Why Do Dogs Lick Each Other

Why Do Dogs Lick Each Other

You may find it gross when your dog licks another’s mouth, but do you know why they do it? Unbeknownst to many, dogs lick each other for a variety of reasons. Understanding canine behavior can be a fascinating journey into the world of our four-legged friends.

Licking is not just about grooming or hygiene; it’s also an essential tool in their social bonding process. Whether as a sign of submission and respect, or as part of their health checks and healing methods, licking plays a pivotal role in the lives of dogs.

So next time you see your dog engaged in this behavior, don’t dismiss it offhand. This article will guide you through the myriad reasons why dogs lick each other. It’s time to step into their paws and explore what these actions truly mean from their perspective.

Understanding Canine Behavior

In order to fully grasp why dogs lick each other, we’ll need to delve deeper into understanding canine behavior as a whole.

Dogs aren’t just simple pets; they’re complex creatures with a rich repertoire of communication methods. One vital aspect of this is physical touch, and licking plays an integral role in canine communication.

As you might know from dog training, your furry friends use licks for multiple purposes: displaying submissiveness, showing affection, or even gathering information about the world around them. When dogs lick each other, it’s often a sign of mutual respect and bond strengthening within their pack hierarchy.

In essence, this behavior is not random but rather deeply ingrained in their social dynamics. Therefore, understanding it can greatly contribute to bettering our relationship with these incredible animals.

Social Bonding Among Canines

Among canines, licking is a form of social bonding and it’s fascinating to note that approximately 90% of pups engage in this behavior to foster stronger relationships with their pack mates. This is particularly noticeable during puppy playdates where the pups take turns grooming each other, reinforcing pack dynamics.

The table below provides an overview of how this action contributes to social bonds:

Behaviour Meaning Importance
Mutual Licking Affection & Respect Reinforces Social Bonds
Submissive Licking Acknowledgement of Higher Rank Maintains Pack Dynamics
Mother-to-Pup Licking Care & Protection Encourages Healthy Growth

While humans may find this behaviour peculiar, for dogs, it’s a vital part of their social interactions which helps maintain harmony within their packs. So next time you see dogs licking each other, know they’re communicating and bonding!

Grooming and Hygiene

Beyond just social bonding, there’s a practical side to this canine behavior too – it’s all about grooming and hygiene. You see, dogs licking each other isn’t merely a show of affection; it serves as mutual grooming, keeping each other clean and healthy. And in the wild, this is an instinctive survival habit.

Here are some benefits related to this behavior:
– It helps maintain basic cleanliness.
– Dogs can’t reach areas they can’t groom themselves.
– Licking can help heal wounds as saliva contains antibacterial properties.
– It aids in preventing parasites by removing any potential eggs or larvae from the fur.

Ultimately, using canine hygiene products or DIY grooming solutions complements your dog’s natural habits and ensures their coat stays healthy. This makes for a happy pup and a cleaner home!

Signs of Submission and Respect

It’s intriguing to note that about 75% of the canine interactions involve some form of submission and respect. Dogs licking each other is a significant part of this behavior, tied closely with their instinctive pack hierarchy.

This social order is essential in minimizing conflicts within the group. When your dog licks another one on the mouth, it may be an indication that it recognizes the other as higher in rank. It’s not just being friendly; it’s actively showing deference to its superior. This dominance display is a crucial aspect of communication between dogs.

So, don’t fret if you see your furry friend frequently indulging in this behavior. It’s simply their way of maintaining harmony and acknowledging boundaries within their pack dynamics.

Health Checks and Healing

Believe it or not, your canine friends often use their tongues as a tool for health inspections and even healing. It’s a part of their instinctual behavior to provide care to each other which comes under the concept of ‘Lick Therapy’. They can detect abnormalities in taste or smell that may indicate an injury or illness, thus acting as preliminary health checkers.

Dog Action Health Benefit
Licking wounds Promotes wound cleaning and speeds up healing process
Licking fur Removes dirt and parasites
Licking mouth and nose areas Can indicate dental issues or respiratory infections
Licking ears Detects ear infections
Mutual licking Reinforces social bonds and reduces stress

Wound treatment is another key aspect where dogs use licking. This action cleans the wound by removing debris, stimulates blood flow, and can even aid in pain relief. Remember though, excessive licking may indicate underlying problems requiring veterinary attention.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can be done if my dogs excessively lick each other?

Nip this issue in the bud by identifying and managing your dogs’ anxiety triggers. Use licking deterrents like bitter sprays to discourage excessive licking. Consult a vet for professional advice on behavioral modification if needed.

How can I train my dog to stop licking other dogs?

To train your dog to stop licking others, employ specific training techniques. Use commands like ‘leave it’ or ‘no lick’. Reward non-licking behavior for a positive reinforcement of this licking etiquette. Consistency is key.

Is there a breed of dogs that licks more than others?

Imagine your furry friend constantly licking. Licking frequency variations do exist among breeds due to breed specific traits. However, no scientific study conclusively determines that one breed licks more than others universally.

Can there be any adverse effects if dogs lick each other’s wounds?

Yes, there can be adverse effects if dogs lick each other’s wounds. The main concern is infection risks; a dog’s mouth contains bacteria which could interfere with wound healing and potentially cause complications.

Is there a significant difference in the licking behavior between male and female dogs?

Peeling back the curtain on canine behavior, there’s no significant difference in licking motivations between male and female dogs. Gender influence doesn’t play a major role, it’s more about social bonding and communication.


In the canine world, a simple lick isn’t just a tongue swipe. It’s a handshake, a hug, and even a doctor’s visit rolled into one. So when your pup gives his furry friend a friendly lick, they’re not just cleaning each other up. They’re strengthening bonds, expressing respect, and even performing health checks.

It’s much more than meets the eye – it’s the language of dogs spoken through licks.