Have you ever been sitting on the couch only to have your pup come over and lick your toes?
Or perhaps you’ve had a long day, and you take off your shoes to relax, only for your pup to sneak over and start giving your feet some much-needed attention.
If this sounds familiar, you may be wondering why dogs seem to be so obsessed with feet.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the reasons why dogs like feet so much.
So Why Do Dogs Like Feet So Much?
Dogs like feet for several reasons; they like to curl up on them to feel warm, safe, and close to their owners.
They also like to lick feet because human feet are often tasty to dogs and because licking is a relaxing activity for dogs.
Now, let’s look at why your dog loves your feet in more detail.
7 Reasons Why Your Dog Likes Your Feet
There are many reasons your dog might seem to be obsessed with your feet.
Your canine friend may be trying to bond with you by licking your feet, or they may just like curling up around your feet to feel nice and warm.
Here are some reasons why dogs like feet:
- Feet are salty from sweat.
- Feet are easy to reach.
- Licking your feet gets your attention.
- They want to get to know you better.
- Licking feet relieves stress.
- Your dog is feeling protective.
- Your dog loves you.
Read on to learn more about why your dog seems so interested in your feet!
NOTE – You may like to read this post about why dogs like antlers so much.
1. Feet Are Salty from Sweat
Remember how you crave your favorite bag of chips (the one you keep promising yourself you won’t have too much of), yet you finish a whole bag anyway?
That’s precisely how your dog feels about your feet. Yep, strange as it may sound, your dog craves the salt in your sweaty feet!
Dogs love salt.
They love salty things—edible or inedible. Part of this is because they need salt in their diet.
They’re hard-wired to want it because their body needs it to function properly.
NOTE – You might also like to read this post if your dog’s feet smell like Fritos corn chips (it’s more common than you might think).
Tip – Make Sure Your Dog’s Diet Includes Sodium
If you’re noticing that your dog is licking your feet often (especially if it’s a recent development), you may want to check whether they have enough sodium in their diet.
It’s recommended for dog food to have 0.3% sodium.
Anything below that (or no sodium at all) could be why your dog is trying to get extra salt from licking your feet.
If you notice that your dog’s food lacks the recommended amount of sodium, you should switch to a food that has a balance of all the essential vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy dog.
However, before upping your dog’s sodium intake, make sure that you talk to your vet first.
This will help you know for sure whether your dog’s behavior is the result of a salt deficiency.
While salt is necessary for a well-balanced diet, making your dog consume too much salt can lead to serious health issues, so please proceed with caution here.
NOTE – You might like to take a look at this post about why dogs lay on your feet.
2. Your Feet Are Easy to Reach
Another reason why dogs pay lots of attention to feet is that they are the easiest for dogs to reach.
Dogs love to be close to their owners.
They like to snuggle, rub up against us, anything just to be near us. Not only does this make them especially adorable, but it also explains why they’re always all over our feet.
Our feet are the first thing that dogs can reach, especially when it comes to smaller breeds.
True, most dogs can jump up to the height of our stomach—and sometimes even our chest, but on a regular day when you’re just lounging on the couch, it’s the feet that they’ll often go for because it’s easy.
And we’re not just talking about licking feet. Sometimes, dogs just lay their heads on them, sniff them, put a paw on them, and even sit on them.
Dogs just love being close to us, making them excellent pets.
NOTE – You might enjoy reading this post looking at why dogs rub against you.
Some Dogs Aren’t Inclined to Cuddle
If your dog doesn’t do this, don’t worry or feel like your dog doesn’t like being around you.
Like humans, dogs have different personalities and temperaments.
While most dogs are generally cuddly and loving, some are just not as inclined to cuddle with their owners.
If this is the case, you should just let your dog be and try not to worry about it.
Related Post: Why Don’t Dogs Like Their Paws Being Touched?
3. It Gets Your Attention
If you and your dog have been together for a while, they probably already know that licking your feet is guaranteed to elicit a response from you.
Most of us have ticklish or sensitive feet, so when our dogs lick them, we usually turn our attention to them no matter what we’re doing.
Your dog may have learned to do this to get your attention. For example, your dog could be bored, hungry, or eager for a treat.
The bottom line is they may want something from you, and they’re trying to make you aware of it.
So, if your dog is licking your feet a lot, check whether it’s time for a routine or activity that you usually do at that particular time of the day.
For example, has your dog just eaten and is suddenly licking you? It could be that they need to be let out for potty time.
Dogs are incredibly easy to train because they remember routines so well.
And if they have gotten used to something that you’re not delivering, they will try to communicate that with you.
So before dismissing this behavior as just normal doggy behavior, think about what your dog could need that you might be missing.
4. They Want To Get To Know You Better
Unlike humans, dogs have a unique ability to smell and taste simultaneously.
This is thanks to a unique organ called Jacobson’s organ, located somewhere between the roof of their mouth and their nasal cavity.
Due to their keen sense of smell, something as trivial as feet allows dogs to get to know you better.
The sweat in your feet is packed full of information about you.
Just by sniffing and licking your feet, your dog can tell how you feel, where you’ve been, what you ate last, what you’ve been doing, and so much more.
Isn’t it amazing how dogs can pick up on our emotions so well?
When we’re down, it’s not unusual for our furry friends to snuggle up with us on the bed or put a comforting paw on our shoulders.
And when we’re excited, they are often running about or jumping up and down, practically bursting with happiness.
So yes, your dog knows you better than you think.
That’s one of the reasons why they can empathize with human beings so well.
They can understand so much about us that we’re not even aware of.
Just as we love discovering more about the people we love, dogs love getting to know us. In fact, thanks to this ability, we can form such deep bonds with our dogs.
So, the next time your dog licks your feet, remember that they may simply be curious about you and want to get to know you better.
5. Licking Your Feet Relieves Their Stress
Licking is a natural self-soothing behavior in dogs. If they’re in a stressful situation, they may begin to lick to alleviate their anxiety.
Even when not stressed out, dogs may simply lick feet because they enjoy it. It’s a natural dog behavior that you shouldn’t be worried about.
However, notice that your dog is suddenly licking your feet more aggressively (especially if your dog wasn’t much of a licker previously).
It could be a sign that something is making your dog feel anxious, scared, or stressed out.
Your dog may be stressed due to one of these factors:
- Changes in the environment (especially if the dog just got rehomed).
- A new person in the home.
- Disturbing or loud noises.
- Another dog in the house is acting aggressively.
- A change in your dog’s routine.
If your dog is experiencing any of these or something else that you think maybe giving it anxiety, try to deal with the cause right away if you can.
If you can’t remove the cause of their anxiety, then at least try to alleviate their stress with walks, treats, cuddles, and reassurance.
Before we carry on with our list, take a look at this video of an adorable Jack Russell who loves licking his owner’s feet:
6. Your Dog Is Feeling Protective
Is your dog sitting on your feet or next to your feet a lot?
They could be sensing some danger and feeling protective of you.
If this is the case, your dog’s ears might also be upright, a clear sign that they’re feeling tense or afraid.
They could also be barking more than they usually do.
While dogs can’t communicate with us using words, they often do so with their body language.
Learning to read how your dog is acting is key to understanding what they’re experiencing or might be trying to tell you.
Consider Potential Causes for Protectiveness
If you sense that your dog could be feeling protective when sitting on or really close to your feet, think about what changes have happened recently and how they could make your dog feel like you’re in danger.
An example of this could be if you had a fight with someone who raised their voice at you or if you invited home someone that your dog has never seen before.
You can alleviate your dog’s fears by showing friendliness to the unfamiliar person, as this will communicate to your dog that the new person is harmless.
You can also try to speak cheerfully or in soothing tones to your dog to reassure them that there’s nothing to worry about.
However, bear in mind that it’s natural for dogs to feel protective of their humans.
As long as they’re not getting overly stressed or anxious, there’s usually nothing to worry about.
Their protectiveness is just one way they show that they care about you.
8. Your Dog Loves You, and That Includes Your Feet!
Lastly, dogs like your feet so much because they love you.
It’s natural for dogs to want to be close to someone they love, and paying attention or being close to your feet is a way to show that they like being next to you.
By licking your feet or sitting close to them, they are communicating their affection.
Some dogs are very clingy and prefer to sit on their owners’ lap or beside them.
However, some are not as expressive and are content with sleeping on the floor close to their owners.
Regardless of whether your pet is a clingy, expressive fur ball or a more reserved one.
They won’t be able to resist licking your feet, sitting or sleeping beside them, or even chewing playfully on your toes every now and then because they just can’t get enough of you!
Why Won’t My Dog Stop Licking My Feet?
Another interesting thing about dogs is that they quickly pick up on what their owners like.
And when they do, they will keep doing it to make you happy.
If your dog doesn’t stop licking your feet, you will likely encourage the behavior, whether you realize it.
By reacting positively when your dog licks your feet, you are encouraging them to continue the behavior.
Dogs are adorable like that.
So, when your dog licks your feet, and you respond positively (by proceeding to cuddle them, give them treats, or play with them), they will keep doing it again.
Dogs enjoy the positive things they may get from the experience (licking by itself is already an enjoyable activity for them).
Still, they also enjoy pleasing their humans as much as we love making our furry ones happy.
Respond Accordingly When Your Dog Licks Your Feet
If you don’t like it when your dog licks your feet too much, you might want to think about how you respond whenever they engage in the behavior.
You may not be aware that your response encourages your pet to keep doing it.
If that’s the case, you should consider cutting back on positive reinforcement toward the behavior.
This doesn’t mean that you should withdraw from your pet, though. Instead, you can simply draw them away from your feet whenever you notice that they’re being excessive about it again.
Just remember to be consistent. Otherwise, your dog will only get confused with the mixed signals.
Final Thoughts On Why Dogs Like Feet So Much
Dogs, regardless of their personality and temperament, really like feet. Luckily, that’s perfectly normal!
It’s a way for them to express their love, get to know you better, and show you they’re ready to protect you and get your attention.
Next time your pet dog starts licking your toes, instead of thinking it’s an annoyance, you might want to pull them close and show them that you love them too!
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!