April 16, 2023

The Benefits of Licking Your Dog

benefits of licking

Licking is a natural behavior that animals have developed for self-soothing and healing purposes. It’s often seen in mice, ants, and other small mammals who apply their saliva to scratches and scrapes.

It’s also a common way to sooth irritated skin and keep a wound clean, says Dr. Benjamin Hart, a retired veterinarian and professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis.

A dog’s saliva is antibacterial, killing bacteria like Streptococcus canis that cause infections in people and rodents, according to Hart. It also promotes tissue and nerve growth that speeds up wound healing, he says.

Excessive licking may be an indicator of pain, itchiness, or anxiety that needs to be addressed by your vet. A vet can prescribe medication to soothe your pet, or you can help it by taking steps to sooth the itch and minimize noises that make your pet uncomfortable.

Boredom is a main cause of destructive behaviors, so you can redirect your pet’s energy by giving them something to chew or lick that will provide a mental distraction. A lick mat will provide that, and it also works as a boredom buster for your dog while you’re in the car on trips to the vet or groomer.

Licking can also release endorphins, which can calm your dog’s brain and reduce stress. It’s a great way to show your love and affection and let your furry pal know that you are always there for them.


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