Why do dogs lick?

Chihuahuas do like to lick. Some more than others but in general they are a very licky kind of dog and will concentrate on licking each other’s ears and faces. They also like to lick their favourite people.

Minnie loves to lick children, mainly because of the myriad of flavours they come in. Snot is one of her favourites, but generally she views all toddlers and children as the gift that keeps on giving. If they are not oozing something delicious then they are leaving crumb trails!

Why do dogs like to lick and is it true that you should let dogs lick a wound? Do they really have a super antibacterial mouth that can cure all?

Why dogs lick each other?

Licking is a very natural part of being a dog and is part of their instinct. The mother will lick her puppies to clean them after birth, stimulate them to breathe, poop and to sooth digestion. Puppies will lick around their mother’s mouth when they are hungry to stimulate the regurgitation of food. Puppies also lick to gather information about their world.

It is also a submissive gesture and dogs who are lower down in the pack will lick around the other dog’s mouths. It helps maintain harmony and everyone knows their place. Chihuahua’s are very keen on a well-ordered pack and like to know who is in charge.

Why dogs lick people?

One reason is you taste nice, they like our salty skin and possibly any lotions you have on.

If they are licking you intently then they may be trying to communicate a message: they need to go out and poop, they are hungry, or the baby has fallen down the well. So, if this happens look around to see if anything is amiss.

They also want to show you affection and according to Roger Abrantes, Ethology Institute Cambridge, licking your face is an offer of friendship.

“Next time a dog licks your face, you do not need to be too terrified or disgusted. Just close your eyes, yawn, and turn your head away. That shows in dog language that you accept its offer of friendship.”

Sounds to me like a way to get a ‘dog frenchie’, so I might avoid the yawn!

Sign of something wrong

Licking can also indicate that something is amiss, if your dog is excessively licking his paw he may be feeling anxious, it can also be a sign that your dog is in pain. Read how to tell if my dog is in pain. They find licking soothing and it releases endorphins that relax them.

When it’s a nuisance

If your dog’s enthusiastic licking is a nuisance you can train them to stop. Calmly get up and leave the room when they start to lick your face. Your chi will soon learn that licking you means being left alone and they will stop doing it. If you roll around making a silly noise they will assume it’s a fine game and become more enthusiastic.

Should you let your dog lick a wound?

There has long been a notion that if you let your dog lick a cut or a graze it will clean it and it will heal faster. Is this true?

Dogs will lick a wound because they find it soothing and it is true that their saliva does contain some antibacterial and blood clotting properties. Licking a wound in the first instance may help it to clot and clean off any residual dirt. But long term or excessive licking of a wound can cause ‘hot spots’ of raised, red and sore skin. It can also cause any stitches to break down and eventually end up with dehiscence, meaning the wound splits open.

Should a dog lick a wound on a person?

No, a dog’s mouth contains multiple bacteria that can get into a human’s blood stream and cause serious infection. Cover your wounds and keep them clean and away from your dog.

Should you let your dog lick your face?

It’s a tough one, because we love our dogs, but not really. If you are going to let your dog slobber on your chops, then keep them away from your nose and mouth as the pathogens in their saliva are more easily absorbed through the mucus membranes. If you are going to continue to let them lick your face, make sure your dog is vaccinated, free of worms and parasites. Read Super foods to keep your dog free of worms. Wash your face afterwards and wash your hands before handling food.

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