People greet each other in a variety of ways that vary greatly from country to country or region to region. The Japanese, for example, just nod, while the French kiss on the cheeks. On the Corsican island, up to five times for one greeting! And, the hug, it’s almost everywhere.
For a dog, however, such rituals don’t change with geography. All the dogs in the world display almost similar behavioral patterns. For instance, a dog putting paw on you has similar meanings for almost all dogs. These rituals, however, may vary from breed to breed.
Why My Dog Licks My Face?
While your dog may greet you by licking your face, it’s more than just saying hello. If you wonder why, below are the six reasons why it does so:
1. Your Pooch Greets You
One of the main reasons why your dog licks your face is to display the joy of meeting you again- after a long or short absence. Your pet can also do so after waking up in the morning, or after a walk.
Most dogs almost certainly give such kisses after a long separation from their owners, e.g. when they come back from a long trip. By Joyfully licking your nose, forehead, cheeks, and ears, your four-legged friend wants to greet you effusively.
2. He Checks On Your Mood
When we meet a loved one, we usually ask at the very beginning how they are doing. We check on each other’s overall mood and condition by simply observing posture and facial expressions.
While your dog can also get tons of information by simply looking at you, he has a more reliable way of knowing how you are doing.
Your four-legged friend licks your face to check for skin secretions, and chemicals to make sure you are doing well. Such a faithful and caring fellow right?
3. To Show How Much He Loves You
Your four-legged friend, although he probably would like to, cannot tell you in a human voice that he likes you (although, as some believe, it is possible on Christmas Eve at midnight – it’s worth listening …). So he looks for different ways to make it clear how important you are to him.
Some people also look for signs of submission and subordination in this gesture, although it seems that it is more about attachment and sympathy that our pets have for us. So if your dog licks your face and ears, you can be proud of yourself – apparently, you are great at being his guardian.
4. He Cares About Your Hygiene..Ouch!
How does a dog wash every day? And how do female dogs take care of their young in the first weeks of their lives? Of course – licking! So when a dog licks its owner’s face, it is not only a sign of affection or a way of cheering but also a kind of “cleanliness control”_the dog way.
By licking, your pet wants to check that you are clean and help you in case it turns out that you are not coping with this issue. It is a natural method of hygiene for him, which he tries to pass on to you as well. Sometimes by doing so, he may, unfortunately, do more harm than good (read the last section to know more about this).
5. He May Be Tasting Something Good
Less often, your dog may lick your face for a much more mundane reason. If you have just finished a meal, your breath may smell appetizing to the pooch. Additionally, any leftover food particles on your face, or around your mouth would make a quick snack for him. No dog would miss such an opportunity …
However, remember not to let your dog come close to your face while you eat. This can be unhygienic for both of you. Kisses during a meal? No good!
6. Your Dog Licks Your Face Just for Fun
In addition to all of the reasons why dogs lick people, there is also an entirely mundane one. Dogs do it because they simply enjoy it. The act of licking triggers the happiness hormones in the dog’s body – endorphins – and thus gives them a sense of security and comfort.
When the dog licks your face, he is indulging in something that makes him happy, while giving you the compliment: “I like you, we’re friends.”
Your Dog Licks Your Face: Is it Hygienic?
As long as you and your dog both are healthy and you don’t have any unhealed wounds on your face, and your pet licks your skin only, there is nothing to be worried about. Bacteria will not be able to penetrate the natural protective barrier of the skin.
However, if the dog also licks your nose, eyes, or mouth, there is a certain risk of infection – because all kinds of bacteria can be present in the dog’s saliva. A study published in the US Institute of Health talks about this in great detail.
To avoid potential problems, you should be careful about how your pet behaves during walks and teach your dog not to taste things along the way.
And even if your dog is well behaved and healthy, you should still deny your pooch licking you too often.
So, there are multiple reasons why your dog licks your face. Some are related to dogs ’emotions and attempts to express them, others are much more down-to-earth and are often the result of dogs’ instincts. As long as you exercise caution and moderation in this display of affection, it should not be harmful in any way.