There is probably a few things in the world that can make you fall in love while simultaneously cringing in disgust, and a dog kiss might be one of it. Not that we don’t like our dogs kisses on our faces, we love those kisses and we appreciate them, it is more because we know where that mouth has been.
Even if lip licking behavior is not your favorite means of communication, it can help to know why your dog might be licking you so you can respond appropriately.
Most folks agree that there can be a few reasons to explain this behavior.
Instinctive behavior: dogs are practically licked into life. When entering this world, dog moms use their tongues to clear away baby’s nostrils, helping stimulating breathing. Maternal licking and licking among littermate helps strengthen family bonds. The act of licking and being licked stimulates a release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with bonding and emotional attachment. Those dog kisses on your face is expressing affection and trying to strengthen the familial bond with you.
Hunger: dogs might be licking your face to communicate that they are hungry, falling back on the juvenile reaction to the presence of a mother dog who would then regurgitate food for the pups in response to the touch. If your fur friend licks your face around feeding time, he/she may be asking for you to act as his/her provider and protector, letting you know that he/she is ready to eat.
Reading your emotion: dogs have special receptors in the nose and mouth which they use to process and interpret the scented molecules found in human sweat, meaning: your dog is curious about how you are feeling! Your dog may be able to determine whether you are happy or feeling stressed by simply licking your face.
Taste: dogs may enjoy how our skin taste ‘sweaty and salty’, some dogs enjoy the saltiness of our skin. Our canine buddies also enjoy our mouth smelling like yummy food, which is probably overwhelmingly so for an animal that can smell as well as our furry babies.
Seeking attention: most of people who is licked by a dog for the first time may find it a startling, loving, or amusing experience, and dogs get a sense that the act of licking people brings them pleasure and earns them a pat on the head or a scratch behind the ears or a cozy hug, giving them more than enough positive reinforcement to link their action to ours. So if you are entertained with anything really and you are not interacting with your fur baby, he/she might use those licks to remind you that they are around.
Affection: dogs lick people during any kind of bonding exercise to show their affection. One of my furry babies gives me kisses every time I hug him, to my understanding, he is simply being affectionate, exchanging mutual love. My other fur baby simply closes his eyes and gives me the longest, slowest, wettest lick, it is kind cute watch him showing affection in ‘slow motion’. Very precious moments!
Licking is an instinctive canine behavior that dogs use to communicate with people and other animals. When your dogs licks your face, she/he could be trying to express his canine instincts and feelings, to gather information about you, to keep you clean, or to simply show how much you mean the her/him. Whatever reason could explain all these loving dog kisses, however, the correct answer might be all the above! Be appreciative that your dog enjoys your company and express his/her affection in this species-typical way. Enjoy the moments!