Whenever I step out of the shower, my dog is either waiting to lick my legs or is en route to the bathroom when he hears the shower switch off. I personally don’t mind it, but other family members in my household aren’t too keen. Lucky for me, he is just a puppy at the moment, at seven months old, so he hasn’t got that bad dog breath yet.
I think my dog licks my legs to show his affection. He might also be trying to dry me off or showing sympathy. However, there are other theories about why dogs lick people’s legs.
While you can’t ignore your dog, at the same time, you might wonder if this behaviour of your dog is normal or not. To know more about this, keep on reading this post. I have other theories that might be best suited to your dog.
12 Theories Why A dog Licks Your Legs After A Shower
If your dog is like mine and licking you after a shower, there could be several reasons. Let’s take a look at it, and these also are possible reasons went 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 the smell and taste of you. 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 that you have applied. Perhaps your dog doesn’t like it and thinks you don’t either, so your dog 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 be a sign of their affection towards you. They are more likely to lick you as they are very comfortable with you. It also helps them to bond with you very easily.
- Help Dry You: Dogs know that after they are bathed, you will towel dry them. 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 as a way to comfort you since they know the bath or shower is a stressful process for you also.
- 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 legs, dogs try to show their submissiveness. In the wild, younger pack members lick the dominant members 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 straight away.
- 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 are interested to learn more about Oxytocin, I have written an article all 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, and perhaps you laugh, jump or are ticklish. This reaction behaviour from you 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, you should be concerned about your dog’s licking behaviour if they do it excessively. 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, if you see your dog licking you excessively or themselves, consult a vet immediately.
Recommended Read: Human Products That You Can And Cannot Use On Dogs
Should you allow your dog to lick your legs?
Now, coming to the question, 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, the moment 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 will need to 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, and your dog will know that 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 your dry and dressed.
Recommended Read: Why Does My Dog Hump Me?
I hope the above has given you an idea of why your dog may lick your legs after a shower or bath. As you can see, there are many theories about why dogs lick their owners’ legs. Perhaps it’s more than one of the reasons why your dog does. Whatever the reason may be, it’s clear that dogs find this behaviour pleasurable.