Have you noticed that your dog licks your skin when you get mosquito bites?
Why do they do this, and is there any risk from letting them? Let’s find out…
Why Does Your Dog Lick Your Mosquito Bites?
Your dog licks your mosquito bites because they taste nice; they are trying to help you heal from them, trying to understand what they are or because you accidentally trained them to do it.
Here is a complete list of reasons a dog might lick their owner’s mosquito bites. After this short list, we will look at each point in more detail.
- The mosquito bites taste nice to your dog.
- They are trying to heal the bites by licking them.
- They are investigating what they are.
- You accidentally trained them to lick the bites.
1. The Mosquito Bites Taste Nice To Your Dog
As all dog owners know very well, what is appetizing to a dog can seem very unpleasant to their owners!
Your dog could be licking your mosquito bites because, for some reason, they smell or taste nice to them.
For example, if you have scratched the bites and they have scabbed over, it might be the tasty scabs that attract your dog’s tongue.
IMPORTANT NOTE – Please be careful if you have put some cream or similar medication on your mosquito bites and the dog is licking them.
The medication could be toxic to your dog, so you should immediately stop them from licking the bites.
2. They Are Trying To Heal The Bites By Licking Them
Not only that, but dogs can express empathy towards people when they are sick and even try to help them get better.
So your dog might be licking your bites because they understand something is wrong and are trying to improve it.
(Before we continue, let’s take a second to appreciate how awesome dogs are and how lucky we are to have them).
3. They Are Investigating What They Are
Much more so than humans, dogs explore and understand the world around them with their mouths and tongues.
If the mosquito bites have recently appeared, your pup might be curious about them and give them a lick to try and understand what they are.
4. You Accidentally Trained Them To Lick The Bites
While this might sound surprising, it is easy to train your dog into a behavior pattern accidentally.
For example, let’s say your dog randomly licked your mosquito bites 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 some nice cuddle time.
They have learned that if they lick your bites, you will be nice to them.
So whenever they want some attention and affection from you, they lick your mosquito bites and see if it works.
You could, of course, look at this the other way around.
Your dog has trained you to pet them when they lick your insect bites!
Perhaps our dogs are a lot smarter than we realize.
Should You Let Your Dog Lick Your Mosquito Bites?
Canine saliva has some nasty bugs. As a result, diseases and parasites can be transmitted from pet dogs to their owners.
With mosquito bite licking, there is a real risk of infection due to your skin being damaged by the bites and you scratching the bites and leaving a scab.
So while it is usually considered safe to let your dog lick your skin, in this case, you shouldn’t let them do it.
NOTE – The only risk to your dog from licking the bites is if you have put some cream or other medication on them, in which case you shouldn’t let them lick your skin as it could be toxic for them.
What Happens if a Dog Licks Your Mosquito Bite?
If a dog licks the bites on your skin, the chances are it will be fine, but there is a small risk of infection, especially if your skin is damaged and scabbed.
If it happens, the best thing to do is to thoroughly wash the area with hot soapy water and then cover up the bites so it can’t happen again.
If you think you might have gotten infected, the best thing to do is seek medical advice.
Do Dog Licks Help Mosquito Bites?
There may be some substances in a dog’s saliva that can help stop the itching from the bites and also help them to heal.
But as mentioned above, dogs’ saliva has some nasty bugs. So you should not let them lick any area of damaged skin to prevent any risk of infection.
How to Stop a Dog From Licking Mosquito Bites
The easiest way to stop your dog from being able to lick the bites is to cover up the affected area of the skin or prevent the dog from getting close enough to be able to do so.
For example, if you have been bitten on your neck and face, don’t let your dog sleep in bed with you until the bites are gone and your skin is fully healed.
A Quick Note About Obsessive Licking by Your Dog
Sometimes excessive and obsessive licking can be due to stress, boredom, or a medical condition.
If this might be the case, you should do your best to fix the underlying cause and, if need be, take the dog to the vet to get 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).
Final Notes On Why Dogs Lick Mosquito Bites
If your dog licks your mosquito bites, it is most likely due to one of these reasons:
- The bites taste nice to the dog.
- They are trying to heal them.
- They are interested in what they are.
- You accidentally trained them to lick the bites.
Dog saliva can pass infections to humans through broken skin, so you should not let them do it.
The best way to stop your dog from licking your mosquito bites is to prevent them from being able to get to them, either by covering them up or by stopping the dog from getting close enough.
If your dog does lick your bites, wash the affected area immediately with hot soapy water to reduce any risk of infection.
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!