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Why Do Labradors Lick So Much?

At A Glance

Labradors lick to express love, affection, and also to groom. At times, it might also be due to some injury, boredom, or pain. You can give your labrador lots of toys and exercise reduce the licking habit. Do not reward the behavior, and visit the vet to check for other serious issues.

Last Updated on: Jun 28, 2022

Labradors are playful, loving, and very energetic. They display this energy out on the field and to show you their affection. Your Lab may run to you and lick your face when you return home after a long day. But if your Labrador is licking too much, is it normal?

Why do labs lick so much? Licking is a part of a dog’s natural habits and instincts. They do it for many reasons, but it might also be a learned behavior. Dogs licking their owners is a common sight. Some dogs tend to lick more than others. Labradors top this category!

This article will help you understand the causes and cures.

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What Does It Mean When A Dog Licks You?

A man lying on a sheet at the ground while his labrador is licking his face
Dogs are extremely affectionate creatures. They may lick you to show some love or they may lick to express submission or to communicate with you.

However, licking might also mean that they are trying to convey something important.

For example, if your dog begins to lick your hands or some other body part more than usual, it might be telling you to look around if something’s wrong. It may not mean the same thing at all times. So observe their behavior carefully.

Mothers lick their pups when they are born. They do this to clean their pups and express love. This practice of licking and being licked releases endorphins, also known as “feel-good hormones.” These hormones offer pleasure and comfort to your dog. It is also a natural treatment for their anxiety. So, you will often find highly-strung dogs resorting to licking when they are nervous. They may also exhibit licking behavior when threatened or bored.

Common Reasons For Licking

Dogs may lick out of habit or due to medical reasons. However, it does not usually signal a serious illness. Labradors may lick to groom themselves or you!

Dogs lick as they enjoy the salty taste of human skin, to express affection, and also out of habit and boredom.

Licking also proves to be soothing to some dogs just like a relaxing massage.

Dogs lick your hands and feet because their noses cannot stay calm. Your hands and feet offer interesting smells and tastes. This attracts your dog’s attention, and it begins to lick them.
Your dog may also lick itself if it is injured. It may lick the wounded area to soothe the pain.

Why do Labradors lick their paws?

Dogs usually lick their paws to get rid of dirt and dead skin cells. Their saliva is known to be a little antiseptic, which can help to prevent infection. However, constantly licking one or more paws signals something worrisome.

The paws are a common spot for injuries, ranging from small punctures to hurting pads while out running. Similarly, the area between their toes is an easy spot for fungal infections. They may also experience plant or chemical allergies.

However, most of their licking is just part of their natural behavior. You might be surprised to learn that a lower-ranking dog may lick a higher-ranking, dominant dog to submission.

Dogs also sniff and lick each other’s rear ends to pick up pheromones for mating.


Is It Normal For It To Lick So Much?

No. Licking is a natural instinct for dogs in many situations. Affection, grooming, pain, injury, and boredom are all causes for dog licking. While it is normal for your Lab to lick you all over the face, you must understand and examine the cause for excessive licking.

A woman sitting while her dog is licking her face with a mountain background

How To Get Your Labrador To Stop Licking?

While licking comes naturally to dogs, excessive licking is a concern.

As discussed above, licking is not always a sign of love and affection. It could also indicate a problem that might require your vet’s interference.

Here are some ways to tackle your lab’s excessive licking behavior.

  • Do Not Reward Or Appreciate It : Display disinterest. Do not reward it with your attention. This will help your lab realize that licking is not a desired or accepted behavior. Gradually, it will reduce the licking. Ignorance is a powerful tool to help you teach your dog to stop.
  • Give Some Toys : Dogs might lick to relieve boredom or anxiety. So, give your dog some toys to distract them.
  • Give It Lots Of Exercises : Exercising will make your Labrador less hyperactive. All lab parents must provide their labs with at least 30 minutes of exercise per day to keep them happy and healthy.
  • Vet Visits : Is the licking getting too much or annoying you? Are you unable to unable to figure out why your lab cannot stop licking? It is probably because there is a serious problem. In these cases, it is best to visit your vet and get the lab examined on time.
  • Be Patient : All dogs learn at their own pace. Your lab may not stop licking in a day or two. Stick to your training and responses. You will be able to see better results over time.


A man kneeling down while his labrador is licking his face at a grass field

Dogs use their tongues for various reasons. It is part of their natural behavior. Do not encourage licking behavior, but at the same time, do not ignore it completely.

Dogs display affection by licking. Completely preventing them from doing so can make them feel unwanted. It is especially true for Labradors.

So be wise when deciding your response to your dog’s licking behavior.

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Meet Paul, a devoted dog dad to the delightful French Bulldog, Cofi. With a flair for humor and a deep understanding of Frenchie quirks, Paul brings a lighthearted touch to his writings. His relatable stories and practical insights are a blend of laughter and valuable advice and resonate with fellow dog owners.

Through his words, Paul aims to celebrate the joys and challenges of being a dedicated pet parent, reminding you that life is simply better with a four-legged, snorting sidekick by your side.