Why Do Dogs Lick Your Face?

Dogs are colloquially known as man’s best friend. This is for a number of reasons; for one, many households adopt them as their companions. Two other reasons are the affection they display for humans and their fierce loyalty to the families they belong to. This affection is often expressed with tail wagging, licking of faces, and several other canine behaviors. But are we really sure why dogs would lick the faces of the people around them? You may be surprised by the reason. Keep reading to learn the real reason why dogs lick your face.

Why Do Dogs Lick Your Face?

Social behavior is observed among the human population and is manifested in a number of ways. This includes behaviors like handshakes, hugs, eye signals, nods, and many more. Dogs are not humans, but they are thrown into social situations with people oftentimes and because of this, they are required to perform a form of social behavior. But this will be difficult for them because, unlike us, they have limited communication systems. However, there are still a good number of canine breeds that can be trained to give handshakes or hugs. But not all dogs can. This is where face-licking comes in.

So, why do dogs lick your face? There are a varying number of reasons dogs like to lick faces. At the top of the list is social communication. A dog is more likely to lick your face if they like you and want to express their affections towards you, they are not likely to lick the face of someone they don’t like or are not comfortable with.

The rationale behind this reason is that dogs are more likely to express this behavior toward people they are familiar with. In the event that a dog licks the face of someone they do not know, it may just be that they are trying to familiarize themselves with the person. The alternative of this with humans is offering a handshake.

If you are a dog parent, ensure that you never have food crumbs on your face, because, the second most popular reason dogs lick your face is when you have food particles on your face. For this kind of face-licking, the dog may not mind whether it is a familiar face or the face of a stranger. Your canine friend’s only interest is in polishing off the food crumbs on your face.

Besides, when you have these food particles scattered all over your face, your furbaby might perceive that you are not clean and proceed to get those crumbs off by cleaning you up with its tongue. It’s also regarded as an act of grooming as the older dog would lick her puppies to get rid of dirt. Needless to say that the act of face-licking by the canines is not limited to their human families, they extend it to other dogs in their pack

Is It Healthy To Have Your Dog Lick Your Face?

Dogs lick your face
Dogs like to lick the face of toddlers – source

Toddlers are easy targets when it comes to face licks from dogs. As a new parent, this might cause you to worry. Not knowing if the face licks pose a health risk is usually the root of the worry. This worry is, however, not limited to just new parents but people who may be new to the world of dog ownership. These novice dog owners should do well to understand the implications of canine face-licking.

Generally, a dog licking your face is not unsanitary or unhealthy; this is especially true when the face is devoid of wounds. However, the case becomes different when the area of your skin that is being licked has been broken. If you have sustained an injury on your face, then keep the dogs at bay and make sure you do not allow them to lick your face. The moisture from your dog’s tongue will make it more difficult for the injury to heal. The longer the injury stays open, the easier it is for bacteria to thrive on the open wound, prolonging the healing process.

We cannot conclude talks on the topic of why dogs lick your face without making a reference to capnocytophaga canimorsus. It is a bacteria that can only be found on the tongues of the feline and the canine population, but it is harmless to them. However, this bacteria can be harmful to humans when their dogs dump it on them.

It is important to note that where the harm will really arise is when your immune system is completely weakened. When the skin on your face is broken, and your dogs lick your face, the bacteria from their saliva are transmitted from your dog to you. Since the immune system is weak, it would be difficult for the person to fight off the bacteria once they are inside your body.

Read Also: Autism In Dogs: Can A Dog Be Autistic?

How To Stop Your Dog From Licking Your Face

Face licking by dogs is not something that everybody likes as there are pet parents who can barely tolerate it. In the event that you do not like it when dogs lick your face. There are ways that you can stop them from always expressing this behavior. As already mentioned, your dog may lick your face because of food particles on your face. Thus, an effective way to stop this from happening is to avoid leaving those food crumbs on your face.

However, when you observe that this happens often, do not reward the licking by giving them some of the food from your plate. This will serve as a reinforcement of the behavior and encourage them to continue with the face-licking. Your pooch may be forgiven for thinking that you actually like it.

Another way to dissuade this act is by not giving them immediate attention when they lick your face. When your dogs lick your face as a form of greeting, you should take a few minutes before you return the favor. The more you do this, the less your dog will lick your face.

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