why do dogs like licking faces

why do dogs like licking faces


Why Do Dogs Like Licking Faces?

Understanding Your Dog’s Behavior

As a caregiver, you’ve probably wondered why your dog insists on licking your face every chance they get. It’s an odd behavior, isn’t it? To you, it might be a mystery, but to your dog, it’s a natural instinct.

  1. Affection: Dogs lick faces to show their love and affection. It’s their way of saying “I like you” or “You’re part of my pack”.
  2. Submission: Licking can also be a sign of submission. Dogs lick the faces of more dominant dogs (or humans) to show their respect.
  3. Taste: Let’s face it, dogs find the salt on our skin tasty.

The Science Behind Dog’s Licking

In this section, we’ll dive deeper into the science behind this behavior.

  • Saliva: Dog saliva has enzymes that kill off bacteria, which can be beneficial to their health.
  • Scent: Dogs have a powerful sense of smell. By licking, they’re exploring the world around them.
Enzymes in Saliva Function
Lysozyme Kills bacteria
Peroxidase Breaks down toxins

Why It’s Important to Understand This Behavior

Understanding why your dog licks your face can help you build a stronger bond with them. It’s a form of communication, and by acknowledging it, you’re showing your dog that you respect their feelings and instincts.

How to Respond to Your Dog’s Licking

Your response to your dog’s licking can vary depending on the situation.

  1. If you’re comfortable with it, you can let your dog lick your face.
  2. If you’re not, gently but firmly push them away and use a command like “no lick”.

Possible Dangers of Face Licking

While generally harmless, there can be potential dangers associated with dogs licking faces.

  • Bacteria: Despite the antibacterial enzymes in their saliva, dogs can still carry harmful bacteria and parasites.
  • Allergies: Some people are allergic to dogs, and licking can cause an allergic reaction.


Q: Is face licking bad for dogs?\
A: Not necessarily. It’s a natural behavior for them.

Q: Can I get sick from my dog licking my face?\
A: It’s rare, but it can happen if the dog carries harmful bacteria or parasites.

Q: How do I stop my dog from licking my face?\
A: You can gently push them away and use a command like “no lick”.