Why Does My Dog Lick My Feet?

Have you ever wondered, “Why is my dog obsessed with my feet?” Your dog’s fascination with your feet can be attributed to their acute sense of smell, which is between 10,000 and 100,000 times more powerful than ours. Your feet emit interesting smells, pheromones, and are covered in salt from your sweat. This allows your dog to gain insights into what you’ve been eating, your emotional state, your recent activities, and where you’ve been. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of why dogs lick your feet and legs, exploring the meaning behind this behavior, its connection to diabetes, and the significance it holds in your relationship with your furry companion.

Why do dogs lick your feet? Your dog licks you for several reasons – to express affection, seek attention, understand you better, and because they find it enjoyable. Specifically, when they lick your feet, it’s likely because they are drawn to the unique scent information they can gather from them. Your feet carry a wealth of information about you, including where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to.

Dogs often use licking as a means to convey their love and care to their puppies. If you notice such behavior in your dog, it’s always advisable to consult with your veterinarian or a professional behaviorist for guidance.

The Instinctual Reasons

Dogs have a long history of domestication, but their behavior often harks back to their ancestral roots. Licking, in particular, serves as a link to their past. Your dog’s tongue on your feet isn’t merely random; it’s an instinctual act that traces its origins to the survival strategies of their wild ancestors. By licking the scent glands on your feet and legs, dogs gather vital information about your travels and encounters, just as their predecessors tracked prey and identified pack members.

Communication and Social Bonds

Beyond instincts, licking is a form of communication for dogs. When your dog licks your feet, they may be conveying affection, submission, or excitement. It’s their way of saying, “I like you” or “I respect you as the pack leader.” This behavior is particularly evident in puppies, who use licking to build bonds and gain acceptance within their pack—of which you and your family are a part.

While it’s crucial to recognize the positive aspects of licking behavior, excessive licking can sometimes indicate underlying health issues, including diabetes. If your dog is incessantly licking their own paws or your feet, it could be a sign of discomfort or distress related to diabetes. It’s vital to be aware of this possibility and consult with a veterinarian if you suspect diabetes may be the cause.

Health Implications

While dog saliva has certain healing properties, excessive licking can lead to health problems. The constant moisture from your dog’s saliva can cause skin irritations or dermatitis. Keep a close eye on any redness or discomfort on your skin or your dog’s paws, as these could signal the need for intervention. Balancing your acceptance of your dog’s affectionate licks with their health is essential.

Training and Managing Licking Behavior

If your dog’s foot-licking habits become bothersome, there are effective training techniques to address them. Positive reinforcement, such as rewarding your dog for refraining from licking, can work wonders. Consistency is key in modifying their behavior. Remember, patience and kindness are the cornerstones of successful training.

What should be done if my dog excessively licks my feet?

If your dog’s relentless foot-licking habit has become troublesome, consider these techniques to minimize their affectionate yet excessive behavior:

  1. Maintain impeccable foot hygiene: Ensure your feet are thoroughly clean to make them less enticing to your dog. If your pup tends to pounce on your feet after exercise, make it a habit to shower promptly before they can reach you.
  2. Eliminate opportunities: Pay attention to when your dog is most inclined to indulge in this habit and proactively avoid providing them with the opportunity.
  3. Create distance: Rather than reacting with either positive or negative attention, quietly move your feet away from your dog. Maintain a neutral demeanor without uttering words or making eye contact. If this approach proves ineffective, consider distancing yourself or leaving the room altogether. Over time, this should convey the message that foot-licking is not something you appreciate.
  4. Distraction tactics: Offer your dog an alternative activity to divert their attention from licking, such as a chew toy, a food puzzle, or a lick mat.
  5. Consistency is key: It’s crucial to be consistent in your response. Mixed signals can confuse your dog, so make your expectations clear regarding their behavior.

If your dog’s excessive licking continues, it’s essential to investigate the underlying cause. It could be related to anxiety or their health. Reflect on when this behavior began and whether there have been any other unusual changes in their behavior or circumstances. If you have concerns about your dog’s behavior, always consult your veterinarian or a professional behaviorist for guidance.


In conclusion, understanding why dogs are obsessed with your feet involves recognizing the intricate interplay of instinct, emotion, and communication. The next time you feel those wet kisses on your feet, know that your dog is trying to connect with you in their unique way. Embrace their affection, but always prioritize their well-being. By doing so, you’ll strengthen your bond and ensure a happy, healthy life together.

Common inquiries regarding dogs licking my feet

  1. Is it good for dogs to lick your feet? Generally, it’s not harmful for dogs to lick your feet, but it’s important to ensure your feet are clean and free from any chemicals or substances that could be harmful to your dog.
  2. Why is my dog obsessed with licking me? Dogs often lick their owners as a sign of affection, to bond, or because they enjoy the taste of salt on human skin. However, excessive licking could indicate underlying behavioral or medical issues and should be monitored.
  3. Why do dogs lick diabetics? Some dogs are trained to detect changes in a diabetic person’s blood sugar levels through their scent. When they lick, it may be a signal to the person or a natural response to the person’s condition.
  4. Why does my dog lick my infected toe? Dogs may lick wounds or infected areas as a natural instinct to clean the wound. However, excessive licking of an infected area should be monitored and may require medical attention.
  5. Can dogs smell foot fungus? Yes, dogs have a strong sense of smell and can detect foot fungus or other infections due to their keen olfactory abilities.
  6. Should I let my dog lick my athlete’s foot? It’s generally not recommended to let your dog lick areas affected by athlete’s foot or any fungal infection. While their saliva has some antibacterial properties, it’s not a substitute for proper medical treatment, and their licking could potentially worsen the condition or introduce bacteria.

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