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Why Do Dogs Lick Each Other: Understanding Canine Behavior

When we observe canines interacting, one behavior that often stands out is when dogs lick each other. This action might seem like a simple display of affection, similar to humans hugging or kissing, but to dogs, it carries a variety of meanings and intentions. Licking can be a form of communication among dogs, signaling everything from submission to a desire for play.

Two dogs facing each other, one licking the other's face, with wagging tails and open mouths

Moreover, this licking behavior has roots that trace back to early puppyhood. Puppies lick their mother’s mouth as a way to encourage her to regurgitate food for them. As they grow into adulthood, the reasons for licking evolve, but the behavior persists. Licking can also serve as a means for dogs to gather information about their peers, owing to a special organ in their mouths that is tuned to detecting pheromones. Understanding why dogs lick each other gives us a glimpse into the complex social lives of our canine companions.

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs lick each other as a multifaceted form of communication.
  • This behavior is rooted in the actions of puppies and translates into adulthood with developed meanings.
  • Licking can convey emotions and intentions, as well as gather social and health information.


  • Lauren DeVries

    1. Age: 27
    2. Lives In: Raleigh, NC
    3. Interests: Watercolor painting, cycling, and floral design
    4. Favorite Dog: Goldens, because they're as friendly. loyal and fluffy as a dog can be.
    What I Enjoy About Writing: "I love to bring color and joy from the world of dogs to our readers, just like I do with my watercolors. If I'm not behind the easel or drafting articles, I'm likely cycling through my Raleigh neighborhood with my Golden Retriever, Chad, adding a splash of beauty to the city's canvas."