“I recently adopted a dog, and he constantly licks my nose. I’m concerned because I read somewhere that it could be an indication of OCD. Does this imply that my dog is stressed and anxious?”
Most dog owners face this question in their life. Dog licking your nose can be a sign of excitement or boredom, or maybe he just likes your skin taste.
Well, there are many reasons why dogs do this. In this article, you will learn how to get rid of this behavior, is it okay to let your dog lick your nose and many more.
10 Reasons why your pup is interested in licking your nose
Dog licking your nose can mean a lot of things. So, are you curious to know things in detail? Read the pointers below.
1. Your dog is thrilled.
When getting overstimulated, dogs express their gesture in many ways. And licking is one of the ways. So, when your pet gets excited, he will tend to lick your nose.
You must have noticed this behavior when you come home after a long vacation, right?
Well, it happens because when he sees you after a long time, he becomes happy and excited and hence, cannot resist licking you.
2. Check whether he is bored.
In the earlier section, you learned dog lick nose because of excitement, but sometimes it can be completely opposite.
They may lick you because they are not stimulated, and boredom leads to such behavior.
If you leave your dog alone for long, it becomes tough for them to pass their time, especially if your dog has separation anxiety problems.
When they find you near themselves, they end up licking your nose as they need mental stimulation in order to get rid of boredom.
But, you must be wondering how to know if it is because of boredom?
Well, in such cases, dogs tend to lick anything like will lick your furniture, carpet, or even ground.
And, when you don’t provide mental stimulation at the appropriate time, this behavior will escalate and result in aggressive chewing or digging.
3. It is his instinct call.
Not just dogs, all animals have natural instinct behavior like wagging tails, burying toys just like that, and one of them is licking.
Dogs lick because right from they are born, their mother licks them to clean their body and clear sticky stuff from the birth process.
Thus, when puppies are grown, they follow their mother’s actions, like licking the nose of their littermaid.
It has also been observed that puppies from wild dogs lick their mommy’s nose for her to regurgitate food for them. This can also be observed in domestic animals too.
So, now you know very well your dog licking your nose is their instinct call.
4. Maybe he is trying to seek your attention
Your dog will tend to do anything if it wants attention from you.
Just one time, when I was enjoying my coffee and reading a book, my dog came and suddenly started licking my nose.
I laughed louder because I felt ticklish. So, basically, my dog diverted my attention away from the book and directed me towards him.
Isn’t it manipulative?
And, next time when he is looking for attention and care, he does the same.
Dogs can also lick your nose when they need food. If you gave him the food and paid attention, they will decode licking your nose as another way of seeking some good food.
Smart, right? Well, there are many other reasons yet to read. So, hold with us.
5. Maybe he is acknowledging you as the leader.
Licking in dogs is also a kind of submissive behavior. It means when they are afraid of alpha dogs; they use licking gestures to please them.
They may also lick to solve the dispute. Basically, it shows they respect their elders.
So, when you get angry with your pet, he will tend to lick your nose as a part of an apology.
They will try to control your anger. It is because they consider you as the leader.
Technically you are his leader, and he is simply acknowledging you as his master.
6. It is his way of showing affection.
The next reason why your likes dog licking your nose could melt your heart, and you may feel honored.
The gesture of licking the nose also explains that he loves you. He believes in you, and he adores you.
Your dog appreciates you and regards you as a member of his small family. Isn’t it adorable?
7. They are trying to groom you.
As you know, already puppies grasp a lot of behavior from their mother because of learned behavior in animals.
When dogs are young, their mother licks them and grooms them.
They ensure their fur is clean and shiny.
Similarly, when your furry friend comes to you and licks your nose, it defines he is trying to groom you.
Now, you are his family, and he wants his family to be neat and tidy.
8. Un-intensionally you have encouraged him.
Yes, you read it right. Sometimes we end up encouraging bad behavior, and we may even not know that.
Like when you give them a toy or treat to divert their attention from licking your nose, you are simply provoking them to lick you more.
Because next time your pet wants toys or a favorite treat, he will end up licking you.
9. He is trying to collect information.
Did you know dogs have 300 million receptors? That is why dogs have a brilliant sense of smell.
Well, this also signifies they use their smelling power to gather information.
When these curious creatures find a unique smell from your face, your body, they tend to sniff you and may lick you to kill their curiosity.
In this way, they attempt to determine where the smell is coming from and what meaning it conveys.
10. They like the salty taste
When a dog licks your skin, he tastes some salt. Our skin contains oils, salts, and various combinations to which we are exposed.
We may not taste these things, but your dog does.
He may lick you more after you finish your meal. This is because the smell of food and the taste of the food still reside on your skin.
So, they are tempted and come near your mouth and lick your nose and nearby areas.
Although your dog may be licking your nose out of affection, it’s also possible that he prefers the taste of your skin.
Should I let my pup lick me?
Generally, there is no harm if your dog licks if he is in perfect health. His saliva won’t cause damage until it touches your wounds.
When saliva touches the wounds, it will keep the cuts moist and transfer his bacteria to us. Thus, it will lead to skin problems.
Moreover, in case your dog is affected by parasites like hookworm, roundworm, and giardia.
Then licking can be harmful because they can transfer parasites to your body through licking.
And, you can get sick, get anemia, have abdominal pain, protein deficiency, and lots more.
Other than that, obsessive dog licking behavior can also lead to nipping and biting. If the energy is not redirected, you may end up having scars on your face.
Aggressive licking can also become dangerous because it means he is suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Which means he is depressed and anxious.
If his obsession does not subside, you may need to take him to the vet for OCD treatment.
How to get rid of his behavior?
As you know, if your dog is not healthy, then his licking can be dangerous for you. Therefore, to get rid of this behavior, you have to follow the things listed below.
Ignorance is bliss.
It means you just have to ignore his behavior. It will not become his habit when you don’t pay much attention.
No reaction and no attention will lead to the depletion of such behavior.
Provide mental stimulation
As you already know, boredom can lead to licking behavior. So, all you can do is get him new minds games or new toys. You also take him for a walk.
TIP: Don’t let him get bored. Keep him engaged and give him exercise.
If you are into full-time, you can get a dog walker or admit your dog to daycare to kill his energy.
Wash your hands and face after eating
As discussed earlier, your dog may get tempted to lick your nose right after you have your meal.
To get rid of this, make sure you remove all of the food smell from your face and hands.
Also, your dog may like your skin’s taste. For that, you can change your body perfume.
Training can beat the game.
It is vital to teach your dog what is good behavior and what is not. You can give him training and use positive reinforcement to train him good habits like not licking your nose.
When they come and just sit beside you, praise him a lot. In this way, it will get registered in his mind, and he will not come near you searching for licking you.
Or when he comes near you and starts licking your face, simply get up and get away from him. Move to the next room if possible.
Then again, go back to the room and praise him. If he again starts licking, repeat the steps mentioned above.
Remember, you have to repeat these steps until he understands. And this may take time and patience.
TIP: Consistency is the key. Once he understands it and does well, please reward him for his good behavior.
You can confuse your dog a lot, like sometimes when you let them lick you and other times when you stop them.
Therefore, it is always safe to create a secure boundary for both of you. It will help your dog to learn things in a better way.
If you want to show some love, you can use hugging, petting, and verbal cues to let him know that you love him besides licking you.
Insert something into your dog’s mouth
Whenever your dog comes near you to lick your nose redirect his energy. Give him an alternative. You can get a chew bone or a kong.
These options will keep him occupied by providing him with something adequate to lick. And, he will at least not lick your nose.
Clean yourself, take a shower
If your sweaty gym body entices your dog to lick you more, then make sure to take a refreshing shower and get rid of all salty flavor from your body.
Is nose licking like doggie kisses?
Because a dog licking on the nose appears to be primarily associated with acts of grooming and intimacy, they appear to be kissed!
Why do dogs lick your nose and eyes?
Your dog licking your eyes and nose define affection and some sort of communication. They might need your attention or want something from you.
Well, that’s a wrap!
When a dog comes near you to lick you on your nose, it conveys a lot of meaning. It can be because of his instinct, excitement, or boredom.
Sometimes they try to lick your nose to express their love, or other times it can be because they enjoy the taste of your skin.
If it is because of boredom, you can give mental stimulation, and the right training can also help you get rid of it.
If licking your nose becomes his obsession, then you must seek professional help.
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Dr. Aram Baker has been with Santa Clarita Animal Hospital since 1995 and his special interests include behaviour medicine and dermatology. He graduated from the Cleveland Humanities Magnet Program in Reseda, CA and attended California State University at Northridge where he received a Bachelor’s degree in biology. He went on to pursue his Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of California at Davis. He also spent time in the zoological medicine department at U.C. Davis during his Junior and Senior years. He is dedicated to caring for all pets big or small, young or old with compassion, patience, kindness, and love.