Does Your Dog Lick Your Feet? Here's What It Means

·2 min read

All dog owners have been there. You're just relaxing on your sofa or eating a muffin at your breakfast table and, suddenly, your foot is getting a bath. Dogs love to lick feet. My childhood Welsh corgi was such an ardent toe licker that we kids took to calling them "Welsh foot baths." While some people love the attention, other folks hate the licking, especially if they are ticklish. So why are dogs such big fans of feet? Turns out they have a pretty good reason for it (although you can still politely ask them to stop).

Dogs use licking to communicate (well, hello!) and to interact with their worlds. According to the American Kennel Club, dogs have an organ that humans don't. It's called the Jacobson's organ and it connects the nasal cavity to the roof of his mouth and lets your pup taste and smell at the same time to gather maximum information about their environment.

Licking is also one way that dogs show affection, like when a mother dog licks her pups. Dogs may also use their tongues to show submission or express anxiety, so when they take a shine to your foot, it's a way of checking in.

As for why they prefer feet, well, they are close to the ground where your dog most likely spends the majority of their time. Plus, no offense, but they may be slightly stinky or sweaty, both of which dogs love. As the AKC notes, "sweat also contains salt, which many dogs find appealing."

If the licking is bothersome, don't reprimand the dog, but instead distract them from their mission with a treat. If you need a refresher on positive reinforcement training, try these six easy tips or talk to your vet or consult a trainer to stop that foot bath before it starts.

Cocker Spaniel Puppy Close Up
Cocker Spaniel Puppy Close Up

Getty/Busybee-CR

Now, if your dog spends a lot of time licking their own feet, according to Daily Paws, this may be normal grooming or a sign of anxiety, an injury, or perhaps allergies. If the paw licking continues, you may want to consult a vet.