Why Does My Dog Lick My Armpit? Understanding This Behavior in Dogs

Dog Keeps licking my armpit

Dogs are known for their affectionate behavior towards their owners, and one of the ways they show their love is by licking.

While it is a common behavior, you may find it puzzling when your furry friend starts licking your armpits.

There are several reasons why dogs lick their owners’ armpits, and it may vary from dog to dog.

One possible reason is that dogs are attracted to the taste of deodorant or sweat. Another reason is that they may be trying to groom their owners, as licking is a way for dogs to clean themselves and their pack members. Additionally, licking can be a sign of submission or affection.


Key Points

  • Dogs may lick their owners’ armpits due to the presence of sweat and salt.
  • This behavior may also be a sign of affection or a way for the dog to seek attention.
  • Dogs may also lick their owners as a form of grooming or to gather information about their scent.
  • If the behavior is unwanted, redirecting the dog’s attention with toys or treats can be helpful.
  • Maintaining good hygiene and avoiding the use of strong-smelling deodorants or perfumes can also reduce the likelihood of the behavior.

Understanding Canine Behavior

Why is my dog licking my armpit?

Dogs are known for their affectionate nature, and one of the ways they show this is by licking their owners. While it may seem strange or even gross to have your dog lick your armpit, it’s important to understand the reasons behind this behavior. In this section, we’ll explore the different motivations behind a dog’s licking behavior.

Affection and Bonding

One of the main reasons why dogs lick their owners is to show affection and strengthen their bond. Licking is a natural behavior for dogs, and it’s a way for them to communicate their feelings to their humans. When a dog licks your armpit, it could be a sign that they love you and want to show it.

Dominance and Submission

In some cases, a dog may lick their owner’s armpit as a sign of submission or to assert dominance. This behavior is more common in dogs that have not been properly trained or socialized. If your dog is exhibiting dominant behavior, it’s important to seek the help of a professional trainer.

Exploring and Play

Dogs are curious creatures, and they use their sense of smell and taste to explore their environment. When a dog licks your armpit, they could be trying to taste or smell something that interests them. Additionally, some dogs may lick as part of their play behavior.

Stress and Anxiety

Finally, it’s important to note that dogs may lick their owners’ armpits as a sign of stress or anxiety. When a dog is feeling anxious or overwhelmed, it may turn to licking as a way to calm itself down. If you notice that your dog is licking excessively or seems anxious, it’s important to consult with your veterinarian.


The Role of Senses in Dogs

Dogs rely heavily on their senses to navigate the world around them. They have a heightened sense of smell, taste, and touch, which allows them to communicate, explore, and interact with their environment. In this section, we will discuss the role of these senses in dogs and how they relate to their behavior, particularly when it comes to licking their owners’ armpits.

Sense of Smell

Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, which is estimated to be 10,000 to 100,000 times more powerful than humans. They have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to our measly 6 million.

This heightened sense of smell allows them to detect a wide variety of scents, including pheromones, which are chemical signals emitted by other animals, including humans.

When it comes to licking their owners’ armpits, dogs may be attracted to the scent of sweat and deodorant. Sweat contains pheromones, which dogs can detect, and deodorant can have a strong scent that dogs find appealing. Additionally, dogs may be attracted to the saltiness of sweat, which can be a tasty treat for them.

Taste

Dogs have taste buds just like humans, but their taste preferences are different. They have fewer taste buds than humans, and they are less sensitive to sweet and salty flavors. Dogs are more sensitive to bitter and sour flavors, which is thought to be an evolutionary adaptation to help them avoid toxic foods.

When dogs lick their owners’ armpits, they may be tasting the sweat and deodorant on their skin. They may also be seeking attention or affection from their owners, as licking is a common way for dogs to show affection.

Touch

Dogs have a highly developed sense of touch, which is important for their social interactions and communication. They use their sense of touch to explore their environment, communicate with other dogs, and show affection to their owners.

When dogs lick their owners’ armpits, they may be seeking physical contact and attention. Licking is a way for dogs to show affection and bond with their owners. Additionally, dogs may be trying to groom their owners, as they would groom other dogs in their pack.


Addressing Your Dog’s Licking Habit

If you’re concerned about your dog’s licking habit, there are a few things you can do to address it. Here are some tips on how to handle excessive licking:

Training and Positive Reinforcement

Training and positive reinforcement can be very effective in curbing excessive licking. You can teach your dog to stop licking by using commands like “no lick” or “leave it.” Whenever your dog stops licking, be sure to praise and reward them with a treat or a toy.

Providing Alternatives

Providing your dog with alternatives can also help to redirect their licking behavior. Offer your dog a chew toy or a treat puzzle to keep them occupied. You can also give them a lick mat or a frozen treat to satisfy their urge to lick.

When to Consult a Vet

If your dog’s licking habit is causing harm, such as excessive itching or irritation, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian. Your vet can determine if there is an underlying medical condition causing the licking behavior, such as allergies or a skin infection.

It’s also important to ensure that your dog is getting enough exercise and mental stimulation. A lack of exercise or boredom can lead to excessive licking as a self-soothing behavior. Keeping your dog active and engaged can help to reduce their need to lick.

Overall, while licking is a natural behavior for dogs, excessive licking can be a sign of an underlying issue. By providing your dog with proper training, alternatives, and veterinary care, you can help to address their licking habit and keep them healthy and happy.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why do dogs lick humans?

Dogs have a natural instinct to lick as a way of communicating and showing affection. Licking can also be a way for dogs to explore their environment and gather information through taste and smell. Additionally, dogs may lick humans as a way to seek attention or to express submissiveness.

Is it normal for dogs to lick armpits?

Yes, it is normal for dogs to lick armpits. Dogs are attracted to the bacteria that live in our armpits and the sweat that we produce. This behavior is not harmful to your dog, but it may be uncomfortable for some humans.

What does it mean when a dog licks you?

When a dog licks you, it can mean a variety of things. Dogs may lick humans as a way to show affection, seek attention, or communicate their needs. Licking can also be a way for dogs to explore their environment and gather information through taste and smell.

Can dogs get sick from licking deodorant?

Yes, dogs can get sick from licking deodorant. Deodorant contains chemicals that can be harmful to dogs if ingested in large amounts. It is important to keep deodorant and other personal care products out of your dog’s reach to prevent accidental ingestion.

Do dogs lick to show affection?

Yes, dogs often lick as a way to show affection. Licking is a natural behavior for dogs and can be a way for them to bond with their humans. However, it is important to set boundaries and train your dog not to lick excessively or in inappropriate situations.

How can I train my dog not to lick me?

To train your dog not to lick you, you can use positive reinforcement techniques. When your dog refrains from licking, reward them with treats or praise. You can also redirect their behavior by giving them a toy or bone to chew on instead. Consistency and patience are key when training your dog.