Have you noticed that when you put lotion on your skin, your dog licks it?
Does this seem strange to you? Would you like to know why they do it?
And is it safe to let them lick the lotion?
Let’s find out…
Why Does My Dog Lick My Lotion?
Your dog licks your lotion because it likes the taste of it, or it happens to lick your skin for another reason, but it seems like it is licking the lotion.
Also, it could be that without realizing it, you have previously encouraged this behavior.
Now let’s look at each of these reasons in more depth so you can decide which one makes the most sense for your pet pooch:
- The dog likes the taste of your lotion.
- Your dog licks your skin while you happen to have lotion on.
- Without realizing you trained your dog to lick your balm.
1. The Dog Likes The Taste of Your Lotion
The most obvious and most likely reason why your dog likes licking your skin lotion is that they like the taste of it.
Many cosmetic skin lotions have similar flavors and smells, which could attract your dog.
If you think about the most popular skin lotions, they often smell good enough to eat, with flavors like coconut or melon.
It could be this simple. That your dog licks you in this way because the lotion you use smells as tasty as real food to them.
2. Your Dog Licks Your Skin While You Happen to Have Lotion On
Dogs lick humans (and also other dogs) for lots of different reasons. Here are some of them:
- Social grooming.
- Showing affection.
- Expressing empathy.
- Some humans have tasty skin.
- To gain attention.
- Stress or boredom.
Could it be that your dog is licking you for one of these reasons and because it sometimes happens when you have just put lotion on, you think the lotion is the reason?
Before we continue, you might enjoy this video explaining why dogs like licking their owners.
Just click on the video, and it will start to play:
3. Without Realizing You Trained Your Dog to Lick Your Lotion
While this might sound surprising, it is easy to accidentally train your dog into a behavior pattern.
For example, let’s say your dog randomly licked your lotion one day, and without thinking, you laughed and stroked them.
The dog felt good because you reacted warmly and gave them some attention.
They repeated the behavior, and you gave them a nice cuddle this time.
They have learned that if they lick your lotion, you will be nice to them.
So whenever they see you applying lotion or cream, they lick you and see if it works again.
Is it Safe to Let Your Dog Lick Your Skin Lotion?
When asking this question, we need to break it down into two parts:
- Is it safe for your dog?
- Is it safe for you?
1. Lotion Licking – Is it Safe for Your Dog?
This all depends on what type of lotion it is and what ingredients are in the lotion that could be toxic to dogs.
Some lotions may be perfectly safe for your dog, and others could be hazardous for them, even in small amounts.
Even some ingredients we think of as “natural,” such as Xylitol, can be very toxic to dogs, even in tiny quantities.
You have two choices, take the time to ensure all the ingredients in your skincare products are safe for your dog, or stop them from licking your skin when you have applied products.
2. Lotion Licking – Is it Safe for You?
This might seem like a weird question to ask. How could there be any risk to you?
It’s not that the dog licking the lotion that might be risky for you, but it is risky if you have damaged skin or they lick near your mouth.
Canine saliva has some nasty bugs. As a result, diseases and parasites can be transmitted from pet dogs to their owners.
So you shouldn’t let your dog lick your face or anywhere on your body that you have damaged skin.
How to Stop Your Dog from Licking Lotions On Your Skin
The simplest and most effective way to stop your dog from licking your lotion is to prevent them from getting close enough to do so.
For example, you could cover your skin with more clothing or stop them from sleeping in bed with you (if that’s when they lick you the most).
You can also use training to reduce the behavior.
Training and Using the “No” Command
If you have not already trained your dog to obey the no command, you should prioritize it.
Select a behavior you want them to stop doing – in this case, licking your skin when you have applied lotion – you need to catch them in the act of doing it, say “No” in a firm voice, and physically stop them from doing it.
For example, if your dog was licking your hand, you would pull your hand away and say the “No” command clearly and firmly.
Once they understand the “No” command for hand licking, it will be much easier to train them to understand it in a different context, such as barking or jumping up at people.
So you should work through a few different behaviors until they understand that “No” means stop what they are doing, whatever it is.
This is a really useful command to use with your dog. It is well worth the effort.
What Should You Do if Your Dog Licks the Lotion On Your Skin?
Firstly don’t panic. In most cases, your dog will be absolutely fine.
The most important thing to do is to keep an eye on them and see if they show any signs of being sick or in distress, such as vomiting, whining, drinking water excessively, etc.
If they appear sick or upset, the best thing to do is to take them to the vet for a checkup.
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).
Final Notes On Why Your Dog Licks Your Lotion
Your dog licks your lotion because they like the taste of it, or they are licking your skin for another reason, and it just seems to you as though they are licking you because of the lotion.
Also, without knowing it, you might have trained them to associate you putting lotion on with them being petted.
You should be careful about letting your dog lick any skincare or beauty products, as some contain chemicals that can be highly toxic to dogs.
It is best not to let your dog lick your face or skin if damaged, as nasty infections can be passed on to you from your dog’s saliva.
The best way to stop your dog from licking the lotions you put on your skin is not to let them get close enough to lick it.
So, that is the end of this post looking at the question, “why does my dog lick my lotion.”
If you have any more questions, please feel free to comment below.
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!