Why Does My Dog Lick Me When I’m Sick (5 Top Reasons)

It’s considered normal and harmless for your dog to lick you once in a while. But if your dog’s licking habit becomes excessive, especially when you’re sick, there are reasons behind it.

Continue Reading To Discover:

  • Reasons Why My Dog Licks Me When I’m Sick
  • How to stop your dog’s licking habit

Your dog licks you when you’re sick because it’s his way of making you feel better, he wants your attention, he is showing you affection, likes the taste of your skin, or wants to lower your stress level.

5 Reasons why your dog licks you when you feel sick

He’s Trying To Make You Feel Better

According to various research, dogs possess the ability to know the health status of their owner. They can tell when you’re sick or under the weather.

When a person gets sick, certain chemical changes occur in their body. A dog can detect these changes with their sense of smell.

According to science, sickness reduces happy receptors and hormones like oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine in humans. With your dog’s ability to detect these changes, he will try to do whatever to make you feel better.

Dogs have the habit of licking the scraped or sore part of a fellow dog; they do this to make the other dog feel less pain. If your dog licks you when you’re sick, he’s doing what he thinks is best for you.

Hence, if your face is the target of your dog’s licking habit, there’s a high chance that your dog has detected a change in your facial expression. He’s trying to make you feel better by licking your face.

He Wants Your Attention

Dogs are attention seekers. 

You’ve heard the advice a million times

If your dog has always been showered with lots of attention, there’s a high chance he will grow up seeking more.

When you’re sick, the amount of attention you give to your dog will tend to reduce. As a lover of attention, your dog will notice this slight reduction.

To get back your attention, he may resort to licking you. Your dog must have noticed that licking you would bring out certain reactions like laughter and petting from you. Hence, this encourages his behavior.

Have you been feeding your dog with less attention since you became ill? If yes, then it’s very likely that his licking behavior is due to the lack of attention to him.

He is Showing affection

When you get sick, your dog will notice a reduction in your happy hormones. They can sense your sad emotions and detect facial cues pointing to the fact that you are sick.

Since they cannot cure your illness, most dogs resort to reminding you of their love. Dogs tend to reciprocate this action by licking you just like you kiss a loved one when they’re sick.

Licking is a dog’s love language. They learn this habit from a young age. When a mother dog licks her puppies, not only is she displaying affection, but she’s also teaching them to show affection in the same way to others.

So if your dog licks you so much when you’re sick, there’s a high chance that he’s only showing affection to make you better.

He Likes Your Taste

Taking medications when sick can change the taste of your sweats. When you take drugs, they get excreted in various ways.

Most drugs get excreted through urines, while others are excreted in sweat or saliva.

If your dog likes to lick your body when you’re sick, there’s a high chance he likes the taste of the metabolized drugs that come out as sweats.

Sweating is one of the symptoms you may experience when you have a fever. Since sweats have a salty taste, it could be that your dog loves this taste, hence the reason for his excessive licking habit.

Wants To Lower Your Stress Level

Dogs can detect when you are not yourself. They can notice a slight change in your emotions and try their best to adjust to your new mood.

If your dog licks parts of your body when you’re sick, it could be that he wants to make you feel better and lower your stress level. In an attempt to do this, he may resort to licking your body.

According to various research, when a dog licks himself or a person, pleasure-causing endorphins get released to their brain. These endorphins cause a dog to stay happy and active. Since your dog derives pleasure from licking you, he may think you derive the same pleasure from his actions.

Your dog’s action of licking you can be beneficial to your health. When you interact with your dog, your brain will increase its production of chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, and serotonin. These chemicals can elevate your mood and health.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder in dogs, also known as canine-compulsive disorder (CCD) is another reason why your dog licks you when you feel sick. This disorder is identified when a dog carries out behavior excessively and repetitively.

Suppose your dog’s habit of licking your body when you’re sick becomes extreme and repetitive. In that case, it could be a result of his obsessive-compulsive behavior.

It could also be that he is addicted to your salty sweats or the endorphins released to his brain when he licks your body. This addiction can become extreme and turn into an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

If your dog suffers from CCD, he will repeat his licking behavior regardless of your health status. It may be a coincidence that he developed his licking habit when you were sick.

How To Stop Your Dog’s Licking Habit

As kissing is to humans, so is licking to dogs. There’s nothing wrong with the behavior. It’s only a problem if you’re comfortable with the act.

Here are some ways to stop your dog from licking any part of your body:

Distract Him: Whenever your dog starts to lick a part of your body, you can stop his behavior by distracting him with a toy. Do not encourage his behavior by laughing or petting him.

Move Away From Him: According to some dog experts, a hostile or positive reaction to a dog’s bad habit can encourage the behavior. If your dog keeps licking your body, the best way to stop him is to move away from him.

Bath Regularly: If your dog licks your body due to his addiction to your salty sweat, one way to stop his behavior is by bathing regularly.

Training: If you train your dog to obey the “STOP” or “SIT” command, you can successfully get him to stop his licking behavior whenever he begins it.

Consistency is the key to stopping your dog’s bad habits. If you consistently follow the above instructions, your dog will stop his habit in no time.

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