What Does it Mean When a Dog Constantly Licks its Nose? 3 Main Reasons
Dogs lick when they see a full bowl of food or a treat from their owner. Their salivary glands are always active, responding to changes around or within. But licking that’s too frequent should cause concern as it may be a symptom of serious illness.
Common reasons why your dog starts licking excessively suddenly
There are many factors that can cause excessive salivation in a dog and licking. The following are the main ones that contribute to this behavior.
Hunger and/or thirst
If a dog is hungry and smells food, it instinctively licks its nose and swallows its saliva. Licking the nose is a reflex to increase the sense of smell. Your dog’s sense of smell depends on the nasal mucus.
If your dog is thirsty, check whether there’s water in his bowl.
Pets instinctively refuse to drink dirty water, which causes kidney and liver disease. Rinse the water bowl with hot water daily. The walls of the bowl quickly become slippery, indicating the growth of bacteria. If your pup eats a lot of dry food, he should have 24/7 access to clean water. Get a large bowl so he won’t be thirsty when you are away. Refusal to drink any water is a red flag and a symptom of a dangerous disease.
Licking can also be caused by a sudden change in food or a new treat.
Diseases and other reasons
A dog will often lick itself when it’s sick. Here are some examples:
- A loose or wobbly tooth causes salivation and licking.
- Infectious and bacterial diseases.
- Food or chemical poisoning. Watch your pet during a walk and make sure he doesn’t pick up any scraps or pieces of food that have been thrown away. Protect your four-legged friend from contact with poisonous substances such as insecticides or household chemicals.
- Liver or kidney disease. Chronic ailments cause a reflex of frequent licking. Only a veterinarian can identify the cause after a blood test. Hurry to have your pet examined to avoid serious problems.
- Gastritis with high acidity. Due to the increased content of hydrochloric acid in the gastric juice, dogs are actively salivating and licking. At the same time, they often experience heartburn, which is also an irritant to the salivary glands. They try to swallow as much saliva as possible to counteract the irritant effect of the heartburn.
- Nausea. Episodes of nausea also provoke this behavior in the animals. If there’s a lack of appetite, take your pooch to a veterinarian. Your pet needs professional help. If there’s no appetite, then your pup is suffering from gastritis or indigestion.
- A foreign object in the mouth. Salivation becomes profuse if a dog has a foreign object lodged in its mouth. For example, this sometimes occurs when chewing on bones. Wear rubber gloves and examine your pet’s mouth. If necessary, try to remove the foreign object before running to the vet.
Strange as it may seem, dogs sometimes have psychological problems too. An animal that is highly dependent on its owner will often lick its nose. This happens more often in puppies and adult puppies who are too attached to their owners. If their owners don’t stop this behavior, their pets will quickly realize that licking attracts attention.
Researchers have found that dogs not only lick when they see some food, they like but also when their owners are angry. This is how they signal their understanding of your emotional state.
If you own a dog, you might have noticed that sometimes your pooch starts licking his nose and muzzle intensively.
The study involved 17 dogs, all of which were full-fed at the time of the experiments. The animals were shown faces of people they knew expressing different emotions. They also played audio recordings with a calm or angry voice.
The sound stimuli had no significant impact on the movements of the tongue but when a displeased face was shown, the dogs licked their noses and lips vigorously. Interestingly, photos of dogs’ snarling faces didn’t elicit these reactions. It turns out that licking is a specific response to negative human emotions.
There may be various reasons for frequent licking, so it’s worth monitoring your dog’s behavior and getting it checked by a professional if necessary.