There are a lot of behaviors dogs often display that we sometimes find as weird and often make us curious. One of those weird behaviors is seeing your dog lick another dog’s ear; you may even find this uncomfortable to watch. You need to understand that it is just one of those normal dog behaviors.
Dogs lick each other’s ears for various reasons, including a friendly greeting, as a display of affection, as a form of bonding, as a grooming habit, to taste earwax, to get soothed, as curiosity, anxiety, as a sign of an ear infection, obsessive or compulsive licking, submissiveness, better than sniffing the butt.
You should know that many of your dog’s behaviors are instinctive; this means that their ancestors exhibited the behaviors in the wild, and it has always been in them despite being domesticated.
Why Does My Dog Lick My Other Dogs’ Ears?
Many years ago, before dogs became domestic animals, they used to live as pack animals. Then they had different ways of communicating with each other such as growling, barking, panting, whining, and licking. Whenever the dogs come together, they would lick each other’s ears as a way of informing each other that they are around.
Although many dogs have been domesticated lately, we need to understand that they still communicate with each other the same way they were living as packs in the wild. Licking in dogs is a way dogs could use to show submission, affection, and even grooming. For instance, dog mothers lick their pups to show affection and groom them.
So, when it comes to dogs licking each other’s ears, it is a normal dog behavior, which is often usually harmless. However, when you notice excessive licking, it could indicate a health issue. We will explain why dogs lick each other’s ears below.
Dogs Grooming Behavior
Grooming is important for dogs to stay healthy. Dogs often groom themselves by licking their body. While grooming, there are some parts of a dogs’ body it cannot reach, such as the ear. However, as much as your dog cannot lick its ear itself, the interesting thing is that another dog could help it out.
So, if your dog has a dog friend, it could help with grooming its ear by licking. If you notice this happening, understand it is completely normal. Although, you may need to observe the licking and ensure it is not excessive or aggressive, as this could lead to an infection.
In case of an aggressive licking, you will need to control the licking rate and also ensure you examine the dog’s ear for signs of infection. If you notice any infection, take the dog to a vet for proper examination and treatment.
Dogs Like The Taste Of Ear Wax
Dogs like smelly and weird stuff, to the dismay of their owners. According to experts, ear wax tastes salty. Many dogs like salty taste, so they lick their owners whenever they are sweaty – to feel the salty taste. Even though this may sound gross, dogs could lick each other’s ears to taste their ear wax.
Depending on how the other dog likes the taste, the licking could be done on a moderate level or excessively. Excessive licking could make your dog begin to feel uncomfortable. So, it is often advised that you stop it. You can achieve this by distracting the other dog with something else. An interactive dog toy could help.
The Dog Has An Ear Infection
Dogs have a very strong sense of smell and could sometimes detect the smell of infection, even before it manifests. Some dogs are more prone to having ear infections, which often come with discharges. When the discharge begins to come out, a dog could help clean the discharge by licking your dog’s ear.
Also, just like dogs like the taste of earwax, they like the taste of the ear discharges. Honestly, that sounds disgusting, but that is a dog for you. So, if you notice any form of discharge coming out from your dog’s ear, which could be due to yeast or other forms of infection, ensure the dog receives veterinary care as soon as possible.
A Sign Of Submission And Respect
Another reason why dogs lick each other’s ears is to show submission and respect. In dogs pack settings, there are usually ranks (higher and lower). Dogs in lower ranks are usually the smaller dogs and would often show signs of submission to the higher rank dogs, which are the dominant ones.
Some of the signs of submission include the submissive dog lying down, exposing its tummy, alongside licking the dominant dog. On rare occasions, the dominant dog will lick the ears of the submissive dogs; this only happens if they belong in a bonded pack. It is more common for the submissive dog to lick more.
Licking Is Soothing
Just as humans often get anxious or nervous, dogs do too. For dogs, licking could be a way of keeping themselves calm and relaxed. So, if your dog is nervous or anxious, do not be surprised if you find it licking itself or another dog’s ear.
When the licking becomes excessive, it is a clear indication of anxiety. So, once you notice this, ensure you get a way to stop the licking habit and look for something else to distract the dog with anxiety issues. For instance, an interactive dog toy with some treats could help.
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Dog Licking Other Dogs Ears
There are various reasons why dogs lick other dogs’ ears; you will find most of these reasons odd. You should know that dogs are very different from humans, so it is normal for us to find them irritating; it is the same way dogs are surprised when we do some things.
A dog will lick another dog’s ears because it detests sniffing the butt. You should know that butt sniffing is a form of greeting among dogs; some dogs prefer the old butt sniff as a form of greeting, and others do not. So, if you find that your dog greets its friend by licking its ears, you know it is uncomfortable sniffing the butt.
Licking ears is one of the best ways dogs bond; it is very rare to see two dogs that do not know themselves licking each other’s ears. An animal professional discovered that there are nerve endings in adult dogs’ outer ears, and when they are stimulated, they release pheromones.
Why Does My Dog Obsessively Lick Other Dogs’ Ears?
If you have noticed that your dog licks another dog’s ear obsessively, there is a possibility your dog is suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Different things could cause a dog to have an obsessive-compulsive disorder. One of the major causes is anxiety, triggered by loud noises, abandonment, and meeting with strangers.
When a dog’s anxiety is triggered, the dog could result in licking another dog’s ear to soothe itself. Other things that could cause obsessive licking in a dog include boredom, confinement, toxins degeneration of a dog’s central nervous system, lack of mental stimulation, separation anxiety, and dog dementia.
To be sure your dog is suffering from obsessive-compulsive syndrome, you need to watch out for some symptoms such as circling, unusual barking, excessive running, self-biting, and excessive licking. Once you notice the symptoms, ensure you contact a vet immediately as it could lead to a problem for both dogs.
Keep reading: Why Does My Dog Bite Me When Excited?
Although ear licking is harmless in dogs, you should know that it can result in an ear infection, especially if it is excessive. Studies have shown that dogs’ saliva is antibacterial, but it can still cause damage. You need to ensure your dog does not become obsessed with ear licking; it could be dangerous.
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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.