Dogs are known for being loyal companions.
They can be very protective of their owners, and they will go out of their way to make sure the owner is happy and safe.
However, sometimes a dog’s actions can seem strange or even scary, especially when it involves putting its tongue in your mouth.
This article looks at why dogs might do this.
Dogs have scent glands on their tongues that release pheromones, which are chemical compounds that can affect other people around them.
Pheromones are natural chemicals that animals use to communicate with each other, such as between members of the same species.
Some pheromone-based communication is instinctive, while some is learned.
For example, wolves will learn how to use scent marking to alert other pack members to danger, while domestic dogs will learn how to use it to alert their owners to danger.
Pheromones work on humans too, but there are different ways that we can respond to them.
The most common response is the “fight-or-flight response,” where our bodies react to fear or stress.
We become more vigilant and alert, and we may try to run away from danger.
Other responses include attraction, aggression, and bonding.
Dogs also use scent glands on their tails, which they use to mark territory.
However, unlike wolves, they don’t need to worry about defending their territory because of their size.
Instead, they use scent marking to attract attention from potential mates and to warn other dogs that they are dangerous.
In the wild, scent marking helps dogs establish dominance hierarchies and maintain social order.
In captivity, though, scent marking can be a sign of aggression toward other dogs.
So what exactly does your dog do when he licks your face?
Read on to find out.
The Science Behind It
Before looking at the science behind it, let’s look at what a dog’s tongue actually does.
A dog’s tongue has two main functions: to taste food and to lick away any bacteria on the teeth and gums.
The tongue also contains hundreds of thousands of receptors that detect chemicals in the air around us, including those released by other animals.
When a dog licks your face, it releases a chemical called “pheromone” from its saliva.
Pheromones are molecules that are secreted by an animal to send signals to others of the same species.
These messages can be either positive (e.g., ‘I am hungry’) or negative (e.g., ‘Run! There’s a predator nearby’).
Pheromones can be very powerful in nature.
For example, male lions use them to attract females to mate.
Female elephants use them to alert males to dangerous situations.
So why would a dog put his tongue in your mouth?
Read on to find out more about the science behind it.
Reasons Why Your Dog Might Do It
There are many reasons why a dog might put its tongue into your mouth.
Many times, it could just be an accident.
However, other times, there could be a reason behind it.
- It could be territorial behavior, where they are marking their territory around you. They may want to make sure you know who owns what area around them.
- They may want to check if you have food in your mouth. They will lick your face to see if you have eaten recently, as well as to smell your breath.
- It could be a sign of affection. The dog may not be able to reach your mouth, so he may use his tongue instead to show you how much he loves you.
- He may be showing off. A dog may also be doing it to show off to friends or family members. He may think that by doing this he will get more attention from people around him.
- A dog may be nervous. They may be anxious about something, and they may find comfort by licking your face.
What If My Dog Doesn’t Put His Tongue In My Mouth?
You may have seen this behavior before if you have had a pet dog.
However, there are many reasons why your dog might do this.
As we explore some of these reasons, we will also look at what you should do if your dog does this.
The “Lick” Is Actually A Saliva-Based Communication
When a dog licks someone’s face, it is not actually doing anything harmful.
The saliva contains enzymes that help break down food, which means the saliva has antibacterial properties.
When a dog licks you, he is simply trying to cleanse you of bacteria that may be on your skin.
He is not trying to infect you with any diseases.
It is important to note that your dog will only lick you if you allow him to.
You cannot force a dog to do something against his will.
So, if your dog does start to lick your face, you need to let him know you don’t like it and stop it immediately.
If you don’t, then he will continue to do it until you tell him otherwise.
It Is A Sign Of Friendship
This is one of the most common reasons as to why dogs lick people.
For example, if your dog sees you walking around the house, and he is hungry, he will probably want to come up to you.
To get your attention, he will usually put his nose close to you and gently lick your face.
This action is just a sign of friendship and affection.
If you are walking around the house and your dog comes over to greet you, he will probably lick your face.
While this is a friendly gesture, it is not meant to harm you.
It is merely a sign of affection between two friends.
The Licking Can Be Dangerous
While licking your face is not dangerous, it can still be uncomfortable.
If your dog starts licking you without you asking, he could accidentally bite you.
This is because he doesn’t know how much pressure to apply to your face.
If he applies too much pressure, you could end up getting an infection from his saliva.
Your Dog May Have Been Bitten By Another Pet
Another reason why your dog may lick your face is if he was bitten by another pet.
This will cause him to be extra cautious around other pets, so he would naturally try to protect himself by licking your face.
If he gets bitten, he will not be able to distinguish the difference between you and another person.
Therefore, he will always assume you are going to hurt him.
He Wants To Be Cleaned
Sometimes, a dog will try to clean you off after you have been outside in dirty weather.
This is why he may lick your face.
After spending time outdoors, your dog may smell bad, and he wants to wash himself off.
He may lick your face because he needs to remove the dirt from your body.
He Just Needs To Be Cleansed
Sometimes, your dog may lick your face or your hands because he feels dirty.
This can happen if he hasn’t been cleaned properly, and he just wants to be cleansed.
If you haven’t washed him recently, he may feel unclean.
He may lick your face to see if you are okay and if you are alive.
He Has An Unhealthy Relationship With You
Dogs often develop unhealthy relationships with us.
Sometimes, this happens because of a lack of socialization.
Because of this, they may start licking our faces as a form of aggression.
If they are aggressive towards you, they may lick your face to show dominance.
Is It Safe?
A dog’s tongue is designed to help them maintain an adequate temperature of blood flowing to the brain.
When a dog puts his tongue in your mouth, he might be trying to cool off.
However, if you don’t know what your dog is doing, it could feel uncomfortable.
If your dog licks your face while you are sleeping, it might be because he is worried about you, but you shouldn’t panic just yet.
Most dogs will only lick someone who they like, so if you think your dog has put his tongue in your mouth, take a deep breath and relax.
If you want to stop him from licking your face, you need to teach him not to do it.
You should also be careful around other people who might find this behavior creepy, as well as animals who might see it as aggressive.
It’s best to ignore your dog’s behavior if it is happening constantly, but you should speak to your vet if you notice any unusual changes in your dog’s behavior.
The answer to this question depends on whether your dog puts his tongue in your mouth because he wants to lick your face or because he wants to hurt you.
If it’s the latter, then please take our advice and remove your dog’s tongue immediately!
If your dog does want to lick your face, there’s no harm in that either – but if he’s doing so to try to communicate with you, he might not know how to use the language properly.
So let’s look at what he could possibly be saying.