You sit on your couch, you are relaxed, you are enjoying your quiet time, and all of sudden, you feel a wet tongue licking your feet. And that tongue belongs to your dog.
If you are a dog owner, this has definitely happened to you. And you are wondering, why is your dog licking your feet?
Well, do not worry, there is an answer and logical explanation for that.
Licking and kissing come in the doggy package. And it can happen if you are visiting a friend’s house with a dog in it.
With that in mind, let’s talk about why does your dog lick your feet.
Is your dog trying to tell you something?
If you think there is some kind of hidden message, stop it. There is no hidden message.
Yes, your dog might be trying to tell you something, but that is not some type of a hidden message or a code only the two of you understand.
Licking is sometimes a form of asking for a treat or food. Dogs show you some affection and expect something in return.
Dogs might also lick your feet as a way to show you they understand the position and hierarchy in the home. Licking is a sign that they understand your position is above theirs.
Why are dogs licking?
Let’s get deeper into the issue, and try to explain all of the different reasons why dogs lick your feet. There are a variety of reasons why dogs lick things.
It all starts when they were babies in a litter, and the mother licked the puppies.
Dogs lick as a way to clean things, check things, and stimulate elimination. As we said, puppies learn the licking behavior from their mothers.
For many puppies, licking makes them feel loved, an emotion they experience as young puppies. They engage in licking to show love and affection, the same they felt when they were just little babies.
In many cases, dogs lick to gather information about an object. For dogs, smell and taste can provide a lot of information and knowledge.
You might not know it, but your feet have quite the story to tell. We all have sweat glands, and they release substances that your dog can sniff and taste.
They give them information about where have you been, with whom you have been, and what you have been doing.
Some dogs lick your feet because they are feeling anxious. Licking is just a way to indicate an anxiety disorder.
If that is the case, the licking will be accompanied by signs like crouched posture, fast and short tail wags, yawning, and panting.
Last, but not least, dogs lick your feet because they want to get a reaction back. You might laugh, move around, or talk to your dog. And those are all good things for your dog.
They want to get some kind of reaction, and they want to be in constant communication with you. Dogs feel connected to their owners, and they want to share their love and affection constantly.
Dogs and their sense of smell
There is a common myth or misconception that dogs lick your feet because of the salty taste due to sweat. But that is just a myth.
What is true, however, is that your dog can sense a lot of flavors and smells on your feet. You might have wiped your mouth after eating, and to the naked eye, there is nothing left.
However, to a dog, that smell will stay there. Some breeds have extremely good scent receptors.
Here are some of the best scent dogs:
- The bloodhound is the gold standard, with more than 300 million scent receptors
- German Shepherd Dog has approximately 225 million scent receptors
- The Beagle has as many scent receptors as the GSD, or 225 million
- The Fox Terrier, which is a hunting terrier dog, has about 147 million scent receptors
- Dachshund, a small and fun dog, has more than 125 million scent receptors
Are your feet special?
Why is it always your feet? Are your feet special? You are probably asking these two questions.
And yes, your feet are special. But in a bizarre way.
You probably wear socks and shoes for most of the day. And because of that, your feet sweat, with sweat leaving a salty taste. This is a taste that dogs enjoy.
But that is not the only reason why they go for the feet. Remember, feet are the easiest body part to access for dogs. We often walk in our homes barefoot, and dogs have access to our feet.
How to stop your dog from licking your feet
If you do not want your dog to lick your feet, there are ways to prevent it and stop it. You should encourage your dog to stop licking your feet using these tricks.
For starters, wear socks, dogs usually lick barefoot feet. They will not lick your feet if you wear socks.
Wash your feet, using soap with a scent like orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, and mint. Dogs do not like citrusy scents, and it will deter them from licking your feet.
You can also try putting lotion on your feet. Lotions usually have a strong scent, and dogs are not fond of those strong scents.
Last, but not least, offer your dog something else to do. Licking can sometimes be a sign of boredom. If your dog is not bored, he might not lick your feet.
With that in mind, encourage your dog to play with something else. You can give him a toy, or play a game of fetch.
Should You Worry?
In most cases, licking is not something you should worry about. It is not a health concern. Dogs gather information, process information, and give out information through smell and taste, which in this case is licking.
As long as the behavior is not excessive, and crosses a line, you should not worry. And if you are bothered by it, you can try using any of the tricks above to prevent licking.