Why does my dog lick me in the morning, and what’s the reason behind this behavior? Who doesn’t love to wake up to a wet, slobbery tongue all over their face? If you own a dog or plan on adopting one, you need to get used to the idea of your dog licking you being your morning alarm. All dogs are not equally affectionate, but licking in the morning is a common trait.
Even if they do not lick your face every morning, they will do it occasionally. While you might appreciate the love from your dog, you might not know the real reason they are licking you. Licking is indeed a sign of affection from dogs. As a result, it is common to refer to licks from dogs as kisses. However, there are other reasons for dogs to lick their owners.
Before you scroll down to a more in-depth answer to this question, “Why Does My Dog Lick Me in the Morning,” you can check out these other dog-related questions answered by our team at We Love Doodles: Why Does My Dog Lick My Hair and Why Does My Dog Lick My Underwear?
What Does Your Dog Want When It Licks You in the Morning?
Unfortunately, dogs are unable to verbalize what they want. The best they can do is bark or lick us to get our attention. When they do this, they try to train us to do something when they lick or bark. If you do what they want after they lick you in the morning, they will continue to do it in the future.
1. Your Dog Wants You to Wake Up From Your Sleep
As you go about your day, you do not need your dog to be awake to enjoy activities. However, that is not the case for your dog. If your dog is going to do anything they enjoy, they need their owner to be awake and active. As a result, if you start to sleep a little longer, your dog might come into your room and lick you until you get out of bed.
Most dogs wake up earlier than humans, and as a result, they go through their morning routine before their human wakes up. Perhaps they have spent some time bathing or looking out the window but eventually run out of things to do. When this happens, they will come to you to wake you up. They are ready to start the day and want to spend time with you.
2. Your Dog Needs or Wants Something From You
While there are times your dog will wake you up by licking you for no other reason than they want to spend time with you, there are times when they want something specific. Dogs depend more on humans than cats, so they need humans to do almost any task.
Dogs go outside, unlike cats, who go to the bathroom in a litter box. As a result, if you take your time waking up in the morning, your dog may get very uncomfortable. Many dogs will lick their owner in the morning to let them know they need to be let outside.
Dogs don’t have as many ways to communicate with us, so they do their best to let us know they need something. While you might not appreciate your dog licking you early in the morning, it is better than them going to the bathroom on the floor.
Most dogs will at least attempt to get their owner’s attention before they resort to using the kitchen floor. Another possibility is your dog is hungry and ready for breakfast. When your dog gets hungry, it will try to get your attention by licking you. Well-behaved dogs will not cause a mess trying to find food if you feed them regularly.
Furthermore, feeding your dog regularly reduces the chances that they will lick you to get you to feed them. If you give them food at eight in the morning every day, they are unlikely to try to wake you up earlier for breakfast. However, if you sleep in much passed eight, your dog’s internal clock will tell them they should have eaten by then and will wake you up.
3. Your Response After Being Licked By Your Dog is Appealing
As anyone with a dog will tell you, dogs only do things that get reactions they enjoy. If they do something and it gets a negative reaction from their owner, they are unlikely to do it many more times. However, if they do something and get a positive reaction out of you, they will do it over and over again.
So, if they wake you up by licking you in the morning and you have a positive reaction, they will continue. A positive reaction could be taking your dog out to the bathroom or feeding it, as we mentioned above.
However, you can have much simpler positive reactions. Dogs are intelligent animals and can tell when you like what they do. So, if you laugh when they lick you, they will interpret that as you enjoy it. They will continue to wake you up by licking you as a result.
4. Your Dog Likes the Taste of the Oils on Your Skin
Sometimes dogs do things purely because they like it. Licking you can be one of those reasons. As you should know, humans produce sweat and oil on their skin. While it is easy to wipe away during the day, it builds up at night when we are asleep.
Oils and sweat produced by our bodies are very salty, and we are almost always covered in a small amount. Many dogs and cats enjoy the taste of salt, so they can enjoy licking you. They can enjoy the taste of salt in your oils by licking you.
Since more sweat builds up at night, dogs are likelier to spend time licking you in the morning than in the middle of the day. It is the same reason dogs and cats lick their owners after they return from the gym. You are covered in more sweat than usual, and they love the taste.
5. Your Dog Wants to Spend Time with You
Sometimes when your dog licks you until they are awake, they do not need anything specifically. However, they do it because they want you to wake up and spend time with them. Dogs are social creatures and need to interact with humans and other dogs to be happy.
Dogs grow attached to their owners more than other pets. While other pets gain affection for their owners, a dog’s love for its owner is unrivaled. So, when they lick you excessively in the morning, they might be doing it because they are excited to see you. They love you, and they want to show you how much.
Can Your Dog Tell When You Are Awake
One question that alludes to many dog owners is whether your dog can tell if you are awake. They can see that you are awake when you are walking around. However, can they tell if you are awake while lying in bed before getting out of bed?
Strangely, dogs have great intuition and can usually tell when you are awake. They can tell when you are asleep and resting your eyes. This intuition leads to dogs giving their owners the stink eye if they lie in bed awake for too long.
What Makes Your Dog Licking You in the Morning a Good Thing?
While many people do not like the feeling of dogs licking them, there are some significant benefits. Some are psychological, while others a physiological.
1. Your Dog Licking You Will Help Your Brain Release Oxytocin
When your dog comes up to you and licks you, your brain and your dog’s brain release the chemical oxytocin; oxytocin is essentially a feel-good hormone. You are more likely to feel happy and content after releasing it.
The release of oxytocin can also leave you with feelings of euphoria and love. So, getting kisses from your dog in the morning can tremendously benefit your mental health.
2. Your Dog Licking You Can Help Your Physical Health
Initially, you would not think this is the case, but your puppy licking can benefit your physical health. Dogs spend a lot of time licking everything around them, so their tongues become a breeding ground for microbes and germs. Since they are always exposed to germs, dogs build tremendous immune systems.
Being licked by a dog with a tongue covered in microscopic organisms does not sound like something that will help your health, but it does. Exposure to germs in your dog’s health will strengthen your immune system without putting you at serious risk for sickness.
3. It Builds a Bond Between You and Your Dog
Licking is a few tools dogs have to communicate with their owners. It is the number one form of social bonding available to them. Licking makes dogs feel closer to their owner and improves their bond.
4. Your Dog Licking You Will Make You Glow
Ok, you will not glow when your dog licks you. However, when your dog licks you in the morning, it will wipe away dirt, dead skin, and excess sweat. Wipe away the saliva from your skin, and you will be much cleaner than when you woke up.
Can Your Dog Licking You Be a Bad Thing?
Unfortunately, some things make morning kisses from your dog a bad thing.
1. Babies, Children, and Senior Citizens Can Have Negative Reactions to Dog Kisses
While it is safe to let your dog lick you regularly, some people are some people who can be harmed by dog saliva. Notably, babies, small children, and older adults have weaker immune systems than average adults. As a result, you should avoid leaving these people alone with your dog.
2. Licking Can Get Excessive
There are several benefits to your dog licking you, but there is a point when it becomes excessive. Most dogs lick a reasonable amount before getting bored and moving on to something else. However, some dogs love licking more than others, and they will lick an excessive amount.
Excessive locking can cause some significant issues. Notably, it can damage your skin after a while. Dog tongues are like sandpaper; if they lick you long enough, you can get rashes or even open wounds.
Conclusion For “Why Does My Dog Lick Me in the Morning”
If you own a dog, you will probably get woken up by your dog licking you many times over the years. Fortunately, there are not many downsides to your dog’s kisses. However, it is still crucial to figure out why your dog is licking you. If you can figure that out, you might be able to sleep in more often.
If you find this guide, “Why Does My Dog Lick Me in the Morning,” helpful, you can check out these other dog-related questions answered by our team:
- Why Do Dogs Sleep With Their Bum Facing You?
- Why Does My Dog Suddenly Hate His Crate?
- Why Does My Dog Sleep by The Door?
You can learn more about why your dog would lick you in the morning by watching “Why Does Your Dog Lick You” down below:
Andy is a full-time animal rescuer and owner of a toy doodle. When he’s not saving dogs, Andy is one of our core writers and editors. He has been writing about dogs for over a decade. Andy joined our team because he believes that words are powerful tools that can change a dog’s life for the better.
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