You see your four-legged friend running at you and start licking your feet whenever you’re relaxing on the couch without your socks on. You find it funny at first, but now it’s a little annoying. But you don’t know the reason for it. You think, “Why does my dog lick my feet often?”.
Licking is an essential part of development in dogs from their birth. Female dogs lick their puppies to clean and stimulate their digestion. In return, the puppies lick their mother to show gratitude and love. This licking process goes on throughout their life to express different emotions and helps release endorphins, the happy hormones!
Why Do Dogs Like Feet?
Now we know that licking is natural in dogs by birth, but the question is, why the feet? You think, “Why is my dog obsessed with my feet?”.
No worries! We are here to answer. We have come up with three reasons why your dog is obsessed with licking your feet. Let’s have a look!
- Your feet are closest to your dogs when you are standing up.
- Your foot has an odor and a salty taste that your dog can smell and wants to lick. Jacobson’s organ connects its nasal pathway to the roof of the mouth, which simultaneously helps to taste and smell. This additional organ triggers their feet licking behavior more.
- They see you reacting to the feet licking and love to get your reactions.
What Does It Mean When a Dog Licks Your Feet?
Dogs love to lick, and it’s a way of communication. They will show their love, respect, and affection by licking you.
Each dog has its reasons for having a behavioral licking tendency. It didn’t just happen in a day but took time to develop into a habit.
So, if your dog has been licking your feet for a long time, here’s why:
- Many dogs notice that licking your feet gets them attention, pets, food, walks, and sometimes dog treats. So they keep on trying it and see if the results vary. If the results are the same, the dog turns it into a habit. It is known as positive reinforcement.
- Dogs lick us when they want to say they love us and are excited to see us. The same reason can be when licking our feet. Maybe you don’t let your dog lick your arms or face, so they resolve to lick your feet to show they care.
- Dogs or cats groom each other when they have a close-knit relationship. When dogs lick your feet, it can mean they are social grooming. It can be weird because we humans don’t need a social groom.
- Dogs can feel tense and anxious also. Do you know how they lower anxiety? By clicking you! It doesn’t have to be the feet; it can be any body part. It is known as a displacement behavior.
- Dogs love sweat’s taste as it is salty. The saltier, the better! This is the motto of your dogs. The reason can be that your dog likes the taste of your feet sweat.
Can My Dog Get Sick from Licking My Feet?
You feel loved when your dog licks your feet. You feel like you have a special bond with your furry friend, but you are concerned: “Will licking my feet get my dog sick?”
To erase your worries, as long as your feet are clean and have no chemical products, lotions, or creams, your feet won’t cause any illness to your dog. It’s completely safe!
But, the obsessive foot licking of your dog can mean they are going through some health issues.
Suppose your dog is obsessively licking your feet. In that case, it may mean they have primary gastrointestinal issues, or your dog is trying to meet a nutrient requirement absent in them.
Visit your vet as soon as possible if you notice this obsessive licking behavior in your dog. It may be touchy and fun for you, but it might lead to your dog’s more significant health problem. So act fast!
Why is My Dog Licking Paws?
You should be concerned if it’s not your feet but your dog’s paw they have been licking.
Dogs naturally lick their paws to clean off dirt, so there is nothing to worry about. But if you see your dog licking their feet excessively, you should know its reasons. It can sometimes lead to more significant health problems.
So, let’s get going to the reasons!
- Paw injury: Your dog might be licking their paws due to an injury or an open wound. Maybe your dog got pricked by a thorn or a sharp object while playing in the backyard.
Dogs lick their paws excessively when they get hurt. So look out for any foreign materials stuck under their paws.
If you find any, do the following:
- Clean the wound with water to remove any dirt or debris
- Use a clean cotton ball or swab to apply antibacterial ointment to the area
- Cover the injury with a sock, and don’t let your dog lick the wound further to avoid any infections
- Pain and Skin Conditions: Sometimes, dogs lick their paws if they feel any pain. They do it to decrease the discomfort they are feeling. Consult your veterinarian if you notice any distress in your dog and get immediate medical treatment.
On the other hand, skin conditions like dermatitis can trigger your dog’s licking. Dogs with hairier paws are prone to skin diseases as their paws can stay wet if they go out on a rainy day or even after a bath. The best way to prevent skin conditions:
- Wipe your dog’s paw dry when they enter the house and after baths.
- Use a blow dryer if wiping them dry isn’t working very well.
- You can buy cute doggy boots for your pet to wear on cold or rainy days to avoid getting their paws wet.
- Allergic Reactions: Dogs can also be allergic to different materials. Let’s go through some of them.
- Food- Soy, Wheat gluten, Chicken eggs, Chicken, Dairy, etc.
- Grass- Grass with chemical products or tree pollens or weed.
According to American Kennel Club, you should for the following symptoms in dogs:
- Swelling and red inflammations
Contact your nearby vet clinic for proper dog care if you notice any symptoms. Your veterinary doctor will tell you what caused the allergies and what you should avoid.
Prevention is Better
Now, you know why your dog likes licking your feet so much. The reasons are many, but the health issues are the reasons to be concerned about. Take good care of your lovely pup to avoid health problems because prevention is always better than cure!
Hope you are enjoying your best days with your dogs. Let them express their love but look out for their health. Have a great day!
I am Dana McQueen, a Veterinary Doctor who studied Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida. For years, I have got common questions from friends and family about their pets. So, I decided to open up this website and answer all those frequently asked questions. Alongside, here I share my expert knowledge about pet care, pet health and the animal environment.