Why Do Dogs Lick Feet?

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This article will talk about the different reasons why dogs’ lick humans feet and their own feet as well.

Why Dogs Lick Human Feet

Some people (like ourselves!) love the licking while others do not. If you fall in the latter group, it is important for you to know why the dog is licking before you decide to eliminate this behavior.

If you are fans of dogs licking (or even if you aren’t), check our Ty Foster’s Lick Project. It is hilarious and he even has a Pug!

Another great website that celebrates the absurdities of dog tongues is Chris Sembrot’s Humans Kissing Dogs. Check it out if you are into looking at people making out with their dogs. If you are not into that then steer clear!

Ever since we first got our dog, Bunk, we have always wondered why he licked our feet. Every single time, while he snuggles into the blankets with us, he will go and sit on top of one of my foot and start to lick it!

This is why I decided to do some research.

I Want Your Love

There are two many reasons why dogs will lick human feet. They are quite similar to the reasons why a dog might lick a human’s face. The main reason that a dog lick’s a human’s feet is to be able to indicate their feelings to the humans. This happens when a dog is trying to show its master that he understands who the master is and that he is loyal to the master. It is to show status.

To show its acceptance in a human family, a dog will lick the feet of those people to whom the dog feels affection or submissive. By showing affection and submission, a dog may ensure its place in the family by showing acceptance of the social order in its home.

Your dog’s licks are his way of telling you that he loves you and that he wants your affection and approval. It is possible that being pushed away after ‘kissing’ you might make him try harder to lick you, thinking that he didn’t deliver his message well enough the first time.

On the other hand, Jennifer Shryock, BA, CDBC of Family Paws Parent Education asserts in her article My dog loves my Baby…he always licks him! that licking is, in some cases, a way to communicate that the dog wants space. Shryock call it a “lick to dismiss.” I will keep an eye on Bunk and his licking habits in the future, but I’m pretty sure he licks me because he likes the taste of my feet. Haha!

Searching For Information

The second reason a dog lick’s a human’s feet is to gather information. A dog is able to use millions of scent receptor cells in its nose and mouth to process information about a human through a human’s feet.

As a human body secretes sweat, the sweat releases information about the individual that can be processed by the dog. The human body cools itself through a sweat gland system that emits moisture that can be evaporated from the body. This evaporation action cools the body.

The human foot is a location in which many sweat glands can be found. As such, it is possible that human feet are a source of information about their owner for the dog. Sweat glands release moisture that contains salts, water and waste products. This is typical of the eccrine glands that are located on the feet and the rest of the body.

Sebaceous glands release sebum and are located near hair follicles. The sweat can mix with the sebaceous gland secretions to produce an even more complex message to a dog about the human whose foot is being licked.

The dog is a very social animal that processes information about the humans with whom it has contact. When a dog licks human feet, the dog is making a signal about its position in relation to the human and it is learning about the human.

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    • Susie and Sidebite on

      Gee, didn’t get my comment typed , opps. Punk you are just full of good stuff, been reading a lot of your informational thingies, thanks much

      Your Pals
      the Mad Scots

  1. The dogs saliva contains anti bacterial and anti fungal properties. For the human the licking not only cleans the sweat, oil, and dead skin from the foot, but protects against conditions like athletes foot.

    This is another example of our symbiotic relationship with dogs.

  2. I don’t believe licking a humans feet is good for the dog. Our toxins that leave our bodies, do so through our sweat. Why would we allow our dogs who we love to absorb those toxins? No, I don’t like their parts endlessly, why should they.

  3. I liked when my dog licked my feet, until today when I had such pain & itching in my toes I was at urgent care for the 2nd time in a month. I thought I must have developed Gout (a type of arthritis) but no, it’s an infection (“cellulitis”) that appears to have come from

    • joshua molenaar on

      It comes from what … I was just diagnosed with gout this morning … and my dog was licking my feet about a week ago or so….but I shower daily also(

  4. Hi there . Just found yr blog here:) im from Malaysia. Sorry for my broken English ya. U did explained why did dog lick human feet,n then can I know why dog lick their own feet? I also got a maltese. She always lick my feet as well, especially when she lay down near my feet^^ now I know why she do that . Thanks ya

  5. You forgot to mention that dogs with dry skin problems also lick their own feet. My dog has some pretty dry bad skin, so I put lotion on him. We live in a very hot and dry area, and he loves running outside in the hot dirt, so I have to do that to protect him.

  6. So it’s simple then? Just for love and affection and to gather some info on us 🙂

    I think we need to give Dog’s a bit more credit, clever little pooches!

  7. Why dog lick feet? Love yes! But Salt, is the main one! They need more salt. Some tells you that salt is bad and some tells you that it will cure anything. Of course always the Yin and Yang, Table ionized salt is SUPER bad for you and will scratch your inside which will be repaired by more natural cholesterol secretion – natural salt as Fleur de sel or Himalayan salt are better some other are so fine and more alkalescent (9.5 pH) which is the one that prevent acidity in your body. So let him lick, if you can, as mentioned it will prevent athlete foot etc… Why dog eat grass? Then, they will throw up. So give him Spirulina – they love them and will help fatty tumor to decrease (good for you as well).
    I do not think it is related to Gout etc…
    The best is to give him better clustered water that you can make if you own the Ionizer alkaline conditioner machine in your kitchen. They go from $1500 to $6000, that healing water for you such as the Kangen Water reduce the acidity level in your body – the one that make you go to doctor, hospital and 6 feet under. Good for human and animal, and will prevent Gout, MS, Gastro, Acid Reflux, hydrate your trillions cells avoiding Oxygen treatment and more. Offering free Eco-Living eBook at healingwaterforyou.com
    Do not let your dog in the yard, after you add anything on your lawn as they will get serious health problem months later. The best is to not use herbicide and pesticide.
    Have a safe day.

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