Puppies love to lick everything and everyone they can. There is no end to what they’ll lick, including your feet. It seems kind of strange, right? So why do puppies do this? Well, here is everything you are going to want to know.
So, why does my puppy lick my feet? Dogs lick your feet for many reasons, including seeking attention, because of comfort, or they like the taste. In most cases, your puppy licking your feet is completely harmless, but there is still is the possibility of them becoming ill.
Being curious about why your puppy is licking your feet and if it’s safe is a perfectly normal question to ask.
Besides, I remember when my puppy seemed to be doing this at every given opportunity.
I just couldn’t understand it at first.
But it actually makes sense when you delve into the reasons behind it.
So let’s get into it!
Reasons Why Puppies May Lick Your Feet?
Puppies may lick your feet if they want your attention, or they simply enjoy the smells and taste your feet give off. Other reasons include licking to show submission, as a source of comfort, or telling you something is wrong.
Puppies are curious souls, and all dogs (no matter age or breed) explore the world around them through their sense of smell and taste.
Interestingly, dogs contain an additional organ called the Jacobson’s Organ that allows them to smell and taste at the same time.
This means they can smell and taste anywhere between 10,000 to 100,000 times more than humans can.
What might smell disgusting or bland to us might be full of scents for your puppy to decipher.
They Want Your Attention
Puppies crave your attention, no matter what form it comes in.
Licking your feet is one of the easiest ways to get your attention, especially if you’re ticklish.
If you usually react positively with a laugh or giggle, your puppy knows that this behavior is making you happy.
And then they’ll keep repeating it to make sure you stay that way.
Even if you react negatively, with a frustrating no or a gentle push away, it’s still attention.
And so, your puppy will keep at it even if it’s not a happy reaction they’re getting from you.
No matter the reaction, your puppy will see this attention as a good thing and interpret it as a game.
By licking your feet, they usually are trying to encourage you to play with them. Or to get up on your feet to give them a treat or a walk.
They Like the Taste
Some puppies find the weirdest taste to like, and human feet are no different.
Whereas you might think your feet don’t seem appealing after a day being on them doesn’t mean your puppy does.
Even if you keep your feet immaculately clean, they still excrete pheromones and salt throughout the day.
If you notice that your puppy seems to prefer licking you straight after a shower or bath, it could be down to the lotions or soap you use during or afterward.
These products usually have fragrant elements to them that your puppy likes the smell and taste of.
Or they lick at your feet after you’ve bathed to get your natural scent back quickly. Dogs are known to rub against surfaces after a bath to get their own familiar scent back.
So, it makes sense your puppy is doing the same with you.
If your puppy is licking your feet, it could be a sign of submission. They are licking to let you know that you’re the alpha, and they know this.
Licking is a part of grooming, and grooming is an important bonding behavior in wild dogs.
This behavior is still seen in domesticated dogs and just reaffirms the social order of the pack.
For some small breeds, it’s hard to get enough access to your face to lick you there. So, they compromise and lick your feet to reinforce your leadership status in your household.
Plus, it’s harder for you to deter them from your feet than your face.
Showing submission is a complimentary behavior as they’re telling you that you’re better in social ranking than them.
Be mindful not to scold them if this is the reason for feet licking, as it’s confusing and upsetting for your puppy.
A Sign of Comfort
When a puppy licks someone, they release positive hormones in their bodies. These endorphins help calm and soothe stressed and anxious dogs.
Puppies can become anxious for many reasons, and some breeds are more prone to anxiety and stress than others, especially separation anxiety.
They fear that you won’t return to them after being out of the home.
Your puppy might lick everything around them when they sense you’re about to leave or when they’re frightened to help soothe this fear.
And in the case of you returning home after a long day, they’ll lick to you to comfort themselves by the act itself as well as the reassuring smell and taste from your feet.
Something Is Wrong
Although your puppy might be licking your feet to help soothe them after an anxious event, it could also be an indicator of something a little more sinister going on.
Licking your feet, especially if they’re sweaty, could be a sign that your puppy is lacking key nutrients and minerals (like salt) from their diet.
When a dog is malnourished, they’ll do its best to find any source of it, no matter how unusual. And that includes your feet.
It might be a sign that your dog is unwell if this licking behavior is new. Puppies lick to try to help ease digestive issues, usually by making themselves vomit.
If you notice your puppy lip-smacking and seemingly less food inclined, an underlying condition or stomach upset could be the cause.
Without being careful, excessive licking can become an obsessive-compulsive behavior. When it comes to curbing this behavior, usual training techniques may not work.
If this is the case, you’ll most likely need the help of a vet or behaviorist to help your puppy to stop licking your feet. And any other place or thing they obsessively lick.
They will help work to find out the source of this behavior. It may be from a recent change of routine, change of diet, or because of illness.
Is It Bad For Your Puppy To Lick Your Feet?
Generally, it’s harmless when your puppy licks your feet. However, it’s important to be aware of what products you might use on your legs and feet. And be mindful of some illnesses puppies might contract from feet licking.
When it becomes routine, you may forget the ingredients of the products you use on your body and feet.
If your puppy is licking your feet, make sure to check your foot products for ingredients that are poisonous to dogs.
This doesn’t only mean medicated items like psoriasis creams or foot treatment ointments.
It could also be particularly scented natural products such as peppermint-infused lotions.
If you don’t mind your puppy licking your feet, it might be worth investing in dog-safe products, so make sure your puppy stays healthy as well as your feet.
Although it’s very uncommon for puppies to get infections and diseases from our feet, it still can happen.
Whether you know it or not, your body could be carrying different bugs or parasites. These will be excreted from your body through your sweat glands.
And then easily transmitted to your puppy.
Some common illnesses that can be transmitted are the flu and giardia.
Although these aren’t typically transmitted, it’s important to be aware that it is possible for your puppy to contract them.
How Do You Stop Your Puppy from Licking Your Feet?
The best way to stop your puppy from feet licking is to stay unresponsive to their licks and to use positive reinforcement training along with distraction techniques.
Teaching your puppy to stop licking your feet can take some time, so you may need some short-term solutions to help deter them while they learn to stop completely.
If you like to be barefoot around the house, you could invest in a pair of comfortable pair of slippers to block your puppy’s access from your feet.
Additionally, after working out, it’s normal to let yourself cool down before showering.
This workout swear can be a massive draw for your puppy. So, keeping your socks on or feet covered until you shower is the best option here.
Lasting solutions to stop your puppy from licking your feet include consistent training and distraction techniques.
Your puppy needs to learn that this is an undesired behavior.
It can be difficult to stay unresponsive to their licks, especially if you’re ticklish but all you need to do is move your feet away.
Whenever your puppy moves to lick your feet, say ‘no’ and move your feet away, out of their reach.
Be calm and firm in your tone, so your puppy learns that this is bad behavior.
Once they follow your command, make sure to reward them with treats and lots of attention for behaving well.
Staying consistent with this technique will teach your puppy to stop.
You can also distract your dog with a favorite toy or your focused attention whenever they start to go for your feet.
This will divert their attention away from your feet and keep them engaged in more favorable things.
A puppy licking your feet can be a cute and ticklish behavior.
Luckily, there’s no harm with them licking your feet if you don’t mind those tingles.
However, if you’d prefer them not to lick your feet, some simple corrective, consistent training will stop your puppy from feet licking quickly.
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I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.