Why Does My Dog Lick My Feet?

Ever wondered why your dog enjoys giving your feet a good lick? While it might seem strange (and a little ticklish!), for dogs, foot licking is a natural behavior with several interesting explanations. Let’s face it, doggy kisses on the feet aren’t everyone’s favorite. This post will explore why does my dog lick my feet, and what you can do if it becomes a little too much.

why does my dog lick my feet

Why Our Feet?

Dogs have a superpower – an incredibly strong sense of smell. Their noses are far superior to ours, and your feet, well, they act like a doggy newspaper! Packed with sweat, pheromones, and traces of everywhere you’ve been, your feet tell your pup all about you and your adventures. Licking them is their way of gathering information and staying connected. While feet might not be the most pleasant part of our body, for your dog, they’re a treasure trove of information! Packed with interesting smells, special signals (pheromones), and even traces of your adventures (thanks sweat!), your feet act like a dog’s information centre. With a super sniffer thousands of times better than ours, your dog can basically “read” your feet, learning about your mood, your meals, and even where you’ve been!

Love Language: Licks Of Affection

Just like humans show affection with hugs and kisses, dogs lick! It’s a way for them to show love and respect. In fact, it’s a behavior they learned from their mothers as puppies. Licking isn’t just about hygiene for dogs, it’s their way of showing affection too. So, those wet foot kisses? They’re just your pup’s way of saying “I love you!”. So be prepared for a lifetime of this – it’s all part of a dogs life.

why does my dog lick so much

Seeking Attention:

Sometimes, a foot lick is a dog’s way of saying, “Hey, you! Pay attention to me!” Especially if you react by pushing them away or yelling, even negative attention can be rewarding for some dogs. If this is the case, redirect their attention with a play session or a treat.

Self-Soothing Through Licking

Licking can be a calming behavior for dogs. If your pup seems stressed or anxious, they might lick their paws or your feet as a way to self-soothe. It’s more than just a weird habit! Dogs are pack animals, and guess what? Your family is their pack! In the wild, dog packs lick each other to feel calm and show affection.

3 Ways To Reduce Licking Through Training

  • Distraction is Key: Keep a stash of chew toys or treats handy. When your dog targets your feet, distract them with a playful game or a tasty reward.
  • Redirect & Reward: Notice your dog eyeing your feet? Anticipate the lick and redirect their attention with a command like “sit” or “fetch.” Reward them with praise or a treat for following through.
  • Consistency is King: The key to success is consistency! Stick with the training plan, and gradually your pup will learn that there are more exciting ways to interact with you than a foot spa.

Other Reasons for Foot Licking

While less common, there could be other reasons behind the foot licking. If your dog’s licking is excessive, their paws might be irritated or itchy. Allergies, insect bites, or even dry skin could be the culprit. In these cases, a trip to the vet is recommended. “It’s essentially a social behavior that comes from their evolutionary history,” says Dr Emily Blackwell, lecturer in companion animal behavior and welfare at the University of Bristol. “It’s a greeting and can be taken as a compliment.”

why does my dog lick my feet

FAQ: Your Foot-Licking Questions Answered

  • Q: Should I let my dog lick my feet?

A: Generally, occasional licking is harmless. However, if your dog’s licking is excessive or your feet have open wounds, it’s best to discourage it.

  • Q: How do I stop my dog from licking my feet?

A: Redirect their attention with a toy or a treat. Reward them for leaving your feet alone.

  • Q: My dog licks their paws and my feet excessively. Should I be worried?

A: If the licking seems compulsive or their paws are red and irritated, a vet visit is recommended to rule out any underlying medical conditions.


The act of dogs licking their owners’ feet is a multifaceted behavior rooted in communication, affection, and sensory exploration. By understanding the underlying motivations behind this behavior, pet owners can foster stronger bonds with their companions while promoting positive interactions. Should excessive licking become a concern, consulting with a veterinarian can provide valuable insights and guidance for addressing any underlying issues.

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