Dogs are naturally cuddly, expressive creatures, and as all dog owners know, most dogs love to lick things!
Dogs will lick all sorts of things, from other dogs’ privates to random stones and anything in between.
In this post, we will answer the question – why do dogs lick your legs so much?
Dogs lick your legs for several reasons. It can be a way of expressing affection to you, as a form of bonding or social grooming. They can do it as a way to relax and self-soothe. It could also be because your skin tastes nice and salty. Or they may be trying to get your attention for some reason.
Now let’s delve deeper into the reasons for your pet’s love of licking your legs to understand why they do this odd behavior.
Reasons Why Your Dog Licks Your Leg
1. Leg licking is a way to express affection.
2. Your dog likes the salty taste of your skin.
3. The dog wants your attention.
4. Licking your skin is a way of bonding with you.
5. Licking your legs soothes them.
Now let’s look at each of these reasons in more detail.
1. Leg Licking Is a Way To Express Affection
Dogs are naturally loving and social animals, and just like humans, they like expressing their affection. This is one of the reasons why dogs make such great pets. They enjoy giving and receiving affection just like we do.
So, when your dog licks your legs, it could signify their affection for you. They could be trying to let you know how much they like you.
Some dog owners might find this cute, but others may not see their dog slobbering over their legs as the most flattering of compliments. We will leave you to decide how you feel about it.
NOTE – You might like to take a look at this post about why dogs lay their heads on your feet.
2. Your Dog Likes The Salty Taste of Your Skin
Another reason why your dog might like licking your legs is that they enjoy the salty taste of your skin.
Have you ever noticed how your dog tends to lick you more when you’re sweaty, maybe after you have been for a run or worked out?
This could mean that your dog simply likes the taste of your salty sweat. Or it could be indicative of a craving for salt due to not getting enough in their diets.
If you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior and more excessive leg licking, it could signify sodium deficiency. Your dog might not be getting the appropriate amount of sodium in its food and is craving salt as a result.
To prevent sodium deficiency, always follow your vet’s recommendation on food intake, depending on your dog’s age, weight, and physical activities.
Also, try to give them dog food that contains all the essential vitamins and minerals for healthy growth.
Note – You can find some great advice about nutrition for your dog on the American Kennel Club Website.
3. The Dog Wants Your Attention
Your dog could also just be trying to get your attention. Dogs are smart and can catch on to routines and patterns very well.
You might not realize this, but as well as you training your dog, they actually teach you as well, and this is a classic example.
If you tend to look at your dog, pet them, or play with them every time they lick you, they could be trying to elicit the same reaction from you by licking you again.
It might be that they want your attention for a specific reason, or they just want more general attention and to connect with you.
To figure out what your dog could want from you, try to remember what you usually do at that time of the day or what they might need from you.
Is your dog supposed to be out on a walk or enjoying a snack, for example? They could just be telling you that it’s time for that.
Your dog may also be bored. Dogs need to play. They need to expend their energy. So if they have been inside the house all day, your dog could be telling you they want some fun and excitement.
In a nutshell, if you feel like your dog is licking your legs to try and tell you something, you should do your best to figure out what they want or need.
4. Licking Your Skin is a Way of Bonding With You
Dogs lick each other and their humans as a way of bonding with them. It is a form of social grooming that many animals, including humans, engage in.
For example, dogs will lick each other ears, gorillas will pick fleas out of each other’s fur, and a human Mother will lovingly brush her child’s hair.
So when your beloved pet pooch licks your legs, the polite thing to do is to return the favor and lick theirs!
Just joking of course, but it is nice to know that your dog is trying to bond with you, and you can give the same back in love and cuddles.
5. Licking Your Legs Soothes Them
Dogs are incredibly good at soothing themselves. One of the ways by which they do this is by licking. Licking releases hormones that help them cope with stressful situations or feelings of anxiety.
It’s common for dogs to be stressed or afraid if there are changes in their environment (such as if you move to a different house or invite a guest over for the first time).
If you notice your dog licking your legs (or any other object) much more than they usually do, it could be a sign of stress.
It would help if you spent some time figuring out what is causing their stress. Has something changed at home? Has their routine changed? Are they in pain or sick?
By identifying these stressors, you do your best to eliminate them or at least find ways to help alleviate the dog’s stress levels.
Before we finish this post, why not watch this short and charming video looking at why dogs lick their humans so much:
Final Thoughts on Your Dog Licking Your Legs
Your dog could be licking your legs for many reasons, from wanting to bond with you, to stress caused by a change in routine or illness.
Your job is to figure out which of these reasons is most likely and then act to make sure your pet pooch has everything they need to be healthy and happy.
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!