Why Does My Dog Lick My Nose? Every Reason You Need To Know

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Author: Tilly Walker

If you are a dog owner, then it’s almost certain that your furry friend licked your nose. In the beginning, you don’t think about it much, but, when they start doing this more often, you may have thought of this- Why does my dog lick my nose?

While many experienced dog owners are probably aware of this behaviour but still, they might not know the reason behind it. New owners tend to get anxious about this as they think the behaviour is strange. So, don’t worry, in this article, you’ll find different reasons why dogs lick your nose.

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Why Does My Dog Lick My Nose?

Why do dogs lick your nose? The quick answer – it’s a behavioural response. They pick this behaviour from their mother. Often you may see mother cats lick the nose of their puppies’ noses to make sure they can breathe properly. They pick this habit and do the same while helping their canine buddies.

Further, you can also consider this as their gesture to express affection, or an attempt to show submission, to groom you, because they are distressed, or they can sense something different in you.

However, it’s possible that your dog licks your nose because they enjoy the taste. It may seem unusual but, the fragrance of your skin care products lures them towards your face. 

Why do dogs lick your nose? Reasons

Now, that we have a brief information regarding why dogs lick your nose, let’s build on it! Following are some of the reasons why dogs lick your nose.

Why do dogs lick your nose
Image by: paule858 / iStockphoto

#1 Your nose tastes good

As a dog owner, you probably know that your dog has a very different sense of what is tasty and what is lickable. So, if your dog does lick your nose, it’s mainly because it finds it tasty or lickable. 

Further, the smell of your face also plays an important role in such behaviour. If they lick the outer part of your nose, it is most of your skin that tastes nice to them. To your dog, licking your nose is a tasty treat. 

If they lick up the inside area of your nose, they most probably enjoy the taste of your boogers.

#2 Instinctive behaviour

Dogs are instinctive creatures. Since their birth, they are constantly observing what their mother does. She licks their nose to help them breathe and also lick their body to keep them clean. 

Hence, from the day they were born, the first thing they experience is licking from their mother. Furthermore, licking and smelling are methods for dogs to get a sense of things. They smell and then lick to gather information. 

Further, dogs can know about your mood through their nose and mouth receptors. So, they know if you are sad or happy and lick your nose.

#3 Expressing affection

Licking is a dog’s way of showing affection, and also an indicator that he trusts you. In fact, they are probably kissing you, it’s their way of showing you the love you have.

#4 Seeking your attention

If you are spending less time with your canine friend then it’s possible they lick your nose to seek your attention. In addition, it’s also possible that when they licked your nose for the first time you gave them a cuddle, laughed at it, or just simply stroked their fur.

Such a positive response can make them repeat this behaviour when they need your attention.

#5 Submissive gesture – a sign of respect

Dogs are packed animals and follow a social hierarchy. And in this established social hierarchy, licking is a way of bearing power.

This is a submissive gesture, your dog is accepting you as his dominant pack leader, a sign of respect. This means they consider you as their superior. So, being a pack leader, you are liable for their food and for showing them, love.

#6 Grooming

Dogs lick their pack buddies as a way to groom each other. It acts as a means of fluffing their fur and ensuring that their coats remain shiny & healthy.

They are likely to see you as part of their group, and that’s why they may try to take on this behaviour of licking your nose as a way to groom you. They will lick you when they won’t have other members of their pack around.

#7 Curiosity

Dogs are curious and like exploring a variety of things to meet this instinct. If they smell something interesting they tend to lick it as well. They do this to gather information and get a sense of that specific thing.

So, if your nose smells different, they will lick it. They are basically trying to figure out where the scent came from.

#8 Excitement

Overstimulation can cause your dog to express their excitement and emotions through their behaviour and actions. When you are away from the house and return home they constantly lick your mouth, face or nose to express their joy and excitement.

#9 Boredom

Contrary to the excitement, dogs may also lick your nose out of boredom. It’s quite possible that your dog has spent plenty of time without any stimulation. Licking your nose is probably their way of passing the time.

If this behaviour is frequent, your canine friend needs some exercise or mental stimulation. Further, if you ignore this aspect your furry friend will use other ways to cope with this boredom. For instance, they’ll start chewing wood, shoes, sofa, and so on. To avoid such situations you can use different exercises, use toys and other positive reinforcements.

#10 Feels Good

Oxytocin plays a significant role in the dog-owner relationship. In fact, an MDPI journal has shown that when dogs interact with humans both of them display a surge in oxytocin. For example, when your dog licks your nose and you respond with a petting, releases oxytocin.

So, even if your dog licks your face it’s actually helping them bond with you and making them feel good and relaxed.

#11 Sickness or pain

It’s sad that our canine friends can’t talk with us. However, they do convey their pain in different ways. Licking is one of the ways they communicate their pain, especially if they are suffering from physical pain.

Further, if you find your dog’s lick obsessive or desperate you should immediately get them checked by the Vet.

How to Stop Dog From Licking Up Your Nose?

You are probably wondering why is there a need to stop your dog from licking up your nose. Well, your dog’s saliva contains bad bugs. The nose is closer to your mouth and the parasites can transmit to you through your mouth as well. This can result in unexpected diseases and infections not only in the owner but the whole family.

How to Stop Dog From Licking Up Your Nose
Image by: yokeetod / iStockphoto

Hence, it becomes important to control this behaviour. Here are some useful tips to stop dog lick noses:

Tip 1: Ignore the behaviour

Simply ignoring the behaviour can actually help you get rid of continuous licking. Because, when your furry friend has complete attention, they tend to perceive that their licking is being acknowledged or rewarded. This makes them lick you even more.

So, the lack of response will indicate to them that this licking behaviour will get no reaction from you, and this may just stop them from doing this on regular basis.

Tip 2: Train the dog

If ignoring the behaviour doesn’t work you can use a more subtle approach i.e. Training. You have to specifically train them to obey the “No” command. So, when you train your dog, it’s crucial that you use a firm voice and use it while they lick your mouth or nose.

Once you say no, you need to either put them down or leave them alone for some time. This might make them feel sad but, will train them to obey the command. When they start obeying the “No” command you can give them a small treat or pat them. This will generate a positive response in their minds and even possibly stop them from licking your nose.

Tip 3: Distract the dog

It’s important to note that it’s not good to frequently use the “No” command on dogs. It can have a negative impact. So, the next time your canine friend licks your nose, instead of using the NO command, try distracting them using toys or giving them a bone to chew on.

Tip 4: Change your body scent

Normally, the scent of your face skin can lure the dog as it is appealing and they will lick your face or your nose. To stop this from happening, you can stop applying any skin care product or change the scent. Pick the one which contains a bitter odour.

Further, you can also wash your face before you start playing or cuddling with your pet dog.

Tip 5: Exercise

Exercise can help dogs release energy. If you make them exercise regularly their energy will wear out. This will make them rest more and also they’ll forget about licking your nose. It’s quite similar to distracting method but, here the exercise helps burn off the energy which can help the dog physically.

Now, even after using these methods, if your dog continues licking your nose, then take your dog to the nearest Vet and get the diagnostics.


Why do dogs lick your mouth and nose?

For dogs licking your mouth or nose is their way of grooming, bonding, and expressing themselves. Your dog probably licks your nose or mouth to express their love, seek your attention, or just to help relieve themselves if they’re overwhelmed. Their licking may also be a way of showing empathy or you simply smell and taste good.

Is it bad for dogs to lick your nose?

While a dog licks your nose, the saliva can easily absorb the germs from the mucous membranes of a person’s nose. However, it’s likely that any illness or disease conditions are transmitted in such a manner. But, to be safe, you can train your dog to avoid licking your nose, mouth or ear.

Why does my dog lick my nose and ears?

If your dog is licking your ears, they are indicating a high sense of comfort. Also, mutual grooming is typical among pack members, and they may consider you one of the pack members. It is can also represent a sign of love, care and respect. In simple words,  when your dog licks your ears, they’re complimenting you! In addition, they lick your nose for similar reasons.

Why Does My Dog Lick My Nose? – Final Take

So, it seems that dogs lick your nose out of love, as a way of expression, or because of pain. Regardless, you should not let them lick your nose on daily basis. They put their mouth in different places and at times you may not even know what food item they may have eaten or licked. This can cause some serious infections. Thus, make sure you train your dog to not lick your nose.

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Tilly Walker
Tilly Walker is an avid animal lover and dog owner for several years. She owns a mix breed Cockapoo named Rio. She, along with her group of friends who wanted to help others learn more about the proper ways to take care of their pets, founded this website.

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