Why Do Dogs Lick Your Feet?

If you have a dog at home, we are sure you have noticed that your furry friend often licks your feet. Many people associate dog licking with kisses, but this is not always exactly the case. This behavior has an explanation, according to experts in animal behavior.

This behavior is performed by all dogs regardless of age or breed and they usually do it as a means of communication with their human owners. The messages that your furry friend may be wanting to convey can be varied from anxiety to need or for any other reason.

One of the experts best known for being a specialist in animal behavior is Dr. Elizabeth Stelow from the University of California. She claims that dogs lick as an important means of communicating, either to transmit or to acquire information. The licks of dogs do not have a single meaning, but it has several.

For example, when a dog has her puppies, she tends to lick them frequently, especially when they are just born since it is a way to clean them by removing any residue from their nostrils and stimulating the digestion of her puppies. When they are older and receive licks from their mother, they also tend to lick her as a form of submission.

Licking also helps the animal to release endorphin, which is an act that makes the animal feel better. But what is the reason why dogs tend to focus on licking our feet?

The Professional Stelow affirms that each dog can do it for a particular reason but that without a doubt if the dog licks your feet constantly it is because he needs your attention.

In this way, below you will find different reasons why your dog licks your feet:

  • Dogs don’t only use their sense of smell to know or recognize something or someone, they also do so through their sense of taste, that is, licking. As you well know, each person has a unique smell for the dog, as it is the same with taste. Through licking, the dog can detect your state of health and your state of mind since they can perceive your horns, among other substances impossible to detect for humans.
  • Another reason why dogs lick their owners’ feet is often that they want something. According to professionals, this act can also be associated with acquiring something in return, for example, caresses and your attention. The dog associates your attention each time he licks you, therefore, he will continue to do so until he decides that it is enough.
  • Animal behavior professionals also admit that dogs associate people with scents. In this way, being close to you and smelling you, they feel the need to lick. On the other hand, if your feet are soaked or wet, they will want to lick you to clean you.
  • Another reason is usually anxiety. Many times anxious dogs, for example, if they haven’t seen you for several hours, will tend to lick your feet to make themselves feel better. Dogs do not tolerate loneliness so having another furry friend would be a good idea to calm that anxiety.
  • Yes, many times licking can be translated as kisses, so if your dog licks your feet it can also mean that he loves you very much, and licking you is a way to show it.
  • Dogs often lick feet when they want to show submission to their owner. Sometimes if the person is angry, the dog tends to lick to show obedience and respect, and also, they believe that by doing this, they will alleviate your anger.
  • Licking is also a communication signal, so if your dog licks your feet, he may be trying to convey that he is hungry or that he may not have water and is thirsty. On the other hand, the dog may have found something stuck to your skin and wants to lick it because it tastes good.
  • Your dog wants to heal you. It has been proven that dog saliva contains some antibacterial components, which is why when they have any pain, they tend to lick themselves to heal. Therefore, if you have a wound on your feet, your dog will notice it and will want to lick you, to heal you and prevent it from getting infected since he considers you as part of his family.

How to Prevent Your Dog From Licking Your Feet?

Although dogs lick their owners’ feet as an act of love and communication, there may be people who do not like it. If that is your case, first understand that the dog does not do it in order to annoy you, it makes it instinctively so you should not get angry about it, so here there are some tips that you can follow to avoid it.

  • You can distract your dog with a toy or a treat for dogs. This can help divert his attention and put that behavior aside. On the other hand, it is possible that the dog later associates licking with one of these activities.
  • You can always re-educate your dog, regardless of age. You can associate a treat with the action of not licking you and this way he will know that if he does not lick you, he will be able to receive a prize.
  • Giving him orders that he shouldn’t do can also help; it’s another way to educate your pet. When the dog licks your feet, you say “no” in a firm and sure voice so that he understands the order but never hit him.
  • In case you think that your furry friend licks you much more than normal, it is advisable to take him to a professional who knows about animal behavior, such as an ethologist. It is possible that he is suffering from an episode of anxiety so it is important that you seek help for your furry friend.

Remember that to train a dog (or any other animal), patience, practice, and perseverance is very important. The dog under, no point of view should learn to fear in between, each dog has a specific learning time, so it is important that you give him time, you will see that little by little, your dog will understand and stop doing it.

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