Do you have a dog with a special liking for your feet? It’s no secret they smell like bad cheese, which probably has you wondering why do dogs like them so much. Or: ‘’why does my dog lick my feet, and no-one elses?’’
Most dogs will lick feet given the chance. Feet-licking is generally a normal part of canine behaviour as a matter of fact, but you probably still have many questions. Just keep reading, and you’ll find out everything you need to know. We’ll explain the 5 reasons why dogs lick your feet, if you should let your dog lick your feet, and if you don’t want them to lick your feet, how to stop them.
For more information on your puppy’s behaviour and a personalised training programme, download the Zigzag puppy training app. We’ll hold your hand as you embark on your journey through puppyhood – especially if you run into problems like lead pulling, toilet training, how to teach your puppy to be happy at home alone and plenty more. We also have a team of professional dog trainers – they’re happy to talk 7 days a week.
Why do dogs lick your feet?
Dogs lick your feet for a few different reasons. Often, it’s a communication tool, and they use it to find out information about their surroundings and where you’ve been. It’s basically a harmless thing that dogs do and is part of their standard behaviour repertoire. They just love a good lick of things.
- Your feet taste delicious
Dogs will often lick our legs or feet when we’re fresh out of a hot shower. Sweaty feet still come through, and are a salty treat for dogs to enjoy.
- Your puppy is being affectionate
Dogs use licking as a way of showing affection too, so your puppy is just showing you how much they love you. You’ll get used to soppy foot kisses as forms of love.
- Feet licking for greeting
Many dogs lick your feet to say hello. When you come through the front door and they give your feet a quick lick, just think of it as a royal canine greeting.
- Your dog likes the smell of your feet
We sweat a lot from our feet. In our sweat are pheromones and a scent that’s individual to you. Your dog will naturally be pulled into your scent, and sometimes will have a difficult time getting enough of it. There will also be many other smells on your feet and legs that are interesting to your puppy. It gives them a lot of information about your whereabouts…and possibly if you’re being disloyal by petting other dogs on the street.
- They lick feet to get your attention
You get the giggles when your puppy licks your feet, right? You might even squeal. To your puppy, this means they’ve got your attention, which is what they want most. They might use the opportunity to ask you for a drink, food, or to go to the toilet.
Fun fact: Diabetes alert dogs lick their owners to indicate they may have low blood sugar. Clever dogs!
- Dogs lick your feet because it makes them feel good
Licking releases endorphins, so our puppies find it enjoyable. Feet-licking can be a self-soothing behaviour, and some dogs may lick your feet because they’re feeling stressed and anxious.
If your puppy is licking your feet almost obsessively or manically and you’re starting to see humping, then you might want to do a check on your pup’s emotional state as they may be struggling with something.
If your puppy is licking away somewhere else, we have other articles which may be of interest to you like: why is my puppy licking my hands and why is my puppy licking my face and why is my puppy licking their paws for more information.
Should I let my dog lick my feet?
We think feet licking is harmless, but it’s all down to personal preference. Some people don’t like the feeling of a soggy tongue on their feet, and others worry about what’s been in their puppy’s mouth prior to the feet licking! We can’t blame them, dogs eat all kinds of unmentionable things, not just fragrant grass, but sometimes poo!
How do I stop my puppy from licking my feet?
If you’re not too keen on your puppy licking your feet, we have suggestions on how to prevent it from happening:
Wear socks or shoes to break the habit
If your feet are covered, then your dog can’t lick them. Sounds doable, doesn’t it? Management is the best way to prevent unwanted behaviour from happening. What dogs practice, they get good at. This can be things you want them to do, but also things that you don’t!
If your dog licks your feet then give them something else to do!
If your dog thinks that licking your feet is a good way to get attention, teach them using positive reinforcement to do something else. It could be as simple as lying down on a mat next to you for some strokes.
Give them a toy to lick on instead
Some dogs have trouble controlling their liquor. Er, sorry, we meant licker. By giving them a suitable puppy toy with some treats inside to focus on instead, they can lick to their hearts’ delight while leaving your feet alone. Using a lickimat, Kong or other interactive licky-style toy means your puppy has something to lick on, other than your feet.
We hope that’s helped answer your question on why do dogs lick feet, and whether it’s something you should worry about or not. Just remember: if you want to keep your dog from licking your feet, manage access to your tootsies, train them to waggle their tongue on something else like a toy or interactive feeder.
Check out our puppy behaviour and body language guides to determine whether your dog’s foot licking or other behaviour is normal. We also have a guide for people who are struggling with puppy biting.Looking to train that new puppy of yours? Say no more. Download the Zigzag puppy training app, and you’ll see how much we’ve got you covered. Get access to a personalised training journey and a team of lovely professional dog trainers ready to answer all of your questions.