For canines, their mouth is the most convenient way to explore the world. They lick, chew, and mouth anything imaginable, including animal poop. But why does my dog lick me in the morning? This habit can be your pet’s way of telling you that he wants food. In some cases, it’s also submissive behavior, curiosity, affection, or compulsive behavior.
If your dog’s morning licks are becoming annoying, you can always do something. In this post, I discussed the possible reasons behind this behavior and what you can do about it.
Why your dog licks you
1. Your dog is hungry.
One of the most common reasons why our dogs lick us in the morning is hunger. It’s their way of saying, “Hey, lazy, get up and give me food!”. My dog Sherlock does this all the time whenever we are past our time to wake up. He will barge into the room and lick our faces until we go to the kitchen and feed him.
Dogs lick us in the morning to communicate something. Whether it’s food, potty, or something that scared them, they surely want something.
2. Your dog is submissive.
Dogs that lick people are often showing that they are submissive. This can happen in the morning or at any time of the day. Your dog recognizes you as the leader of the pack. It licks you to say that he doesn’t mean harm or any intimidation.
This behavior is rooted in a domesticated dog’s wild past. The other members of the pack will lick their alphas to reunite after coming home from hunting. This lick signifies that they are recognizing the alpha and upholding their membership in the pack.
In a domesticated setting, your dog might do this in the morning. They lick their owners after a long night’s sleep to show that they are obedient pack members.
3. You smell and taste good.
Another reason here is that your dog likes the taste of your skin. It could be the lotion or serum you applied the night before or the saltiness of your sweat. Also, the dog might be intrigued by the smell of your body, which leads to licking.
Although gross, some dogs also like licking the drool of their owner. If you drool a lot in your sleep, don’t be surprised if your dog will come in cleaning you up.
4. Your dog is grooming you.
Dogs aren’t known groomers as compared to cats. However, mother dogs will often clean and groom their puppies. If your pet is pregnant or has recently given birth to a litter, the morning licks might be a form of grooming. The mother dog considers you as one of its children.
Aside from that, pregnant dogs tend to become very affectionate. Licking you in the morning might be a show of affection or empathy.
5. Your dog has a compulsive behavior
Lastly, excessively licking in the morning might be a compulsive behavior. Dogs with compulsive licking won’t just lick their owners in the morning. They will also lick their bodies until bald patches occur.
If you suspect that your dog is suffering from compulsive behavior, it’s best to bring it to the vet. The veterinarian will identify what’s causing the behavior. It can be due to anxiety or a more serious health problem.
How to stop my dog from licking me in the morning?
If you’re worried about your dog’s morning licking habit, you can do the following to discourage it:
- Lock the door. If your dog invades your bed in the morning, locking the door is the easiest solution. This will prevent your dog from waking you up by licking your face.
- Make your skin unappealing. For eager dogs, using skin products with citrus scents are often effective in discouraging licking. Many dogs hate the sour scent, and they will likely stop giving you morning kisses.
- Increase exercise. Draining your dog’s energy first thing in the morning will take its mind off licking you. Since dogs lick their owners to get attention, added playtime will help.
- Set a schedule. Most of all, you should stick to a schedule. You should establish a feeding schedule for your canine so it won’t lick you every time just to beg for food.
Why does my dog lick me in the middle of the night?
Some dogs enjoy licking their owners during their sleep. Nope, your dog isn’t trying to eat you. The doggo is just showing its affection by cleaning you.
However, some dogs will lick their owners to wake them up. This happens when you don’t have a feeding schedule. Also, dogs that are not crate-trained will often do this.
Are dog licks really kisses?
Dogs lick people to show affection, so we can say that those are really ‘dog kisses’. However, if your dog is licking you out of agitation or fear, this is a sign of stress and fear. You should do something to calm the dog, as this can evolve into anxiety and compulsive behavior.
Is it good to let your dog lick you?
If your dog is properly vaccinated, eats clean food, and stays indoors most of the time, there’s no harm on random locks. However, I don’t recommend rewarding this behavior, as this can become problematic.
Your dog may start licking guests and kids, which may not be welcome all the time. Some people may think that your dog isn’t properly trained.
What diseases can you get from dog saliva?
A dog’s saliva is packed with countless zoonotic infections. Still, not all dogs will have these diseases. It’s commonly observed on unvaccinated and feral dogs.
However, some reported cases indicate that humans can contract the Capnocytophaga canimorsus bacteria from canine saliva. Such bacteria are found on the mouths of many pets, including cats.
The Capnocytophaga canimorsus bacteria can cause fever, vomiting, muscle pain, and headache to the infected person. In worst cases, the bacteria can cause meningitis, especially if the infected dog bit the person.
The good thing here is that Capnocytophaga can be treated with antibiotics. However, early diagnosis is important to limit the complications.
Aside from this, your dog’s saliva can contain Salmonella, Brucella, Leptospira, Staphylococcus, Campylobacter, and other infections. All of these will wreak havoc on your body.
Why does my dog lick me in the morning? It’s possible that your dog is hungry, submissive, or likes the taste of your skin. However, compulsive behavior can also be the reason. Whatever it is, you can always train your dog out of it if the licking is becoming an annoying habit. You can also consult the vet if you suspect that the behavior is related to a health problem.