Why Does My Dog Lick Me When We Cuddle?

As a dog owner, one of the fun things you get to do is observe all the quirky ways your dog behaves.

Dogs do some weird and funny things, and one of the best things about living with a dog is watching what they get up to.

From barking at wildlife on the TV to chasing their tails, the list of funny stuff they do is endless.

This is why TheFactualDoggo.com exists.

To explain why dogs do what they do.

So that their owners can better understand and care for their pet pooches.

In this post, we will answer the question – why does my dog lick me when we cuddle?

After we have answered it, we will also look at if there are any risks from letting your dog lick your skin.

OK, now let’s get stuck into the details…

Why Does My Dog Lick Me When We Cuddle?

Your dog licks you when you cuddle with them to show you affection, engage in social grooming, or as a way of helping them to relax.

Or it could be as simple as your skin is nice and tasty to your dog.

To know which it is, you should watch the dog’s body language to check if they seem happy or anxious.

Now we can look into this in more detail so you can figure out which applies to the dog in your life:

  1. They lick you to show you some affection.
  2. When they lick you, they are engaging in social grooming.
  3. They are using the living as a way to relax.
  4. Your skin tastes nice to the dog.

1. To Show You Affection

Woman Cuddling Small Dog on the BeachOne of the best things about being a dog owner is how much love and affection our pet dogs give us.

They are amazing creatures, and we are fortunate to have them in our lives.

It could be as simple as your dog licking you when you hug and cuddle them is a way for them to reciprocate your affection.

2. They Are Engaging In Social Grooming

Lots of animals (including dogs and humans) engage in social grooming.

Dogs do this as a way of bonding but also for practical reasons, for example, a dog can’t lick their own ears, but another dog can.

So… When your dog licks you, it could be because they think you are dirty and need to be cleaned!

3. They Are Relaxing

Licking can work for a dog as a self-soothing mechanism.

When dogs lick things, a collection of endorphins are released in their brains. These endorphins help the dog to feel calm and relaxed.

So when your dog licks you as you cuddle with them, it might be that without knowing it, they are doing so to help themselves relax even more

4. You Taste Nice to the Dog

Sometimes the most straightforward explanations for canine behavior are the best ones.

Your dog could be licking your skin because it tastes nice (possibly due to the salt from your sweat).

The fact that you are hugging, cuddling, and snuggling them while they lick you could just be a coincidence.

Should You Let Your Dog Lick You When You Cuddle Them?

Canine saliva has some nasty bugs. As a result, diseases and parasites can be transmitted from pet dogs to their owners.

However, with most licking, there is minimal risk of infection unless your skin is damaged or broken.

If you have a rash or a cut close to where they want to lick, you should not let them do so, but otherwise, it’s very safe and totally up to you if you want them to carry on.

Important Note Please take a look at this video if you think the risks of your dog licking damaged skin are overblown.

Infection from dog saliva can cause severe illness and even worse!

Just click the video, and it will start to play:


Should You Worry About This Behavior?

If your dog is happily licking you as you snuggle and cuddle them, then there is most likely nothing to worry about, and you can let them express themselves.

However, with any canine licking behavior, if it is frantic, obsessive, or seems to be an expression of something wrong with your dog, then you should take them to the vet.

Excessive licking can indicate various health conditions, so it is always best to be safe and get them checked out.

If you are in financial difficulty and are worried about vet bills, this site lists helpful resources for charities to help you pay your bills.

(If you don’t live in the US, you can use Google to find similar help in your country, there is a lot of support out there for dog owners who are in difficulty).

How to Prevent Your Dog from Licking You When You Cuddle Them

Women Cuddling a Huge MastiffThe most obvious way to stop this behavior would be to stop cuddling your dog, but obviously, this isn’t a good solution in most cases.

However, it could be helpful at certain times of the day.

For example, if you remember not to cuddle them before you eat, you won’t have to wash your hands before enjoying your food.

Final Notes On Why Your Dog Licks You When You Cuddle

So, to wrap up this short blog post.

If your dog licks you when you cuddle with them, it is most probably due to one of these reasons:

  • They lick you to show you some affection.
  • When they lick you, they are engaging in social grooming.
  • They are using the living as a way to relax.
  • Your skin tastes nice to the dog.

If you have damaged skin, you should not let your dog lick anywhere near it, as you could catch a nasty infection and even end up in the hospital.

You should also not let your dog lick your mouth for the same reason.

If your dog seems to be stressed or sick, you should consider taking them to the vet to make sure there isn’t a more serious underlying health condition causing the licking.

That is the end of this post looking at the question – why does my dog lick me when we cuddle?

We hope that it was useful and helped to answer your questions.

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