogs lick for a variety of reasons - it could be to clean themselves, it could be that they’re glad to see you, they might like the saltiness of your skin or it could be that they’re asking for attention.

A dog’s natural instinct in the wild is to lick their mother’s face if they want to be fed, they want to interact with their mother or it could be to demonstrate submission to an older animal. They also use licking as a doggy greeting! This can be seen when dogs meet each other and they lick each other around the muzzle as a form of communication.

The mother dog’s instinct from giving birth is also to lick her pups to clean them and stimulate breathing and she continues to lick and groom them while they are still in the litter. This licking instinct never goes away as it provides a sense of pleasure, helps relieve stress, and of course dogs lick to groom themselves too.

Licking releases pleasurable endorphins which gives dogs a feeling of comfort and pleasure and this is probably the main reason why your dog likes to give you big sloppy kisses - they just love their human parents! And if you like puppy kisses and encourage them to do it more - they will! A little love goes a long way.

Should I let my pooch give me kisses?

When is enough, enough? Sometimes, over-enthusiastic licking by a dog can be accompanied by other doggy behaviors, like jumping up with their front paws on your shoulders. This might not be so bad if you are physically able to handle it, but for children and older aged people, it could be a problem.

Try to discourage your pet from doing this to avoid them forming a habit - a simple way is to turn your back on the dog until they have stopped. If you let them continue or act as if it is fun, they will get the wrong message and will want to continue. Once they have stopped jumping and licking, make a fuss of them the normal way by stroking them and telling them ‘good dog!’. As long as they get the attention they want, they’ll soon get the message not to jump up and lick.

Canine germs are often different to ones that affect humans, and although some illnesses (such as distemper, canine parvovirus and heartworms) cannot spread to humans, certain bacteria and viruses can cause illness if transmitted to humans. This can be of particular concern for infants, young children whose immune systems have not yet developed, pregnant women and people whose immune systems have been compromised by other human conditions or treatment. You should definitely not allow your dog to lick anyone in these categories.

However, this does not mean that you should avoid having pets! The benefits of having a family pet far outweigh the risks, but you should ensure good hygiene practices are in place - including discouraging your dog to lick anyone’s face and encouraging hand washing after play with the doggo.

Remember that brushing your dog’s teeth on a regular basis will help keep their teeth and gums healthy and free from plaque and tartar. If not done regularly, your pooch could suffer from dental problems, like bad breath, tooth decay and inflamed gums - not very pleasant if you are on the receiving end of those puppy kisses!

To ensure your dog is in tip top condition, make sure their vaccinations are kept up to date and they have regular health checks by your vet.

Does Your Doggo Need Some Extra Support?

If your dog is particularly excitable, using an ADAPTIL Calm Home Diffuser can help bring you and your pawsome pal closer, by creating a reassuring environment at home.

Continuous use provides constant comfort for your dog - for example, supporting them in new situations such as meeting visitors which may over-excite them. Always reward calm, positive behavior! 




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