You might be doing the dishes, relaxing after a long day after work, or just playing with your dog and notice there is particularly a part of your body they love to lick; the legs.
While some people find this behavior amazing, others find it uncomfortable and keep on wondering what’s so special with the feet that dogs keep on licking them.
There are reasons why dogs love licking feet; they don’t do that by accident or just for playing.
Read on to find out why.
They Are Trying to Communicate
Dogs are social creatures.
They are full of emotions, and sometimes, they communicate them to the owner through actions like licking the feet.
One of the major differences between them and us is that we mostly use verbal cues to communicate, while they use non-verbal cues.
By licking your feet, they try to show that they feel safe around you and that you are their master and they have no problem submitting.
Apart from licking your feet, dogs may also use other ways to communicate, such as wagging their tails, maintaining eye contact, and exposing their belly.
Understanding your dog’s behavior helps you know when they are happy, stressed, or even ill.
If you have had a dog for a long time, you probably know how they like showing affection.
They show it anytime they get the opportunity to.
When puppies are born, the first thing their mother does is licking them, not just to clean them up but to bond as well.
That means they learn about licking moments after they are born, and they tend to carry this behavior even into their old age.
Interestingly, dogs also feel good when they show you affection.
It makes them release oxytocin, which is a feel-good chemical for them.
So, if you enjoy the moments, your canine may be enjoying them too.
Dogs are very good at reading a person’s mind, and if they realize you enjoy it when they play with your feet, they will always do it.
It Might Be a Sign That They Are Stressed
Just like humans, dogs get stressed too.
They may lick your feet to show all is not well and they are stressed.
It could be they are anxious, uncomfortable, in pain, or even sick.
However, licking your feet should not make you conclude that they are stressed.
Most of the time, stress comes with other signs such as:
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in posture
- Behavior change
- Barking or whining
They Find an Interesting Taste in Your Feet
When it comes to the sense of smell and taste, dogs are very gifted.
Surprisingly, they are able to smell and taste simultaneously, unlike human beings.
It could be some food dropped on your feet, and your dog can still feel the smell and want to lick them.
When you sweat, the skin gets salty, and your dog may find it interesting and want to lick it.
If you can’t smell anything on your feet, your dog can, even if it’s not very pleasant.
They Are Gathering Information
Do you wonder why your dog is able to recognize you even after you have been away for several days?
It’s because they have gathered enough information to identify you.
They usually have several receptor cells in their mouth and noses.
The receptors help them gather more information about you using your sweat, which they use to recognize you every time.
Should Excess Licking Be a Source of Concern?
Licking is common for dogs, but if they do it in excess, it may be a cause for concern.
It might be a sign of an ailment or severe anxiety.
If you suspect your dog is not fine or they won’t stop licking your feet even after several attempts of stopping them, take them to the vet for examination.
If it’s a medical condition, they will get the right medication to get healed.
How To Stop a Dog from Licking Your Feet
Although you may like it when your dog licks your feet, sometimes it might get out of control, or you may find the behavior odd and want them to stop it.
Here are some tips on how to do it.
Paying attention to your dog when they are licking your feet encourages them to continue doing it.
Ignoring them makes them look for other tactics to demand attention rather than licking your feet.
Ignore but avoid scolding them since it’s also a form of reaction.
If it goes on, you can leave to make it clear that they will not get what they want by licking your feet and instead get another way of asking for it.
Exercise With Them
Dogs love interacting with humans.
It could be that they are bored, and that’s why they are demanding your attention through non-verbal cues.
In such a case, try jogging together with them or engage in any other type of exercise.
You can also take slow walks in the neighborhood if you feel too tired to jog.
Exercising will also be beneficial to you, in addition to encouraging your dog to quit some behaviors.
If your dog can’t get away from your feet even when you want them to, give them something that tastes and smells nice to distract them.
You can also throw a toy some distance away from your feet so that they can go and get it.
Don’t forget to reward the behavior by praising them if they chase after the toy.
That encourages them to stay with it longer and forget about your feet for a while.
If your dog likes licking you, most probably, they are doing it for a good reason, such as wanting to communicate or show you affection.
In rare cases, it might be a sign that all is not well, and they need help either from you or the vet.
Learn to understand your pet’s behavior so that when something is off, you won’t notice it very late.
And if you don’t like your fur friend licking you, there are some things you can do to discourage them from the behavior.