What Does It Mean When A Dog Licks Your Hand?

Dogs love licking. It’s one of their greatest pleasures in life. Whether it’s showing signs of affection, or using their acute sense of taste to enjoy their meals as much as they physically can. Dogs tend to lick different parts of the human body in different scenarios, whether they’re playing, being friendly, or they’re licking a food stain off your clothes. We’ve had a look into why they lick certain things and what that could mean.

Why Would A Dog Lick My Hand?

There are a few reasons why a dog might lick your hand, with some of the reasons being a lot simpler than you might think. The easiest one on the list is when a dog will lick your hand because it has food residue on it.

This means that they’ve probably smelt the food on your fingers and thought they’d taste it to find out more. This can be after you’ve handled their food or whether you’ve just eaten yourself, and it rarely matters what food it is! Dogs will try to eat anything if it tastes nice.

One of the main reasons that a dog will lick your hand is to show submissiveness in the presence of a dominant personality. Dogs have a sense of hierarchy and often show it in different ways.

Licking your hands is one of the more subtle ways of displaying their place as the beta male. This is an innate way of showing they remember what it’s like to be in a pack, much like their litter from when they were a puppy. It’s thought that this originates back to when they were dogs in the wild.

Another psychological reason that your dog will lick your hand is to ease stress and anxiety. When dogs have separation anxiety and other mental obstacles, they tend to get stressed and upset very easily over the smallest of things, for example, heading out for the day to work or a trip to the grocery store can seem like an eternity for them, as they assume the worst.

Licking your hand can be them showing their gratitude for your return and them showing affection towards their owner.

Of course, the most obvious reason that you might think of when asked this question is that dogs love showing signs of affection toward the things they love. Licking your hands may be an easy way of making sure that you remember that they care about you a lot.

Hands are a lot closer to their height than your face, so they may be using your hands as a substitute for licking your face. This is great for those who are constantly having to wipe their dog’s saliva off their face!

A lot of dogs will lick to communicate with you. It sounds weird as you’d assume a lot of dogs will bark to communicate with their owners. But it’s common for a lot of dogs to lick you to alert you to certain things. These things can be anything from letting you know that they’re hungry, to letting you know that they feel safe and comfortable.

Should I Avoid My Dog’s Saliva?

A lot of people have different opinions when it comes to letting their dogs lick them. Some people are all for it, allowing their dog to be as friendly as they want and letting them lick humans whenever.

However, other people believe that it’s best to limit the number of times that their dog licks them. This is because some dogs tend to have bacteria in the saliva that they may have picked up on their travels.

We know that dogs love to lick lots of things for lots of reasons, which means they’re constantly picking up different germs and bacteria. It’s not unhealthy for humans to let their dogs lick them and the likelihood is, it won’t cause you any damage.

However, it’s best to avoid letting your dog lick sensitive areas like your mouth and eyes. These areas are most likely to suffer damage from bacteria and germs. We also recommend that you keep your dog’s mouth away from open wounds and other potential areas of infection. This can keep both you and your dog safe.

Sometimes dogs will lick certain objects and parts of the human anatomy, such as the hands, because of a compulsion disorder. If this is the case then it may be worth contacting a vet or a behavioral specialist to find the best course of action.

By doing this, you can ensure that they keep from using these compulsions in their daily schedule. Otherwise, they’ll keep licking your hands and getting stressed if they can’t do so.

Why Do Dogs Lick Each Other?

As previously stated, a lot of dogs lick each other to communicate. However, licking other dogs can be for other reasons too. One of the most common ways for them to lick each other is to groom each other. Many dog breeds like to keep each other clean. Despite what we think, a lot of dog breeds like to keep well-kept and make sure they’re all clean, and they can’t run each other baths, so licking is the easiest way to do bathe.

Of course, it also makes sense that dogs lick each other as a sign of affection and caring. It’s a frequent way for dogs to socialize with each other, licking each other as they would with their human owners. However, dogs also may lick each other’s mouths. It sounds like it’s a form of affection but you’d be mistaken by thinking this. Licking another dog’s mouth is a way of showing subordination in the presence of a more dominant personality. This is very common with dog breeds like the husky and malamutes.

Final Thoughts

Dogs can be such strange creatures, can’t they? They do things that make no sense to us and leave us scratching our heads in confusion. However, there are reasons for our canine friends to act the way they do and we have vets and behavioral specialists to make sure that we try to understand dogs better and realize that things such as licking hands are completely normal in their thinking processes.

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