Why does my dog lick my eyes? If you’re one of the many pet owners asking this question, you’ve come to the right place.
Dogs lick the eyes of their mother dog to show their love and affection. But when they lick their owners’ eyes, it may feel invasive and gross on the part of the human.
Many pet owners also find it embarrassing when their dogs start licking their guests’ eyes and do not stop even when commanded.
Dogs communicate using their body language, barking, biting, licking, and so on. A dog’s licking behavior has many hidden messages depending on the situation and its needs at any given time.
If you want to delve into the complex psychology of why dogs lick, this guide has all you need to know. We also discuss if such behavior is harmful and if you should get your dog to stop licking.
Reasons My Dog Licks My Eyes
Why does my dog lick my eyes? Many pet owners regard their dogs’ licking behavior as a gesture of pure love and affection. But there are many other reasons for this behavior:
A dog may lick its owner’s eyes to get the owner’s attention. Our fur babies need our affection, attention, and approval to stay happy and healthy.
If your pet does not get enough attention from you, it will start licking your eyes as a way of asking for it.
You may feel neglected and anxious if you forget to take your puppy out for its training session, playtime, or daily exercise.
It will then start licking your eyes to get your attention and lead you outside as a silent invitation for a walk. It may also engage in licking behavior when it wants food or a treat.
Your new pup may also lick your eyes because it feels happy and excited to see you after you return home from a long day at work.
If this happens, don’t give it too much attention—your pup may take it as positive reinforcement and continue to attack you with its tongue.
One of the most common reasons for your dog licking your eyes is that it is showing affection.
When it feels safe and comfortable, it will start displaying affectionate behavior such as following you wherever you go, snuggling with you, and licking your eyes.
When your dog licks your eyes, oxytocin, or the love hormone, is released in its brain. This makes it feel calm and happy.
If you respond to it with positive reinforcement, such as by petting or hugging, this behavior is reinforced in your dog and releases oxytocin in your body, making you feel closer to your pet.
It’s a never-ending cycle of good feelings for you both.
If you’re unsure what your dog is trying to communicate with its licking, closely observe your dog’s face, body language, and current situation.
It may look calm or prance about while wagging its tail and licking your eyes to express affection.
If your dog greets you like this after you’ve been away, it is safe to assume that its licking behavior is an act of love.
If your dog does not get enough exercise daily, it may start licking things and even your eyes as a form of stimulation.
You should stop your dog from doing so as soon as you spot this habit—encouraging such behavior can lead to excessive licking or compulsive licking, which can get annoying and even destructive over time.
Provide your pet with adequate daily stimulation by engaging it in physical and mental training exercises.
It could be as simple as taking your furry friend for regular walks, playing with it, or making it solve puzzles.
Ensuring your dog gets the recommended exercise as per its breed and age will prevent it from feeling bored and engaging in repetitive behaviors such as licking your eyes.
Your dog will remain happy and healthy and very well-behaved.
Getting to Know You
A dog uses its mouth and nose to collect information about its surroundings. Your dog licks your eyes to learn about you by analyzing your body’s secret chemicals.
It will assess your mood from the taste and odor of your skin.
This is why a dog loves licking our salty tears—the salty taste and smell tell them that we are crying and that it should comfort us.
Some dogs lick their owners’ eyes due to a mental or physical health condition.
Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD), or obsessive-compulsive disorder for dogs, is a medical issue that may cause dogs to engage in repetitive behaviors such as repeated licking or excessive licking.
Licking can also be the means to ease a dog’s discomfort due to a physical condition, such as nausea or an upset stomach.
If you have reason to believe your dog or puppy licks because of a health issue, you should take it to the vet immediately.
After returning from a hunt, wild puppies lick their mother dogs’ mouths to get to any lingering meat scraps. When they do so, the mother dog will regurgitate food for the puppies.
Domestic dogs, too, follow this behavior, thinking that we will give them food when they lick our eyes or mouths.
Friendly dog breeds such as Labrador retriever and English bulldog are known to lick a human’s or other dog’s eyes more than others.
Should I Stop My Dog From Licking My Eyes?
You should definitely stop your dog from licking your eyes.
Dogs’ mouths contain tons of bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli, that can enter your body through your eyes. Infections can lead to mild or severe illness.
Dog owners with open wounds must not let their dogs lick the affected area. So if your dog is prone to constant licking, cover up your injuries before you meet or play with it.
Besides dog saliva, there are also other things that you must beware of when a dog licks your eyes. Dogs often stick their noses in dirty areas to check them out.
They sometimes eat other animals’ poop. A dog’s nose and mouth are home to harmful bacteria, germs, and parasites that can enter your body and wreak havoc there.
If you hug or pet your dog when it licks your eyes, stop positive reinforcements to discourage this behavior immediately.
Why does my dog lick my eyes? The simple and short answer to this question is that it is likely seeking attention, showing you its love and affection, or attempting to alleviate discomfort.
Observe your dog’s behavior closely to determine the cause of it so you can stop it immediately.