Your dog bestowing a quick lick upon you is instinctive canine behaviour, helping them communicate with people, their owners, and other animals. Licking also helps them to release dopamine and endorphins that help make them feel relaxed, calm and happy.

As puppies are growing up, their mothers spend a lot of time licking them to express their love. Similarly, mature dogs lick their owners to show this same affection. Licking indicates a feeling of security and comfort in the bond between owner and pup. 

Charlotte Huggins, the Behaviour Officer at The Dogs Trust explains, ‘dogs lick for a variety of reasons, they may be seeking attention, licking as a greeting, or investigating different scents.’ While a dog’s lick is a display of fondness, Huggins emphasises the importance of not letting your dog lick your face. She states, ‘dogs carry bacteria and potentially also parasites in their mouth, some of which may be harmful to humans.

It is important you don’t force a dog to give you ‘kisses or cuddles’. Keep an eye on your dog’s body language they are relaxed and comfortable during any interaction. Watch out for signs of contentment such as wagging of tails, alert and happy mannerisms and licking you back!

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