Dogs do many things that are interesting (and often seem a little odd) to their owners.
If you watch a dog for any time, you will notice that they use their noses and tongues a lot more than humans do.
One of the weird things dogs do is lick the outside and inside of their owner’s noses.
Have you noticed this behavior? Does your dog lick your nose?
Would you like to know why they do this?
Let’s find out…
Why Does Your Dog Lick Your Nose So Much?
Your dog licks your nose because they like the taste, are attracted to your skin care products, to express affection, to show submission, to groom you, because they are distressed, or they can smell something different about you.
As a loving dog owner, you need to find out why your dog is licking your nose and ensure there is nothing wrong with your dog.
So, let’s look at this in more detail:
- Your nose tastes nice.
- They are being affectionate.
- They are expressing submissiveness.
- They are trying to groom you.
- Your dog might be sick, stressed, or in pain.
- They can smell an ailment on your breath.
- You accidentally trained your pup to lick your nose.
1. Your Nose Tastes Nice
As a dog owner, you will be well aware that your dog has very different ideas of what is tasty and lickable to yourself!
To your dog, licking your nose could be a delicious treat.
If they lick the outside of your nose, it is most likely your skin that tastes nice to them.
If they lick up inside your nose, they most likely enjoy the taste of your boogers (before you judge, let’s be honest here, some people enjoy eating boogers as well).
2. They Are Being Affectionate
One 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 is licking up your nose to show you affection, and they happen to prefer that spot on your body.
3. They Are Expressing Submissiveness
Like humans, dogs live in hierarchies of social status, of how they live with other dogs and humans.
Often (and ideally), pet dogs see their owners as more dominant and show their submissiveness through body language and other behaviors.
4. They Are Trying to Groom You
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 ears, but another dog can.
So… yes! When your dog licks inside your nose, it could be because they think you are dirty and need to be cleaned and groomed.
You can make of that what you will!
5. Your Dog Might Be Sick, Stressed, Or in Pain
Sadly our pet dogs can’t talk to us, but they can communicate in other ways, including licking, nuzzling, and nibbling.
Also, dogs can lick people, other dogs, or random household times when they are sick or stressed as a way of self-soothing.
If you think about it in the same way that some people bite their nails when they are nervous, it should make sense that your dog might do something similar.
If your pooch shows any signs of emotional or physical issues, or if the way they lick your nose is frantic or obsessive, you should get them checked out with your vet.
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 for dog owners who are in difficulty).
6. They Can Smell an Ailment On Your Breath
Before we talk about this one, it’s important to say, please don’t worry!
It is doubtful that your dog licks your nose because you have a disease.
However, with that said, some dogs do have a remarkable ability to spot ailments in humans.
From licking a rash to sniffing out the onset of Parkinson’s disease, some dogs can spot a wide range of human illnesses.
If you have any symptoms or your dog seems worried or upset when they lick your nose, it might be worth talking to your doctor.
7. You Accidentally Trained Your Pup to Lick Your Nose
While this may sound surprising, it is easy to accidentally train your dog into a behavior pattern.
For example, let’s say your dog randomly licked up your nose 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 you will be nice to them if they lick your nose.
So whenever they want some attention and affection from you, they lick inside your nose and see if it works.
NOTE – Before you read further, you might enjoy this video about why dogs lick their owners.
Just click on the video to start playing:
Should You Let Your Dog Lick Your Nose?
Canine saliva has some nasty bugs. As a result, diseases and parasites can be transmitted from pet dogs to their owners.
With most skin licking, there is minimal risk of infection unless your skin is damaged or broken.
However, because your nose is so close to your mouth, the risk of infection increases, so it is best not to let them do it.
It is even more important not to let them do this if you have broken or damaged skin close to or up inside your nose, as the risk of infection is much higher.
How to Stop Your Dog from Licking Your Nose
The most obvious and easiest way to stop this canine nose-licking behavior is to prevent them from being able to get to it.
For example, you could stop them from sleeping in bed with you (when your nose is easy for them to get to).
If that isn’t suitable, you can also try training them. Let’s see how…
How to Train Your Dog Not to Lick Your Up Your Nose
When training a dog not to lick your nose or anywhere else on your body, we first need to remember that licking is a perfectly natural behavior for them.
This means it might be hard to eliminate the nose licking entirely, and you should only try to do so with good reason.
With that said, there is a simple two-step process that should be very effective with most dogs:
- Use the “No” command to stop the licking.
- Use distraction and praise to redirect the dog’s attention.
Let’s look at each step more closely:
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 up your nose – 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.
Using Distraction and Praise to Encourage A Different Behavior
After successfully using the “No” command to stop the dog from licking your nose, you should reward and distract them.
Give them a treat, pet them, or give verbal praise, so they associate stopping with feeling good.
Then play with them, let them go outside, move them around the house, or do something similar to distract them from returning to the licking.
If you keep up with this simple two-step process, you will notice a reduction in this nose licking behavior.
Not only that, but if they do carry on with the licking, you will be able to stop them much more quickly.
Please note that if you struggle to stop your dog from licking, it may be because they are doing so 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.
Final Thoughts On Why Your Dog Licks Your Nose So Much
If your dog licks your nose, the chances are that it is due to one of these reasons:
- Your nose tastes nice to your dog.
- They are attracted to your skin care products or perfume.
- To show you affection.
- To expressive submission.
- To groom you.
- The dog might be sick, in pain, or anxious
- They can smell an ailment that you have.
You shouldn’t let them lick your nose because it is very close to your mouth, and the risk of infection is increased.
The easiest way to stop it is by not letting them get close enough to your nose to lick it, but you can also use training to reduce or eliminate this behavior.
If the behavior seems obsessive, you should take the dog to a vet for a check-up.
If you have any pain or signs of a health issue in your nose or face, you should get it checked out by your doctor ASAP.
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!