Most Common Reasons Why Does Dogs Lick Your Hands

Most Common Reasons Why Does Dogs Lick Your Hands

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: May 02 2023


You probably already know that dogs like to lick. They use the senses of smell and taste so they can communicate. Although every dog is different, they all have one typical behavior: licking hands. Maybe you have already thought about "why does my dog lick my hands," and this is what reasons lie behind this dog's behavior.

1. Greeting

Licking hands is one way for your dog to greet you and other people. The dog can sniff and lick your hand to decide if you are trustworthy. Because of that, many people reach out their hand to the dog when they first meet them.

RELATED: Why Do Dogs Lick?

2. Pack behavior

Your dog sees you as a pack member, and most of the dogs will look at you as the leader of their pack. Dogs' way of submitting to the pack leader is to lick them.

dog licking hand

3. Grooming

Mothers lick their puppies for the purpose of grooming. When puppies are too small, they cannot groom themselves, and the mother takes care of them. If you notice your dog licking your hand, it could be instinctive behavior of trying to groom you.

RELATED: Why Does My Dog Lick My Face? Should I Allow It?

4. Health problems

If your dog licks your hand from time to time, you have nothing to worry about, but if you catch your dog licking your hand more often, it could be a sign of a health problem. Also, a dog with health disorders tends to lick other objects, surfaces, etc. The best example of this problem can be separation anxiety. Dogs with separation anxiety will have issues with being left alone, which will cause them to start licking.

5. You taste good

For some dogs, you taste good. If you catch your dog licking your hand, it could be that you taste good or that you have food traces on your hands.

RELATED: Dog Licking Paws - What Does it Mean

6. Empathy

Dogs can sense when we are happy, sad when we need help… With licking hands, your dog will try to express concerns and help you. With licking, the dog will try to tell you that he's there and he wants to help you.

dog licking hand

Should you allow hand licking?

This is a personal decision, but there is nothing bad if your dog licks your hands. Moreover, you can create a better bond with your dog if you allow him to lick your hands. This behavior is their natural way of communication. If you forbid this behavior, your dog can understand that he's done something wrong and will not know how to communicate with you. You should never punish your dog for licking you.

RELATED: Should Dogs Lick Their Wounds? Will It Heal Them?

Can I teach my dog not to lick guests?

If you want to teach your dog not to lick guests, there is a way. Teach your dog a new greeting command – touch, high five, shake, or paw. All these commands can be super fun for your dog to learn and create a stronger bond between you and your dog. The main rule is to be consistent – you cannot allow your dog to lick some guests and some not.

Dogs are intelligent creatures, and with the proper training, you can have a dog that will follow your commands.

RELATED: Why Does My Dog Lick Their Lips? Should I Worry?


There is nothing wrong if your dog licks your hand from time to time. In most cases, it is normal dog behavior. However, if you notice your dog doing it excessively, you should run a check to ensure no health issues are involved.

World Dog Finder team

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