Have you noticed your dog licking the ears of another dog? This might seem like weird behavior.
Are you worried it might get them into trouble if another dog doesn’t take too kindly to having their ears licked?
If so, it makes sense for you to wonder why dogs lick other dogs’ ears. So, let’s find out.
Why Do Dogs Lick Each Other’s Ears?
The main reason a dog would lick another dog’s ears is to communicate with them via body language or as a form of social grooming.
Dogs can’t lick and clean their own ears, but another dog can do it for them, so this is a clever form of cooperation between some dogs.
So the two main reasons are:
- As a form of communication.
- Social grooming.
Let’s look at each one in more detail to really understand dogs licking each other’s ears:
1. As a Form of Communication
Ok, so at first, this might sound odd to us humans.
If you imagine being out one night, seeing your friends in a bar, and immediately running up to them and giving their ear a good licking!
But for dogs, licking, nibbling, and nuzzling are ways of communicating, saying hello, and getting to know each other.
In the same way, humans might kiss each other on the cheek, hug, or shake hands.
Dogs do things like licking each other’s ears.
It’s not really that different from how humans behave if you think about it.
NOTE – You might be interested to read this post about why dogs pin their ears back.
2. Social Grooming
Social grooming is a behavior not just seen in canine species but many other animal species and even in humans (ever paid someone to give you a facial cleansing or to wash your hair?)
Canine social grooming serves a couple of purposes. First, it forms stronger social bonds between animals.
If you think about a parent brushing their child’s hair, you can see why this might be the case.
Also, there are health and hygiene benefits to canine social grooming.
Animals that groom each other tend to be cleaner but, most importantly, in places they can’t reach to clean themselves!
A perfect example of this is a dog’s ears. Of course, a dog can’t reach to lick its own ears, but another member of the pack certainly can.
So, your dog may be cleaning the other dog’s ears as they are being licked and bonding with them.
NOTE – You might enjoy reading this post to discover why dogs have floppy ears.
Why Do Dogs Nibble and Bite Each Other’s Ears?
Dogs may bite or nibble another dog’s ears as a form of bonding or play.
However, if your dog aggressively bites another dog’s ears, you must immediately train them out of this behavior.
If you struggle to stop it, you should probably speak to a local dog trainer and ask them for help to eliminate this trait before one or both dogs get hurt.
NOTE – You might also want to read this post about why dogs pin their ears back.
Should You Be Concerned About This Behaviour?
If your dog is not being aggressive, you shouldn’t worry about your dog licking, cleaning, nibbling, or biting other dogs’ ears.
It is perfectly normal, healthy, and natural behavior. Just let them enjoy it and bond with other dogs in the process of doing so.
The only time you need to step in is if the dog being licked appears scared or annoyed by the actions of the other dog.
If this is the case, it is probably best to stop it before a fight breaks out.
Check Out This Very Cute Akita Puppy
Here is a charming example of dog-to-dog ear-licking behavior from a stunning young Akita puppy.
Just click the video, and it will start playing:
Final Notes On Why Dogs Lick Other Dogs Ears
Dogs lick other dogs’ ears as a form of communication, bonding, and social grooming.
It is perfectly natural, and there is nothing to worry about with this behavior.
Just let them enjoy doing what nature intended them to do.
You will only need to stop the behavior if the dog being licked shows signs of stress, fear, or anger.
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!