Articles about Dogs

Why Do Dogs Lick My Feet? Exploring the Fascinating Reasons Behind this Behavior

Why Do Dogs Lick My Feet?

Dogs are known for their affectionate and sometimes quirky behaviors, and one such behavior that many dog owners may have experienced is their furry friend licking their feet. While it may seem odd or even ticklish, there are actually several reasons why dogs engage in this behavior. Understanding the underlying motivations behind their foot-licking tendencies can help us better comprehend our canine companions and strengthen the bond between humans and dogs.

Firstly, licking is a natural instinct for dogs. It is a way for them to explore and interact with their environment, including their human companions. Dogs have a highly developed sense of smell, and by licking our feet, they can gather information about us, such as our scent, taste, and even our emotions. It is their way of getting to know us better and establishing a deeper connection.

Secondly, dogs may lick our feet as a sign of submission and respect. Licking is a behavior that is often associated with puppies and their mothers. In a pack setting, licking is a way for subordinate members to show deference to the dominant ones. By licking our feet, dogs may be expressing their submissiveness and acknowledging our position as their leader or guardian.

Furthermore, licking can also be a form of communication for dogs. Just like humans use body language and gestures to convey messages, dogs use their tongues. By licking our feet, dogs may be trying to communicate various things, such as hunger, thirst, or the need for attention. It is their way of expressing their needs and seeking a response from us.

Additionally, licking can be a soothing and comforting behavior for dogs. It releases endorphins, which are natural feel-good hormones, and can help them relax and alleviate stress. Dogs may lick our feet as a way to self-soothe or seek comfort when they are feeling anxious or nervous. It is their instinctual response to find solace in the presence of their trusted human companion.

In conclusion, dogs lick our feet for various reasons, including their natural instinct to explore and interact, as a sign of submission and respect, as a form of communication, and as a means of seeking comfort. It is important to remember that every dog is unique, and their motivations for foot-licking may vary. If you find this behavior uncomfortable or excessive, it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer who can provide guidance and help address any underlying issues. Understanding and responding to our dogs’ behaviors with patience and empathy can strengthen the bond we share with our beloved four-legged friends.

The Fascinating Reasons Behind Dogs Licking Our Feet

Curiosity and Exploration

One of the primary reasons why dogs lick our feet is their innate curiosity and desire to explore their surroundings. Dogs rely heavily on their sense of smell, which is far more powerful than ours. When they lick our feet, they are gathering valuable information about us. They can detect our unique scent, the residue of substances we may have stepped on, and even the traces of emotions we emit through our sweat. It’s their way of getting to know us better and understanding our world.

Submission and Respect

Licking is a behavior deeply rooted in a dog’s social structure. In the wild, puppies lick their mother’s face as a sign of submission and respect. This behavior continues into adulthood, and dogs may transfer this instinctual behavior to their human companions. By licking our feet, dogs are showing their respect and acknowledging our role as their leader or guardian. It’s their way of reinforcing the pack hierarchy and demonstrating their trust in us.

Communication and Expression

Dogs are highly expressive animals, and licking is one of the ways they communicate with us. By licking our feet, dogs may be trying to convey various messages. For instance, if they are hungry or thirsty, they might lick our feet to get our attention and signal their needs. Similarly, if they crave affection or playtime, licking can be their way of seeking attention and initiating interaction. It’s important to pay attention to the context and accompanying body language to understand the specific message they are trying to convey.

Seeking Comfort and Soothing

Licking can also be a self-soothing behavior for dogs. It releases endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting hormones, and can help them relax and alleviate stress. When dogs are feeling anxious, nervous, or even bored, they may resort to licking our feet as a means of seeking comfort. The act of licking provides them with a sense of security and reassurance in the presence of their trusted human companion.


In conclusion, dogs lick our feet for a variety of reasons, ranging from their innate curiosity and exploration to their instinctual need for submission and respect. It is their way of communicating, expressing their needs, and seeking comfort. As dog owners, it is important to understand and respect these behaviors, as they are an integral part of a dog’s nature and communication repertoire. However, if you find excessive or unwanted foot-licking behavior, it is advisable to consult with a professional to address any underlying issues. Remember, building a strong bond with our canine companions requires patience, understanding, and mutual respect.

Practical Recommendations for Dealing with Dogs Licking Your Feet

1. Establish Boundaries

While foot-licking can be a natural behavior for dogs, it’s essential to set boundaries to ensure your comfort and well-being. Teach your dog the “leave it” or “off” command when they start licking your feet. Consistency and positive reinforcement will help them understand that this behavior is not always acceptable.

2. Provide Alternative Activities

If your dog tends to lick your feet out of boredom or seeking attention, redirect their focus onto more appropriate activities. Engage them in interactive play sessions, provide puzzle toys, or take them for regular walks and exercise. Keeping their minds and bodies stimulated will reduce the likelihood of excessive foot-licking.

3. Maintain Good Hygiene

Regularly clean and moisturize your feet to discourage excessive licking. Use mild, pet-safe soaps and lotions to avoid any potential skin irritations. Additionally, keep your dog’s grooming and oral hygiene in check to minimize any potential health concerns associated with excessive licking.

4. Address Underlying Anxiety or Stress

If your dog’s foot-licking behavior is driven by anxiety or stress, it’s crucial to address the root cause. Consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog behaviorist to identify triggers and develop a plan to manage their anxiety. Techniques such as desensitization, counterconditioning, and positive reinforcement training can help alleviate their stress levels.

5. Seek Professional Guidance

If your dog’s foot-licking behavior becomes excessive, compulsive, or problematic, it’s advisable to seek professional help. A veterinarian or a certified dog trainer can assess the situation, provide personalized guidance, and recommend appropriate interventions to modify the behavior effectively.

6. Consider Medical Factors

In some cases, excessive foot-licking may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. If you notice persistent licking, redness, swelling, or any signs of discomfort, consult with a veterinarian. They can conduct a thorough examination, rule out any medical issues, and provide appropriate treatment if necessary.

7. Maintain a Positive Relationship

Building a strong bond with your dog is crucial in addressing any behavioral concerns. Focus on positive reinforcement training methods, reward good behavior, and provide plenty of love, attention, and mental stimulation. A strong and trusting relationship will help your dog feel secure and reduce the need for excessive foot-licking.

Remember, every dog is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Patience, consistency, and understanding are key when addressing and modifying any behavior. By implementing these practical recommendations, you can create a harmonious and comfortable environment for both you and your furry friend.