Why Does Your Dog Lick Your Feet?
22 February, 2018
Dogs are such social and friendly animals that bond with us daily. They love us unconditionally and show us their affection by staying by our sides, following us around or licking us. Even our sweaty feet! There are a few reasons why dogs like to lick our feet.
You dog licks your feet to get your attention
If your dog is licking your feet to get attention, he has probably associated the act of licking with positive reinforcement. Most likely, the last time your dog licked your toes it produced some sort of reaction, and he feels encouraged to continue this behavior next time he craves a rub down.
Or maybe you may have missed the hard stare, the nose tap or even batted away their attempts to lick your hand. Being pushed away after all of these attempts at affection may make them try harder, thinking that they were too subtle the first time. Next time, the feet! In the case of short dogs, height-wise it may be the only way they can get your attention regarding an issue they have such as meal time!
Your dog may be showing his submissiveness and he is OK with it!
Another reason a dog will lick a human’s foot is to indicate their submissiveness to their owner. They are pack animals after all. But, more importantly it indicates their happiness in this role. By displaying this act of domesticity and submission, the dog may ensure its place in the family by accepting the social order of the home.
Your dog can gather information about you from his licking.
Another reason dogs lick human feet is to gather information. A dog is able to use the millions of scent receptor cells in its nose and mouth to process information. As a human body secretes, the sweat released relays information regarding the individual that the dog can process. Sweat glands release moisture that contains salt, water and waste products. The sweat can mix with these secretions to provide an even more complex message for the dog regarding the human they just licked.
They like the salty taste or a piece of food on your foot
Sometimes it can be as simple as the fact that there is a little bit of food on your foot that you don’t even register. To a dog this can be like a lighthouse in the fog and prove irresistible. The salt in our sweat is also tasty to dogs.
Licking your our there feet can be a stress relief
It is also thought that licking can act as a self-soothing behavior that releases endorphins. Your dog can lick your feet (or themselves) just because it is a soothing way to pass the time.
Licking can become compulsive if it becomes repetitive
When a dog’s licking becomes repetitive to the point of obsession, this can indicate a problem. Constant licking can quickly become a learned mechanism for dealing with stress. When it has reached this stage, it is time to talk to your vet.
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