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Why Do Dogs Lick Other Dogs’ Privates?

Dogs do many weird things, and in this immense repertoire, licking each other’s privates is one of their grossest and most unsanitary habits.

Licking is a way for dogs to communicate with each other, as well as with people.

It is a form of expression and a grooming behavior meant to soothe and appease each other.

Some Things You Need to Know About Dogs Licking Other Dogs’ Privates

It can be very unsettling when your dog comes to kiss your face after encountering such a habit, but it’s important to understand why they do it.

This behavior can also be very embarrassing to dog owners and quite strange too.

There are biological reasons as to why dogs lick each other’s privates.

They could be curious or just saying hi.

While gross, this behavior is very normal for dogs, so there’s no need to visit the vet as they most relate to their natural senses of touch and smell.

However, this doesn’t mean obsessive licking is normal for puppies or adult dogs, just occasionally.

If all your dog wants to do is lick, this is odd, and you are right to worry about an obsessive canine disorder.

Dogs use all their senses to get acquainted when they meet, and their behaviors reflect they’re getting to know each other either by sniffing or licking each other.

For dogs, licking each other’s privates is a way of getting close, but this behavior isn’t limited to just the privates of the other dog.

Dogs are also very curious creatures, and this curiosity drives them to smell, sniff, taste, and paw at things.

Dogs learn a lot about each other by these actions, such as how other dogs smell and taste, age, gender, sexual readiness, health, eating, and locomotion habits compared to themselves.

Some older dogs lick the puppy’s genitals as a way of showing some motherly attention and as a way of being protective and affectionate to the puppies.

This canine social behavior is very normal, and there is no cause of alarm should you witness this instinctive behavior.

Why Do Dogs Lick Other Dogs’ Privates?

Dogs lick each other’s privates for the same reasons they lick other dogs’ bottoms.

Dogs do not share the concept of boundaries and personal space we do, so they don’t see anything untoward about this behavior.

Most dogs lick as a way of showing affection, and this behavior is among the first comfort a dog gets from the siblings and the mother.

Mother dogs lick their puppies, and puppies lick each other, making licking more than just a practical behavior.

Dogs lick each other sometimes to pass the time, comfort each other, and show affection.

They, however, lick each other’s privates to show respect, out of curiosity, and when they meet a new dog.

Force Of Habit

Dogs can lick other dog’s privates out of habit, especially if there are more of them at home.

If you find your dog licking a dog that isn’t new to the family, they aren’t necessarily trying to learn anything new about the dog, but rather they may be acting on instinct.

This is, however, not common for private parts, but in such a case, don’t panic.

It may be a way of getting the other dog’s attention or helping them out, among other reasons.

Dogs are accustomed to licking and sniffing their way around everything as a way of exploration, so the licking may be a progressive habit formed over time.

To Show Respect

When a dog licks another dog’s privates, it may be a form of submission, hence, submissive licking.

This behavior is also considered a maternal behavior learned over time, such as when a dog licks her puppies to make them use the bathroom.

As such, a dog can lick another’s privates to show submission to the other dog as a way of showing respect or welcoming it to the family.

Out Of Curiosity

Dogs are curious animals, which is a valid reason they go about licking each other’s privates.

A dog can do this without hesitation to find out the taste of the other dog’s privates.

These animals are intrinsically curious, so they go about sniffing and tasting almost everything they come across- regardless of whether it’s bad for them.

They are not very keen on self-preservation, so if you see your dog licking another dog’s privates, it might just be out of curiosity.

Dogs touch and eat things around them for the same curiosity,

To Say Hello

A dog can smell another’s privates as a way of saying hello, and when they want to smell more, they lick.

It is a healthy and harmless form of communication between these canines.

When dogs meet for the first time, they show interest by licking each other to help them get acquainted.

Dogs have apocrine sweat glands emitting pheromones that tell a dog a lot about each other, hence the licking.

They have a high concentration of these pheromones in their private and rear-end parts, allowing their bodies to communicate using non-verbal cues.

The pheromones draw dogs to each other, and the licking is just an additional way of adding to the smelling experience.

They can tell the sexual receptiveness, gender, age, health, and occasionally mood of the other dog.

Health Issues

Despite this weird behavior dogs have, they are very intuitive and intelligent creatures, so they are trained as service dogs.

These canine friends can smell when something isn’t right health-wise, such as when they smell cancer or have a stroke.

As extreme as it sounds, dogs can sense if something is wrong with their health, even if they may not necessarily know what exactly it is.

For example, if it translates to obsessive licking of another dog’s private parts, you must consider a visit to the veterinarian to get the other dog checked.

It may be an illness or irritation, a wound, an abnormal discharge, or even an infection they want to bring our attention to.


Dogs also lick each other as a way to help each other groom and show affection.

Although this isn’t common for dogs’ privates, it can happen if there is a close bond between them.

In addition, they help clean each other when they care for each other, such as when a mother grooms her puppies.

A mother dog licks her puppies to help them clean up and take care of them, which eventually translates to when dogs lick each other’s privates.

Ideally, dogs don’t take a lot of time licking other dog’s privates, so if it exceeds 15 seconds, there might be growling from the one being licked.

Young dogs might persist in licking as they are still learning normal behaviors, so you’ll need an incentive to distract them and get them to stop.

As gross and weird as this behavior seems, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with it, so look at it as a biological and natural form of communication.

If you notice a dog obsessively licking another’s privates, then it could mean that something is amiss health-wise, so get the licked dog to a vet as a precaution.

Licking is considered normal and natural social dog behavior, but not when done excessively.

These animals have, over time, revealed a mysterious ability to recognize medical problems, so don’t assume it completely.

Dogs have a stronger sense of smell than humans, so it’s easy for them to detect medical problems like infections and even tumors.

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National Canine Research Association of America