There's nothing more adorable than sudden licks and kisses from your dog. By licking your hand, your fur babies show their love and affection for you! Licking is usually considered as a normal behavior, however, in some cases, licking becomes out of control which might signal certain health implications.
Reasons why my dog licks my hand:
There are a significant number of reasons why dogs lick your hand. These reasons can be of two types - either behavioural, or your dog is experiencing something physical or medical that results in the licking. Here are some common reasons behind why your dog licks your hand:
The most common reason behind your dog licking your hand is his affection towards you. Dogs’ licking is often considered kissing as licking is their way of expressing their love for their loved ones. They like to lick their humans' faces if they can get to it. Otherwise, they will start licking other available parts such as your arms, hands, legs, and feet. However, not every dog uses licking as an expression of love. Some dogs do not like licking but it doesn't mean that they love you any less! So, do not worry if your dog is not licking your hand!
Some dogs lick simply because they like exploring new tastes in the world. Since you are a major part of their world, they might like the taste of your hands too. Dogs tend to love anything with new and interesting tastes. Therefore, there is a good chance that they love the salty taste of sweat on your hands, encouraging them to lick your hands!
Another common reason why dogs lick is: habit. Sometimes, this behavior is deep-rooted in their personalities since their puppyhood. As puppies grow up, they observe and learn from their mothers’ action of licking. Over time, they too develop this habit of licking. There is a great chance that your dog inherited this habit from their ancestors and in this case, you don't have to worry about your dog’s constant licking of your hands.
Dogs are cleaner than we think. They lick to groom themselves since using licking as a way of cleaning is a norm in the animal kingdom. Several animals lick their young ones to maintain hygiene and protect them from germs. Dogs also lick for the same purpose. Therefore, your dog may be licking you to groom you and keep you clean!
Other than love and affection, licking is also considered a sign of submission. Dogs will lick the dominant figure in the family to express their respect towards them!
Is it harmful if my dog licks me?
Usually, a dog’s licking behavior is considered harmless and people allow their furry friend to do it. Unless you have open wounds, licking is generally not dangerous! However, there are always some exceptions. In rare cases, dogs' saliva can cause an infection in humans. Dogs’ saliva carry a bacteria called capnocytophaga. Excessive licking can transmit this bacteria into humans' skin and infect that area. Therefore, it is highly recommended to keep these bacteria at bay by maintaining your dogs’ dental care using a good quality toothbrush and toothpaste.
To better understand the benefits and risks behind a dog’s saliva, read more here!
When is it a problem?
However, if you observe your dog licking you, themselves, or certain objects in excessive amounts, it might be a symptom of some serious problems. Excessive licking is not normal, and if your dog is constantly licking your hands or things around it, you might want to take it seriously as it can indicate one or more of the following health or behavioural problems:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Do consult your vet to be sure of the problem. Avoid ignoring the symptoms as the problem can accumulate overtime.
How to stop my dog from licking my hands excessively?
If you are not a fan of the constant licking from your dog, that’s alright! It is human nature to remain hygienic, and some people cannot stand dog saliva on their mouth, hands, or anywhere else on their body. Here are some ways you can train your dog to stop licking.
To stop your dog's licking problems, you need to ignore this behavior. Do not encourage them to lick, instead, walk away from your dog while remaining calm and relaxed. Once your dog stops licking you, reward him with attention and praise. Rewarding them with treats will also be a helpful approach!
You can reward your dog with Absolute Bites Freeze Dried Chicken Pet Treats every time it stops licking you!
Another way to prevent your dog from licking you is to distract them with toys and food. We are confident that your dog will stop licking you if you distract them with a TastyBone Nylon Large Peanut Butter Dog Toy!
Dogs send different messages through licking. Even though licking is usually considered a normal behaviour, excessive licking could imply serious health problems too. A dog’s behaviours and actions are ways to communicate something to you, therefore, do always try to listen and pay attention to them! Never ignore any unusual behaviour from them as they might be trying to tell you something, and visit a vet if you’re ever unsure of why your dog is acting differently!