Dogs perform the strangest of things, and also much of their habits is reasonably easy to explain. However there are details things which no so basic to understand. Because that example, my dog freshly started come sniff at lick in ~ my eyes. He likewise wanted come lick my son’s confront when he was crying.

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I decided to research why dogs like to lick eyes, and also believe I have the most an extensive of price you have the right to expect come find. Here’s the brief answer first, followed by the research and also studies.

Why does mine dog lick mine eyes? Dogs lick your eyes for reasons as diverse liking the braided taste as soon as you cry, being affectionate, grooming you, obsessive compulsive disorder, or even a medical problems relating to continuous licking.

Why does my dog lick mine eyes, nose, and ears?

Dog licking is usually taken as an expression the affection. However, it has likewise been attributed come medical conditions such together allergies, infections, breed-related hereditary predisposition, and gastrointestinal diseases.

Studies have additionally shown that dogs lick eyes, ears, and also noses early out to behavior reasons consisting of anxiety, stress, boredom, or obsessive-compulsive disorders.

While many pet owners tolerate a certain amount of dog licking, there room documented instances of major illness arising from dog to human transmission and also thus, this practice have to be avoided.

For example, as soon as my dog desires to lick my son’s eyes once he to be crying, I easily put a stop to the – simply the same as I would certainly with any kind of young kid as dog saliva have the right to be harmful.

1. Your small breed dogs is much more likely to lick eyes

I offered to own an American Pitbull Terrier, Barry, who weighed 31 kg. He was a huge dog and prefers come amuse himself by chewing objects, digging holes and burying his toys, chasing cats… he would never ever want come lick our eyes, even when we were crying.

We now have actually a smaller dog, a Frenchie. This dog does choose to lick eye, and research argues this might not be together unusual.

Small dog are much more of the licking kind. In a research on the influence of dimension on undesirable habits of domestic dogs, small dogs much more frequently displayed exaggerated jumping-up top top owners as soon as they come back. This included barking as soon as left alone, barking insistently once not alone, and also licking insistently the mouth and also other parts of their owner’s body.

Although her dog can not appear to it is in a licker, girlfriend still can get this with bigger dogs. Because that example, i remember through Barry when I would certainly cuddle as much as hear close to his face… that was till he grounding his out tongue and attempts come lick me.

Aside native size, part dog breeds have actually been identified as having a bias to the licking behavior. One study on the English Bulldog reported the they commonly exhibit licking of the body and mouth the the owner, i m sorry can additionally include eyes.

2. Your dog licks your eyes due to wanting to groom you

When her dog licks her eyes, it could be regarded as a common grooming activity. Yet it could likewise be a pathologic habits if done repetitively or incessantly to the allude of resulting in discomfort come the owner.

This relates back to their fill mentality. It’s viewed in so many dog actions such as them wanting come sleep on optimal of you, or complying with you around the home.

Your dog will favor to lick her eye together a type of grooming girlfriend (Image license is granted from

3. Your dog licks her eyes due to canine OCD

There is a farming body the research exploring the incident of obsessive-compulsive actions manifesting as too much licking in dogs. Two examples are too much licking of paws bring about canine lick granuloma, and excessive licking the surfaces.

Canine lick granuloma, likewise known together Acral Lick Dermatitis (ALD), is the development of well-delineated, bald, thickened, or abraded areas of the skin that the paw, almost everywhere from the foot to the elbow, as result of excessive licking.

Dog breeds predisposed to this condition include Doberman Pinscher, Labrador Retriever, gold retriever, an excellent Dane, Boxer, Weimaraner, and also Irish Setter (view research source).

You might think what go that need to do through you. Well, dogs v this OCD have been known to lick their owners more, and also that can extend to the eyes.

4. Your dog licks your eyes as result of a clinical condition

The eye licking habits may it is in initiated through a medical problem such together food allergy, infection, or injury which causes itching in the dog’s paw. Licking provides transient relief however may aggravate the condition, causing more itching, causing repeated licking.

This itch-lick cycle eventually leads come the formation of the thickened, ill area that the skin. The compulsive behavior is materialized when the dog will to licking the area not only since of the itch, however to relieve stress and anxiety or boredom.

It stands to factor then, the if you’re close to your dog, castle could likewise start licking you including your eyes, as result of stress and also boredom.

Going ago to Compulsive Licking, another type of this behavior is too much Licking of surface (ELS) such together floors, walls, carpets, and furniture. A examine done on ELS dogs contrasted to common dogs proved abnormalities in the digestive street in the ELS dogs.

These abnormalities incorporate inflammation of the stomach, delay in stomach emptying, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammation the the pancreas, and also parasitic infection.

Furthermore, treatment of the digestive tract disease led to innovation or disappearance of the ELS behavior. Thus, dogs exhibiting ELS have to be screened for gastrointestinal disorders before labeling them as compulsive/obsessive-compulsive or reacting to stress and anxiety or anxiety.

This problem might manifest itself through your dog licking her eyes too.

Why does mine dog lick mine eyes once I cry?

The reasons for your dog licking your eyes once you cry has a potential different meaning. It could be that your dog likes the braided taste of her tears.

It could additionally be that your dog understands that you room upset and so wants to soothe and comfort you – and licking is regularly their only method of act this.

Is it poor if a dog licks her eye?

It can be bad if a dog licks your eye, together bacteria from their saliva have the right to then go into your system, leading to a potential illness.

In movies we see dogs licking the smiling encounters of your pet owners, both dog and also human glowing v the warm of common affection. You might think that condition transmission v this practice is probably an ext of a theoretical possibility.

It can look cute, little bit don’t allow a dog licks your kid’s eyes and also face (Image via

Are there actual cases?

Unfortunately, over there are. Whilst rare, that is still feasible for friend to gain sick once a dog licks her eye, and also this is backed up through science.

In 1989, Dr. Boy name Tammegagi, the Nostradamus that human illness which deserve to be led to by dog-licking, submitted a letter come the Canadian veterinary Journal:

“Dear Sir, the sheathe of the September 1989 worry of the Canadian Veterinary journal is eye-catching and also attractive, but depicts a exercise that is not exemplary, and also should it is in discouraged. Mouth-to-face contact, licking, or kissing in between humans and also pets can an outcome in human illness, and also the Canadian Veterinary clinical Association, that Journal, and President have to not condone and also glamorize such behavior. Certainly, such habits is common and also in many instances leader to no harm, yet medical literature has recorded numerous instances in i beg your pardon serious person infections resulted from nontraumatic exposure to the saliva of pets.”

He additionally mentioned characteristics of civilization who are at high threat for contracting a condition through this exercise of a dog licking her eye: period extremes (very young and an extremely old), alcoholism, entry of cytotoxic drugs or high dose corticosteroids, diabetes, liver disease, and kidney diseases, amongst others.

Recently, clinical journals have actually published reports ~ above dog to person transmission of disease through casual licking.

For example, in the British medical Journal case Report that June 2016, it read:

“A 70-year-old woman was brought to the emergency room because that seizures and stayed in the intensive care unit for 2 weeks. She had severe infection through multi-organ device dysfunction indigenous Capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bacteria typically isolated indigenous the mouth of dogs and also cats. She had no scrape or bite marks yet the patience reported near petting, including licking from her Italian greyhound.”

Then in the Canadian journal of Infectious an illness and medical Microbiology in July to august 2015.

“A 55-year-old mrs was brought to the emergency department because that chills, hip pain, and difficulty in walking. She had actually right hip surgical treatment 8 years prior to this admission and also has had several episodes of infection in the operation wound site. The current infection to be from Pasteurella multocida, a bacteria normally discovered in the mouth that dogs and cats. This patient resides with 5 dogs and 2 cats. She has permitted her dog to lick a wound ~ above her appropriate leg. The writer report the this is the 6thdocumented case of Pasteurella joint infection from a dog lick.”

Another instance of illness being spread form a dog lick was in The Lancet in might of 2019:

“A 12-day-old baby was admitted for fever, irritability, and also poor feeding. The cerebrospinal fluid society showed Pasteurella multocida. The infant was treated because that meningitis. The family reported the they had no cats however had 2 dogs: a Maltese poodle and also a Bichon Shih Tzu. The dogs proved their affection for the infant by licking his face.”

These room just instances of actual situations of dog to person transmission the disease-causing bacteria v dogs licking eyes, ears, and also mouths that humans. These instances are rare and we probably deserve to still enjoy having our faces licked by our beloved dogs as long as we don’t have actually open wounds or abrasions, and wash our face instantly with soap and water.

Furthermore, civilization at high risk for serious illness, such as the group established by Dr. Martin Tammegagi (very young and very old), alcoholism, intake of cytotoxic medicine or high dose corticosteroids, diabetes, liver disease, and kidney diseases), have to avoid this type of fun times v their dog.

Handy Hint: I likewise recommend you check out my research into the opportunity of obtaining rabies from dogs licking your hands and face.


My Frenchie’s eye licking behavior is not of the repetitive, obsessive-compulsive type. Based upon that, you would certainly think it’s no so bad for my dog to lick mine eye now and again.

Now discovering what I perform though, the something ns don’t recommend you do.

So, just how do we protect against our dog from repeated, incessant, or undesirable licking of our eyes, encounters or ears?

According to Dr. Gary Ladsberg, behavior change takes time and also commitment from pet owners. This will involve staying clear of situations that cause the abnormal behavior, cultivating and rewarding desirable behavior, and sometimes, utilizing behavior-modifying drugs because that resistant cases.

Dr. Ladsberg likewise warned the training based upon punishment or confrontations is no recommended since they cause fear, avoidance, and also increased aggression.

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