Dogs have some very odd habits; this includes the desire to lick your feet for hours. Dogs do it before sleeping, sometimes in the morning, and other when you get out of the shower. Whether you hate it or secretly enjoy it, here’s why your dog likes to lick your feet so much.
Your dog likes to lick your feet for reasons including an expression of love towards you, for attention, being playful, it comforts them, to groom you, or they like the taste of your skin and sweat which can be salty. If your dog’s feet-licking habit turns into an obsession there are ways to stop it.
Keeping reading as I unravel all the reasons behind this seemingly nonstop awkward behavior of a dog obsessed with feet. And if you are among those who find your dog’s feet-licking habit unappealing, ideas on how to stop it are below – because it can, in rare cases, be bad for dogs to lick your feet.
Why does my dog lick my feet for hours?
Living with a dog means witnessing both their sweet and weird side. Like every other dog parent, you can attest that our canine pals have some odd behaviors. One of them — licking human feet.
If you own a foot licker, they won’t care how dirty your feet are. They will lick them anyway whether you have had a shower or not.
That said, here are other fascinating reasons why your dog just can’t keep their tongue away from your feet – if your dog is obsessed with your feet, here’s why.
1. It’s part of their love language
Dogs show us affection in different ways. One way is through intimate yet submissive gestures like licking your feet and legs (or even your nose).
If your dog licks your feet so much and you don’t know why, he may be expressing his submissiveness to you as his pack leader and reaffirming his love for you.
It also makes them feel good. As they lick your feet, their body releases lots of the “love hormone” called oxytocin.
Those fuzzy feelings your dog experiences courtesy of oxytocin remind them of the bond you two share. And there’s probably nowhere else they’d rather be at that time than at your feet.
2. It’s an attention-seeking tactic
Your dog may be licking your feet for hours because they’ve missed spending time with you. And sometimes, whining or barking all the time isn’t what they want to do to win your attention.
Instead your dog will resort to licking your feet nonstop until you decide to notice them and give them your time.
3. It’s a soothing action
When dogs are anxious or unwell, they’ll seek comfort from you because they trust you.
You can know whether your dog’s feet-licking behavior is a response to anxiety if it’s accompanied by other signs of stress like constant whining and unusual body language.
Your dog probably feels a calming effect when they lick your feet. It soothes them.
But always remember to contact your vet if you notice any anxiety symptoms. Licking your feet won’t take away the underlying cause of furry pal’s anxiety.
4. They are being investigative
Our dogs are fascinated by strong smells. If your feet are sweaty, your dog will be attracted to the scent of pheromones in your sweat. They might also be licking other parts of your body, such as your arm – does it happen after you’ve plated sports?
Pheromones are chemical scents hidden in secretions like sweat.
Our human noses can’t smell these chemicals, but dogs can. All thanks to their powerful noses. They can smell and process information about you based on the pheromones your sweaty feet release.
As they lick your feet, they’re getting to know more about your mood, diet, stress levels, and more. So yes, your dog sees your sweaty feet as a data source.
They also find the salty taste of your feet’s sweat yummy.
If they love licking your feet whenever you get out of the shower, they’re probably curious about the water droplets on your feet or the unusual scent of your body wash.
They take on the investigative role by through licking your feet.
Handy Hint: Some dogs like to lick newborn babies that come into the house. Do not let your dog do this, and here’s why.
5. It’s a playful act
If your dog is in the mood to play before bed, they might start licking your feet before sleeping to initiate playtime. And when you move your feet away, they may think that’s a cue that their play request has been granted.
They may draw their mouth closer to your feet and lick some more.
Try to tire your dog out before bedtime.
6. You’re unknowingly encouraging the habit
Your dog can be obsessed with your feet. However, how you react can make this obsession continue rather than stop.
For example, if they see you almost having a belly laugh as they lick your feet, they’ll interpret that as “please continue, I don’t mind”. Any chance they get to sit at your feet may end up being a licking fest.
7. It’s a grooming instinct
Dogs have a reputation for grooming their canine mates through licking. And sometimes, they’ll extend their grooming services to their owners.
Since your feet are easily within your dog’s reach, he might choose to groom them the best way he knows how — licking.
Handy Hint: If your dog is licking his own paws obsessively this could lead to an infection. Here’s how you can prevent them licking their own feet.
Is it bad for your dog to lick your feet?
Whilst the obsessive licking of your feet is usually a harmless act from your dog, there are situations where you shouldn’t let him do it. Not just for the sake of your health, but also that of your dog’s.
For example, it is bad for your dog to lick your feet when you have an open wound on your feet. Don’t let your dog lick your feet if you have any form of cut. Their saliva has harmful bacteria that can enter your body through broken skin.
Another thing. If you’ve applied any ointment on your feet, don’t let your dog lick you. Some topical creams aren’t dog friendly. Your dog might get sick from licking the foot ointment.
There are cases where a dog’s foot-licking behavior can turn into an aggressive foot fetish. For instance, intense licking that’s accompanied by biting and even growling if you move your feet away.
Or maybe your dog has completely taken away the joy of moving around the house barefoot. They just can’t stop licking your feet no matter how often you warn them. If it comes to this, consider speaking to your vet.
How to stop your dog licking your feet
If you don’t enjoy your dog’s licking habit (even though they may be doing it out of love), you’re not alone. Some dog parents hate the ticklish effect on their feet or are simply grossed out by the act.
Here are a few ideas to stop your dog from licking your feet.
- Hand them toys to distract them: When you see your dog reaching for your feet, toss their favorite toy away from where you are. And if they go after the toy, praise them to let them know they’ve done the right thing getting away from your leg.
- Use treats too: Accompany commands like “no, stop“ with a treat. That way, they’ll know that not licking your feet is important since it can get them a treat reward.
- Walk away (for a few seconds) anytime they start licking your feet: In due time, they will learn that you don’t entertain the habit and that they’ll miss out on your presence each time they do it.
Handy Hint: If you have a dog licking the floor, this signifies a different problem, and could be quite serious.
FAQs on obsessive foot licking
Why does my dog lick my feet all the time?
There are various reasons why your dog licks your feet all the time. It may be an expression of love, a sign of anxiety, an attention-seeking act, it’s soothing for them, or they are investigating the smells on your feet, among others.
Why does my dog lick my feet when I get out of the shower?
The possible reason is that your dog is trying to satisfy their curiosity. They are probably licking your feet to investigate the water droplets or the scent of your body wash on your feet.
Why does my dog lick my feet and ankles?
It’s normal for dogs to lick their owner’s feet and ankles. Your dog is probably trying to be playful, seek your attention, find comfort if they are feeling anxious, show you affection, or groom you, among other reasons.
We see our furry friends do it all the time — licking our feet when we get out of the shower, return home from the gym, take a nap, or while we chill on the couch. If you can relate to this then I hope this advice has helped.
Similar to other strange canine habits, licking people’s feet is a completely normal behavior in dogs. If you’re worried there’s something wrong with your furry friend, don’t be. Licking your feet simply comes naturally to them.
Think of it as an urge they feel whenever they see your feet, and they can’t resist it.