Ok, so you’re curious as to why your dog follows you around licking your ankles or maybe he likes to lick the couch, your bed, the kennel, your shoes, your elbows, or maybe even his own paws or toys. Some of us get annoyed, while others laugh and think it’s cute. If you have a Boston, then this is something you probably experience a lot.
Dogs like to lick for several reasons. One of them is to release anxiety. When dogs are anxious they have to find ways to release the energy. Sometimes they will chew, bark, run in circles, or even lick. Dogs that see themselves as the caregivers of the pack are especially prone to licking. They feel the need to take care of the rest of the pack. A dog’s saliva has been proven to kill bacteria, so if a dog licks you, especially on a wound or rash, they are trying to clean it for you and make it better. It’s like a mom licking on her thumb and wiping off her babies face. It is perfectly fine to let your dog lick you, remember, a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a humans!
Dogs also tend to lick things that they love. At least it seems that way. Oreo likes to lick his kennel when he’s in it. Either he has an iron deficiency, or he loves his kennel, or he’s hoping it will open up and let him out. Truth is, until we can get into their heads for sure, we may never know. Mitsy likes to lick her paws on occasion. This is also due to anxiety. It’s an outlet for her nervous energy. Chance likes to lick the couch… Chance is weird.. so he may like to lick it because it’s a microfiber couch and the texture is similar to skin..on some weird level. But this also calms them down. I’ve known dogs to lick themselves to sleep.
Dogs will often lick their lips when they are nervous or in tense situations. Meeting another unknown dog can trigger this response. If you witness this, it is a sign that your dog is not comfortable in the current situation. Nervous licking of the lips looks much different than that of a dog licking his lips because he’s hungry or just ate. It will be a slow lick of the lips, and the tongue may not even come all the way out of the dog’s mouth. There will be other body language displayed to show the feeling of anxiety as well.
So there you have it. Dogs lick for several reasons. Anxiety, love, cleaning, and to calm themselves. Licking is perfectly acceptable as long as you don’t mind it. Excessive licking and drooling is a sign of a psycological disorder. Example: The dog is at the door licking, drooling, and crying after someone leaves. If this is the case, seek professional help.