Many dog owners are familiar with dogs, often displaying many behaviors like licking feet or ears. Some owners may find this behavior cute and wonderful, while some who easily get tickled might find it annoying. However, regardless of how you see it, you need to understand it is normal dog behavior which is just a way of expressing their love for their owners.
Your dog licks your feet to express that they care, attract attention, gain a better understanding of you, as a submission sign, and because they like it. However, they may favor your feet because they are packed with fragrance data that informs them of where you have been.
It is not a secret that dogs utilize their tongues for various purposes. They cannot hug us because they lack arms; a huge, sloppy kiss is one of the ways they show you affection. Even if you ignore them, they will still give you a lick to show they care.
Why Does My Dog Lick My Feet?
Licking is a normal behavior in dogs that helps them bond and groom themselves. When it comes to your dog licking your feet, you need to understand that it could just be a way of the dog trying to bond with you and express its love. However, aside from this, licking your feet could mean other things. We will be explaining the reasons for this behavior below.
A Sign Of Love And Affection
Licking is a common way dogs show their love and affection towards themselves and even their owners. Licking is a way dogs groom each other and express love towards themselves. According to studies, dogs release a love hormone called oxytocin when they lick.
So, whenever your dog comes around to lick your hands or feet, it could just be a way of showing its affection and love for you. In such cases, you could also embrace your dog by patting its head or give it some nice treats to reciprocate the love back to your lovely companion dog.
A Sign Of Submission And Respect
When dogs lived in the wild as pack members, licking was a way they often showed submission and respect for each other. Back then, lower-ranked pack members would lick the dominant ones to show submission. This wild instinct is still in many dogs. Domesticated dogs see their owners as a member of their pack too.
So, licking your feet could also mean they are submissive and respect you as their alpha. You will notice the dog staying low on the ground while licking your feet when this happens. So, ensure you do not snap at the dog whenever you notice this. Doing so could make the dog scared and confused.
A Sign Of Compulsive Behavior
If you notice your dog always wanting to lick your feet or the licking has become excessive, it could indicate compulsive behavior. The purpose for doing this could be because the dog is suffering from anxiety, medical conditions, or some behavioral disorder, and it is trying to soothe itself.
If the compulsive behavior is anxiety, you will notice the dog licking your feet more whenever it becomes anxious due to certain triggers. Some common anxiety triggers in dogs include meeting strangers, change of environment, and loud noises from fireworks or thunderstorms.
To help a dog with compulsive behavior, you need to address the cause. For anxiety, you could easily manage it by reducing or removing the trigger cause. However, if it is due to a medical issue, you need to seek the help of a vet or a pet behaviorist.
Related post: Why Does My Dog Keep Gagging but Not Throwing Up?
An Attention-Seeking Behavior
For dog owners who are very ticklish, if your dog notices you always react whenever your feet are licked, it could always come around to lick for some attention. This is even more likely to happen, especially if it often makes you giggle. The dog could feel you are also in for a play and ready to have fun with it.
However, if you are not cool with this style of seeking attention, perhaps the licking makes you feel uncomfortable. Try not to give a reaction whenever your dog does it. Once your dog notices you do not respond to it, it will look for other ways to get your attention.
Your Feet Tastes Good To Your Dog
Does your dog lick your feet more whenever you are sweaty? If yes, then it is likely because the dog likes the taste of your sweat. You might feel that sounds gross, but dogs like the salty taste of sweats and find it irresistible to lick.
Also, while eating, there are possibilities that the food could fall on your feet, or you even step on some kitchen crumbs. In such instances, your feet could taste so good to your dog. So, do not be surprised if it comes around licking your feet just after you just had a nice meal.
Why Does My Dog Lick My Feet All The Time?
If your dog is fond of licking your feet all the time, it indicates compulsive or obsessive behavior. This is more common in dogs suffering from a certain behavioral disorder or medical condition. Some other common causes of obsessive behavior include stress, lack of physical or mental stimulation, anxiety, skin disorder, arthritis, or other problems.
We have already explained how to help such dogs for dogs suffering from anxiety. However, for dogs suffering from any other behavioral or medical problem, you must seek the help of a professional to help identify the problem, then help manage the situation.
Dogs are fascinated by filth. They enjoy rolling in dead objects, rummaging through garbage, digging in muck, and eating dung. The more repulsive a thing is to humans, the more appealing it becomes to a dog. Consider what it means for your dog to be preoccupied with your feet. Perhaps it is time to address that fungus issue or invest in some more breathable footwear, so your feet do not become too hot at the end of the day.
What Does It Mean When A Dog Licks Your Feet?
When your dog licks your feet, it is a sign of submission; your dog believes you are royalty and wants you to know they are fine with that status. They believe that you are their alpha, and they are trying to show you that they are aware of your position. This is not to be confused with scared submission; it is not that you are a bully or that they are not afraid of you.
It is only a sign that they recognize you as their leader. Consider how a youngster thinks about their parents; it is a natural and transparent social order in which everyone knows their role. If you snap at them, they may become irritated, so be careful; it can perplex them. After all, you are likely to get insulted or upset if you are attempting to congratulate someone and they criticize you.
Your dog also licks your feet because they have become very comfortable with you. Naturally, they consider you to be a member of their pack. Grooming each other is a symbol of affection; you pet your dog, and they, in turn, lick your feet. So, while it is not particularly enjoyable, it is also endearing.
Licking is one of the natural activities shared by all dogs; they perform this action to groom themselves and show eagerness and affection. They will lick another dog, the family cat, your face, and even your feet. You can either redirect or welcome the behavior. Remember to seek advice from your veterinarian if the situation appears to be out of hand so that you know if the action is a medical issue.
Shawn Manaher is a serial entrepreneur but when he isn’t working, he loves dogs. He’s owned different pets over the years, and always gives a part of his heart to each pet.