This could be the reason why your dog gets hiccups

We love our dogs, but they can be really weirdos. Some of the things they do are a mystery to us. But once you understand why dogs do what they do, their behavior usually makes sense.

If you have a dog or have ever been around a dog for more than two minutes, you probably know that dogs love to lick. They lick anything and everything, like our clothes or our face. They also like to lick other dogs’ mouths. But why?

According to the vet experts, dog licking falls roughly into two categories: behavioral and medical. Licking other dogs’ mouths falls into the behavioral category and there are several reasons why dogs do it.

Why puppies lick

When a puppy licks its mother’s mouth, it is usually a sign that it wants to be fed. In the wild, puppies lick their mother’s mouth when she has just returned from the hunt, with a belly full of meat. The licking signals the mother to regurgitate some of the pre-digested food to feed her hungry puppies. Unappetizing, but useful.

Domestic puppies that have been switched to solid foods will exhibit the same behavior and results. The licking is the submissive behavior of the puppy which means something like ‘please take care of me’.

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Why Adult Dogs Lick Other Dogs

A version of this puppy-like behavior sometimes continues into adulthood. There are several reasons why adult dogs lick another dog’s mouth:

Surrender

An adult dog may lick another dog’s mouth to show submission. In other words, he wants to say, “You’re the boss and I won’t hurt you.”

When a dog encounters a peer he respects very much, he may lick that dog’s mouth to show respect. This is especially true if the licking dog approaches the other dog from under the chin.

When the “respected” dog licks back, it shows that all is well and that it accepts the submission of the other.

In nature, more submissive members of the pack lick the more dominant members of the pack to show their respect. This behavior is important for harmony within the pack.

Playfulness

Your dog may also lick another dog’s mouth to indicate that he wants to play. He can do that with dogs he meets for the first time, as well as dogs he already knows and likes. If the goal is to play, your dog can lick the other dog’s mouth and assume that cute play position: butt in the air and front paws on the ground. This attitude is a universal sign that a dog wants to play. This, along with mouth licking, is your dog’s way of saying, “I’m nice, let’s go play!”

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Affection and socialization

Sometimes dogs lick to show affection. That is the case when they lick us or when they lick other dogs.

Licking is also a way for dogs to relax and socialize. According to dog trainer Victoria Stilwell, licking releases endorphins that give both the licking dog and the recipient a pleasant feeling. Mutual licking helps dogs to socialize. Wild dogs may lick their pack mates to secure their place in the pack, which is essential for survival. Domestic dogs obviously don’t need a pack to survive, but that instinct is still there.

Many mammals lick and groom each other as a means of socializing and preserving group hierarchy. Martin Gaus, author of Dog Language Is Body Language: Understand Exactly What Your Dog ‘Says’ on Dog Manners: Learn to Understand Your Dog Better writes that dogs enjoy cooperation and are masters at keeping the peace.

Flickr / @Cathie V

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Conclusion

Don’t worry if your dog likes to lick other dogs’ mouths. We may think it’s weird, but for your dog, it’s a way to show kindness, affection or submission. Whatever the reason for dogs to lick each other’s mouths, it’s never a bad sign. It is always a sign that they have no evil intentions. And of course, it is very touching.

If your favorite wagging family member needs someone to take care of them when you’re not around or if you could use some help, you’ll find the perfect match at Rover.com. We have many fantastic dog walkers and dog sitters throughout the Netherlands. Many of them also offer doggy daycare.

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