Every time I step out from a shower, my pup waits to give my legs a good lick or scampers towards the bathroom as he hears the water turn off. While it doesn’t bother me, other people living in our house aren’t thrilled. Luckily, he’s just seven months old and that notorious doggy odour doesn’t yet taint his breath.
I believe that my dog uses this licking routine to express his affection. Perhaps he’s also attempting to help dry me off or expressing empathy. Nevertheless, several theories explain why our canine companions feel the urge to lick our legs.
It would be best if you didn’t disregard your dog’s behaviour, but simultaneously, you might question whether this action is typical. To shed more light on the subject, continue reading this post. I delve into other theories that might provide a clearer insight into your pet’s behaviour.
12 Theories Why A dog Licks Your Legs After A Shower
There could be several reasons if your dog is like mine and licking you after a shower. Let’s look at it, and these also are possible reasons for getting out of the bath.
- Smell and Taste: It’s a known fact that dogs love to lick something that smells and tastes good. So a likely reason for a dog to lick your leg is that they like your smell and taste. This is more likely to happen when you put on a particular cream or lotion after a shower. Your dog loves the smell and taste of the products you put on.
- Cream Removal: Another possibility is that your dog wants to remove the cream or lotion you have applied. Perhaps your dog doesn’t like it and thinks you don’t, so it may be trying to remove the products from your legs.
- Affection: Licking is equivalent to human kisses. So if your dog is licking your legs, it could signify their love towards you. They are likelier to lick you as they are very comfortable with you. It also helps them to bond with you very quickly.
- Help Dry You: Dogs know that you will towel dry them after they are bathed. In return, they will try to dry you by licking you.
- Showing Sympathy: Dogs can easily know your mood. They know when you are upset or sad. They will start licking your legs as they want to make you feel better. They will do so to make you feel happy and not sad. At times, this type of behaviour is very comforting.
- Understanding: Some dogs don’t like baths, and mine is one of them. They might lick your leg to comfort you since they know the bath or shower is a stressful process for you, too.
- Family Member: Possible leg licking is that your dog considers you a part of their family. They think that they have to clean you up as well.
- Submissive Behavior: The licking of legs by your dog could be submissive behaviour. By licking their legs, dogs try to show their submissiveness. Younger pack members lick the dominant members in the wild to maintain harmony. But for dogs, submission is a way of showing respect to their owners. They consider you or their owners as the leader of the packs.
- Loves Water: Some dogs love water. They love to play with puddles filled with rainwater. So when they see water droplets on your body, they lick them immediately.
- Oxytocin: Dogs that lick their owners experience a high level of oxytocin release. These feel-good hormones are the special bond between dogs and humans. If you want to learn more about Oxytocin, I have written an article about it here.
- Attention Seeking: Dogs love attention, especially from their owners. The bond between a dog and a human is extraordinary. They love the soft talking and the cuddles. The leg licking could be a way to grab your attention.
- Cheekiness: Some dogs have cheeky personalities; perhaps you laugh, jump, or are ticklish. Your reaction behaviour can encourage your dog to continue to lick you more and have fun in the meantime.
Should You Be Concerned About Your Dog’s Licking?
Dogs learn through their mouths. Like tail wagging, licking is also a standard behaviour of dogs. However, if they do it excessively, you should be concerned about your dog’s licking behaviour. There is nothing to worry about for most dogs, but some excessive licking could be a sign of more severe issues like allergies, anxiety, and even pain. So, consult a vet immediately if you see your dog licking you excessively or themselves.
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Should you allow your dog to lick your legs?
Now, whether you should allow a dog to lick your legs after taking a shower or bath would depend on certain things. If you haven’t applied any moisturizing lotions or cream on your body, you can allow your dog to lick your legs. Water won’t cause any harm to your dog. But in case you have put some lotion on your body, including your legs, then make sure they don’t lick it off.
Lotions and creams contain ingredients that are toxic for dogs. Hence, your dog might develop issues like an upset stomach, increased thirst, panting, vomiting, diarrhoea, and even increased urination. So, when you see any of these signs in your dog, consult a vet immediately.
Training Your Dog Not to Lick You
You can train your dog so that they don’t lick you after a shower. To do so, you must ignore them after taking a shower or bath. Whenever they try to lick you, leave the room.
Don’t give them much attention, or you can say ‘No’ when they come to lick you.
It would be best to do these repeatedly; your dog will know you do not like their licking. This way, they would stop licking you all time. If all these measures fail, you should try to give them a toy to play with or, better still, keep the bathroom door shut until you are dry and dressed.
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I hope this helps you understand why your dog might lick your legs after you’ve had a shower or bath. There are many guesses on why dogs do this. It might even be for more than one reason. No matter why, it’s clear that dogs enjoy doing it.