Why Do Dogs Lick Your Mouth And Nose?

Dogs are known for their affectionate nature and display of love towards their owners.

One such behavior that can be perplexing for pet owners is when their dogs lick their faces, particularly their mouth and nose.

While some may find this behavior endearing, others may be repelled by it, wondering what prompts their furry friend to do so.

In this article, we will explore the answer to the question “Why do dogs lick your mouth and nose” and what to do about it.

Understanding this behavior can help owners build a stronger bond with their dogs and provide a better understanding of their furry companion’s needs.

Why Do Dogs Lick?

Many dog owners have experienced their furry friend licking their face, particularly around the mouth and nose.

While some people find it endearing, others may find it gross or annoying.

But why do dogs lick in the first place?

Instinctual Behavior

Dogs are descendants of wolves, who would lick the faces of other pack members to show submission and respect.

This instinctual behavior has carried over to domesticated dogs, who may lick their owners’ faces to show that they recognize their humans as the leader of the pack.

Additionally, puppies will often lick their mother’s face to stimulate her to regurgitate food, so licking may also be a way of seeking nourishment.

Sign Of Affection

Dogs are social animals and often show affection through physical contact.

Licking is one way that dogs may show their owners that they love them and want to be close to them.

Dogs may also lick their owners to seek attention or react to positive reinforcement, such as when the owner pets or praises the dog.


In the wild, wolves would lick each other as a way of grooming and cleaning.

Domesticated dogs may also lick their owners to clean them, particularly around the face and mouth.

This behavior may also remove food particles or other debris from the owner’s face.


Dogs use body language and vocalizations to communicate with their owners and other dogs.

Licking may be one-way dogs communicate with their owners, particularly if they are trying to convey a message of submission or affection.

Additionally, dogs may lick their owners’ faces to solicit attention or playtime.

Why Do Dogs Lick Your Face?

Dogs are known for their affectionate nature and often show their love by licking their owners’ faces.

While it may seem gross to some people, there are reasons why dogs engage in this behavior.

Here are a few possible explanations:


Dogs have a keen sense of taste and enjoy different flavors.

They may lick their owner’s face to taste the saltiness or sweetness of their skin.

Additionally, if the owner has recently eaten something tasty, the dog may be licking their face to get a taste of it.


Dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell to gather information about their environment.

They may lick their owner’s face to get a better sense of their scent, which can provide them with valuable information about their emotional state, health, and overall well-being.


Endorphins are natural chemicals that can create a sense of pleasure and well-being.

When dogs lick their owner’s face, it can release endorphins in both the dog and the owner.

This can reinforce the behavior, making it more likely for the dog to continue licking its owner’s face in the future.

While it may seem strange to some people, dogs licking their owner’s face is a common behavior with various explanations.

It’s important to understand why dogs engage in this behavior so that owners can respond appropriately and provide their furry friends with the love and affection they need.

Is It Safe For Dogs To Lick Your Face?

Many dog owners love when their furry friends shower them with affection, but is it safe for dogs to lick your face?

While it may seem harmless, there are some things to consider before allowing your dog to lick your mouth and nose.


Dogs’ mouths are full of bacteria, some of which can harm humans.

Although most bacteria in a dog’s mouth are harmless to humans, there is a risk of infection if a dog licks an open wound or the person being licked has a weakened immune system.

Additionally, dogs can carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E.

coli, which can be transmitted to humans through licking.


While a dog’s saliva has some antibacterial properties, it is not a substitute for proper hygiene.

Allowing a dog to lick your face can lead to the transfer of germs and viruses, which can cause illness.

This is especially true for people with compromised immune systems, young children, and the elderly.


In addition to the risk of infection and illness, other problems are associated with allowing a dog to lick your face.

For example, some dogs may become overly excited and accidentally scratch or bite the person they are licking.

Additionally, some people may be allergic to dogs, and allowing dogs to lick their faces can trigger an allergic reaction.

While letting your dog lick your face may be tempting, it is important to consider the potential risks.

If you allow your dog to lick your face, wash your face and hands thoroughly afterward to reduce the risk of infection and illness.

Should You Allow Your Dog To Lick You?

Many dog owners have different opinions on whether or not to allow their dogs to lick their faces, specifically their mouths and nose.

Here are some things to consider:


Allowing your dog to lick your face can be seen as a sign of respect and affection in the dog world.

It shows that your dog trusts and loves you.

However, it is important to remember that dogs are animals and may not understand the concept of personal space or hygiene.

They may also lick other dogs’ faces, transferring bacteria and diseases.


Allowing your dog to lick your face can strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

It can also be a way for your dog to show affection and seek attention.

However, other ways to bond with your dog do not involve allowing them to lick your face.

Positive Reinforcement

If you allow your dog to lick your face, it is important to only allow it when appropriate and on your terms.

For example, you may only allow your dog to lick your face after following a command or performing a trick.

This can reinforce positive behavior in your dog and strengthen your bond.

Ultimately, allowing your dog to lick your face is up to you.

It is important to consider the potential risks, such as transferring bacteria and diseases, and to set boundaries and rules for your dog.

Tips For Managing Dog Licking


If your dog licks your face when he’s excited, it’s important to teach him an alternative behavior.

For example, you can train him to sit or lie down when he’s feeling excited.

This will help him learn to control his impulses and give him something else to focus on.

You can also try redirecting your dog’s attention to a toy or treat when he starts to get too excited.

This will help him learn that there are other ways to express his excitement besides licking your face.


If your dog licks your face when he’s feeling anxious or nervous, it’s important to address the underlying cause of his anxiety.

This could be anything from separation anxiety to fear of loud noises.

You can try desensitizing your dog to the things that make him anxious by gradually exposing him to them in a controlled environment.

You can also try giving him a safe space to retreat to when he’s feeling anxious, such as a crate or a quiet room.


If your dog licks your face when he’s feeling bored, it’s important to provide him with plenty of mental and physical stimulation.

This could include things like puzzle toys, interactive games, and regular exercise.

You can also try teaching your dog new tricks or commands to keep his mind engaged.

This will help him feel more fulfilled and less likely to engage in unwanted behaviors like licking his face.


If your dog licks your face when he’s feeling restless or full of energy, it’s important to make sure he’s getting enough exercise.

This could include things like daily walks, runs, or playtime in the backyard.

You can also try incorporating more structured activities into your dog’s routine, such as obedience training or agility classes.

This will help him burn off excess energy and give him a positive outlet for his natural instincts.

While it may be cute and endearing when your dog licks your face, it’s important to understand the reasons behind this behavior.

Dogs lick their owners’ faces as a way of showing affection, respect, and submission.

It’s a natural instinct that stems from their pack mentality and their desire to communicate with their human family.

While it’s generally safe for dogs to lick their owners’ faces, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks.

Dogs can carry bacteria and germs in their mouths that can be harmful to humans, so it’s important to keep your dog’s mouth clean and to wash your face after your dog licks you.

Ultimately, the decision to let your dog lick your face is up to you.

If you don’t mind the behavior and are comfortable with the potential risks, there’s no harm in letting your furry friend show you some love.

However, if you’re uncomfortable with the behavior or have concerns about hygiene, it’s perfectly acceptable to discourage your dog from licking your face.

Before You Go…

Now you know why dogs lick your mouth and nose.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Or watch this video:

Dimitra Kokologianni, DVM
Dimitra holds a Masters’s degree in public health and a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. She is a versatile professional with over 7 years of experience. Her passion for animal welfare and preventive medicine makes her an excellent resource for our readers.