Is It Ok To Let Dogs Lick You?

The question of whether it is OK to let dogs lick you is one that many pet owners have asked. While some people may think that it is harmless, there are a few things to consider before allowing your pup to give you a lick. Is it OK to let dogs lick you? The answer is not as straightforward as one might think.

What Does Licking Mean to Dogs?

Licking is an important behavior in dogs and can mean many things. It is a way for them to communicate with us, show affection, and even groom themselves. Dogs may lick their owners, other animals, or even objects in their environment. Understanding why dogs lick and how to interpret it can help us better understand our canine companions.

Understanding Dog Licking Behavior

Dogs may lick for a variety of reasons including:

  • Showing Affection – Dogs may lick their owners as a sign of love and affection.
  • Greeting – Dogs may also lick people or other animals as a way of greeting them.
  • Exploring – Dogs may also lick objects as a way of exploring and understanding their environment.
  • Grooming – Dogs may also lick themselves as a way of grooming.

Reasons Why Dogs Lick

Dogs may also lick people or objects for other reasons such as:

. It is important to understand the context in which your dog is licking in order to determine the meaning behind it. While some licking behavior can be seen as endearing, it is important to remember that allowing your dog to excessively lick you can lead to health risks such as the spread of bacteria and parasites from your pet’s mouth to yours.

Is It Safe to Let Dogs Lick You?

Dogs licking people is a common behavior, but is it safe to let them do it? While it may seem harmless, there are potential health risks associated with dogs licking people. Saliva from dogs can contain bacteria that can cause illnesses in humans, such as ringworm and other skin infections. Additionally, dogs can carry parasites like hookworms and tapeworms in their saliva.

Potential Health Risks of Dog Licking

The potential health risks associated with letting dogs lick you include:

  • Skin infections such as ringworm
  • Parasites like hookworms and tapeworms
  • Bacterial infections such as salmonella or E. coli
  • Zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that can be passed from animals to humans

Ways to Reduce Risk When Letting Dogs Lick You

To reduce the risk of getting sick from a dog’s saliva, you should:

Benefits of Allowing Your Dog to Lick You

Allowing your dog to lick you can be beneficial for both you and your pup. Not only does it help create a strong bond between the two of you, but it can also have potential health benefits.

Bonding With Your Dog Through Licking

Licking is a sign of affection for dogs and is one way they show love and appreciation. Allowing your pup to lick you helps build trust between the two of you, as well as strengthens the bond. It also helps them feel safe and secure knowing that their affection is accepted and appreciated.

Potential Health Benefits of Dog Licking

There may be some potential health benefits associated with allowing your dog to lick you. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to certain bacteria found in a dog’s saliva may help boost immunity in humans, as well as reduce stress levels and improve overall moods. Additionally, research has shown that petting dogs can lower blood pressure levels, which can be beneficial for those with hypertension or other cardiovascular issues.


How to Manage Unwanted Dog Licking Behavior

Dogs licking people and objects can be a sign of affection, but it can also be a sign of anxiety or stress. To help manage your dog’s unwanted licking behavior, it is important to understand why they are doing it and then take steps to train them not to do it.

Training Your Dog Not to Lick People or Objects

When your dog begins licking people or objects, it is important to redirect their attention away from the behavior. This can be done by providing them with a toy or treat that will distract them from the licking. Additionally, you can use positive reinforcement such as verbal praise and treats when they stop licking.

Redirecting Unwanted Attention Away From People and Objects

It is also important to provide your dog with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation in order to help reduce their anxiety levels. This will help keep their attention away from people and objects that they may want to lick. Additionally, providing them with plenty of chew toys will give them something else to focus on instead of licking people or objects.

Overall, managing unwanted dog licking behavior requires understanding why your dog is doing it and then taking steps to train them not to do it. This includes redirecting their attention away from the behavior, providing them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, as well as offering chew toys for distraction.


In conclusion, it is generally safe to let dogs lick you. It is important to be aware of the potential risks and take necessary precautions to ensure your safety. While there are some potential risks associated with allowing a dog to lick you, there are also many benefits. Dogs licking can help build trust and strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide if letting your dog lick you is worth the risk.

Summary of the Pros and Cons of Allowing Dogs to Lick You


  • Strengthens bond between pet and owner
  • Can help build trust
  • A source of comfort for some people



Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to let your dog lick you is a personal one. While there are some potential risks associated with it, there are also many benefits to allowing your pup to show you affection in this way. If you decide that it is OK to let your dog lick you, make sure that you take the necessary precautions and keep an eye out for any signs of infection or illness. For more information on how to keep your pet healthy and happy, visit A Pet’s Home.

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