Why Does My Dog Lick My Feet? Decoding Dog Behavior

Why Does My Dog Lick My Feet? Decoding Dog Behavior

We all know that one of the ways our dogs show their love is by licking us. Whether you enjoy it or find it annoying, you may ask yourself, why does my dog lick my feet? Let's find out why they do this and what we can do about it.

They Love You

Mommy dogs lick their babies to clean them and stimulate some bodily functions. Of course, they also do this to express affection and form a bond with them. This may be the reason your dogs lick your feet and sometimes your face when they get the chance. 

Similarly, dogs lick their wounds to keep them clean while trying to heal them. They may lick your feet when they think you are sick to try and work their healing prowess on you.

They are Socializing

Dogs are social creatures and would love to do anything just to be friendly and mingle with you. Why your feet? There may be some truth to the term "puppy kisses" and that they would rather lick your face, but focus on your feet as they are the most accessible. 

They Want Attention

When your pup licks your feet, most of the time, you'll react to it instantly. This may be the reason they do it: to get your attention. They may even think it's a game, but with a little retraining, you can always make them spare your toes.

They're Grooming You

You are your dog's world, and they are comfortable around you. They see you as their pack leader, so it's only natural that they will groom you to show respect and attention. Others refer to this as comfort grooming, and if it's not a bother, you don't have to fix it.

It may also be a way for your dog to soothe itself, as they associate licking with their mothers and puppyhood. This is especially true when they feel anxious or stressed.

They Think You're Tasty

We commonly see pups drinking from the toilet, rolling in the mud, or helping themselves to the trash. In short, dogs love disgusting things! We're not saying your feet are, but hey, they are full of interesting scents, pheromones, and salt especially if you just got home.

With their superior sense of smell, dogs will find their way to strong smells, including your feet! 

They Want to Know What You Were Up To

If your dog licks your feet once you come home, it may be that they’re playing detective and want to know where you were and why you abandoned them for so long. 

Dogs have an organ called Jacobson’s, also known as the vomeronasal organ. It is located in their nasal cavity and is linked to their mouths. This extra olfactory organ helps dogs smell pheromones and other odors undetectable to us. They use this to better understand their environment.

They Have a Health Concern

If you notice your dog licking your feet a bit excessively, it may be a sign that they have a health or behavioral problem. It may be due to anxiety, a shift in their daily routine, or a compulsive practice due to trauma. To be sure, it's best to consult your vet who can provide the best answer and treatment if needed.

Is It Okay That My Dog Licks My Feet?

If your dog likes to lick your feet, it is not a sign that something bad is happening to them. Unless you have open wounds, it is harmless. It's your choice if you want to let them or not. The bottom line is if you let them, ensure it's safe for them. If you want them to stop, follow our tips below.

What You Can Do to Stop It

While not exactly bothersome, you may want to stop your dog from licking your feet. Here are a few strategies:

Ignore the behavior: When you see your dog approaching you to lick your feet, get up immediately and ignore them. Avoid acknowledging them and just walk away. This will show them that you do not approve of this behavior and that they won't get attention for it.

Cover your feet: If you can't walk away, you might want to try covering your feet. This prevents your dog easy access to your feet and makes them get the hint that you don't like it. You can consider wearing socks to make the cover somewhat fixed.

Give them a toy: Redirect your pup's attention to something once you see them going for your feet. It can be a chew toy, a puzzle game, or anything that can distract them.

Maintain good foot hygiene: If your dog's licking does not bother you, you may still want to keep your feet impeccably clean. This way, you're sure your dog isn't getting any dirt or bacteria in their system when they lick your feet.

Use positive reinforcement: Praise your dog each time you tell them not to lick your feet. This will help them to let go of the behavior eventually. They will associate not licking your feet with something nice, like a pat on the head or a kiss on the forehead.

Give your dog their designated place: Create a place in your room exclusively for your dog. Point them to this place whenever they lick your feet so they will get the message.

Be consistent: If you don't want your dog licking your feet, be consistent about it. Always let them know that you don't approve of this behavior. Don't let yourself slip, and allow them one time before disapproving the next.

Never punish your dog for licking your feet: Avoid frightening your dog or making them anxious by scolding them when they lick your feet. This can lead to other undesirable behaviors.

Consult an animal behaviorist: If you feel that your dog’s licking is getting out of hand, you can consider consulting a veterinarian or an animal behaviorist. This will tell you for sure the exact reason your dog does it and provide recommendations on how you can stop it.
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