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Why Do Dogs Lick? The Language of Canine Affection

Dogs have a language all their own, and licking is one of their favorite words. From a simple hello to a canine kiss, here’s why your pooch might be so keen on using their tongue as a communication tool.

Dog licking its human's face, illustrating the social bonding aspect discussed in Riverview Grooming blog.

Social Bonding

Licking is often a sign of social bonding and submission within a dog's pack. It’s a way for dogs to show respect and affection to their human family members.

Quick Fix: Show some love back! A gentle pat or a belly rub can go a long way in reinforcing this social bond.

Tasty Residues

Let's face it, we eat some pretty delicious stuff that dogs find irresistible. Your skin may have traces of food, lotions, or salt that your dog finds tasty.

Quick Fix: If you'd rather not be a human lollipop, wash your hands and face regularly and be mindful of any strong scents that might attract your dog.

Medical Reasons

Excessive licking can also be a sign of underlying medical issues, such as dental pain or gastrointestinal problems.

Quick Fix: For mild dental issues, consider giving your dog dental chews or using dog-specific oral care products. If gastrointestinal problems are suspected, a bland diet may provide temporary relief.

Emotional Comfort

For some dogs, licking acts as a self-soothing mechanism when they're anxious or stressed.

Quick Fix: Use comforting techniques like soft music, dim lighting, or a cozy blanket to help your dog relax.


While licking is a common behavior in dogs, understanding the reasons behind it can help you address any underlying issues and strengthen your bond with your furry friend.

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