Many dog owners may have wondered ‘Why does my dog lick my ears?’ because they think it is just odd that their furry friends are quite fond on doing such a thing. Well, aside from having quirky behaviors, dogs are known to develop their own ways of communication and showing affections. And believe it or not, there are actually some scientific explanations of why your dog really loves to lick your ear.
Explanations to ‘Why Does My Dog Lick My Ears’ Question
Basically, dogs have different reasons for licking your ears. Do you know that all dogs are basically the descended from wolves. Wolves are pack animals. Well, wild animals living in family units or packs have complex social structures, along with complex social behavior reflecting the structure. In most cases, one of the behaviors found in packs is about grooming each other because it gives the unit a solid structure.
It reflects to grooming difficult-to-reach areas. When humans have an itch that we can’t scratch, they can use the back-scratcher to take care of the issue. Animals can’t. That’s why grooming behavior can be quite useful for those animals living in packs. Animals in pack have the tendency to groom others in areas that are difficult to reach. Your ears may not be exactly difficult-to-reach area, but your dog wants to thank you for all of those ear scratches you do on them, so licking your ear is their gesture to return the favor and also to express their gratitude.
Respect and Submission
Another explanation why your dog licking your ear is to show respect or sign of submission. You see, in dogs, wolves, and canine species, grooming is a sign of submissive respect. Lower-social-rank wolves may groom the higher rank ones, showing their submission to authority and rank within the pack. This is the same reason why your dog licks your ear. They see you as the high rank and valued member of the ‘pack’ and they respect you. This is especially apply if you see them displaying (classic) submissive behaviors, like tucking their tail, exposing their belly, or crouching down low.
Security and Comfort
Dogs (and wolves) communicate to one another through grooming. It somewhat delivers a message that they feel safe and content. It also shows their care for those being groomed. What kind of message does your dog try to give you when they lick your ears? They may try to say that they love you. They are comfortable whenever you are around. If licking your ear is followed by relaxed body positioning and soft face, then it is sure thing that you dog is showing affection toward you.
Dogs depend on their strong sense of smell so much. That’s why they would explore their surroundings and environment by using their nose. It’s also the same reason why they become great rescue and search animals. However, not many people realize it that dogs like to explore with their mouth too. When they sniff something, followed by a simple tasting gesture, such action would give them complete information about things. Sometimes, sniffing alone isn’t enough. That’s why puppies are fixated on chewing your shoes, furniture, and even electric cords.
So, what is your dog trying to say by licking your ear? It’s possible that it’s their way to ‘collect’ information about you; what you have done, where you have been, and such things alike. After all, they are into exploration so much that they really don’t mind licking your ear to show it!
They Like It
No matter how clean your dog is, they are creatures that are drawn to foul things. Not only they are attracted to the smell, but they also like to eat it. Yes, yucky, but it’s in their nature. Does it mean that they are attracted to your earwax? It’s mostly likely. It may be odd and gross, but some dogs really like the taste of the earwax as well as the saltiness. So, does it mean that I have yucky ear when my dog loves licking my ear so much? Not necessarily. In most cases, your dog may think that your ear is somewhat delicious and they just like the way it tastes.
However, if this is a habit that suddenly appears and your dog seems to be extremely obsessed with your ear, it may be a sign for underlying issue. Yes, your furry friend is picking up a ‘sign’ of an underlying medical problem. You should be aware of this issue if you see your dog starts licking other animals’ ears sharing space in your home. You should also start paying attention to your dog if they suddenly develop the habit and become somewhat obsessed with the ear licking – whether it is yours or other animals.
You see, when animals suffer from ear infection, it will change the smell of their ears. This is what your dog picks up; leading to them wanting to explore more about the odor. Remember their natural sense of exploration? Well, it stimulates them to lick other animals’ ear, just like the way they lick their (own) wounds.
Should You Worry?
If you don’t mind them doing it, then there is no reason to stop it. However, if you don’t like it, simply stop it and move away from their reach. You can stop them. Most homeowners, however, prefer distracting their dogs so they won’t continue with the licking. Don’t let them lick your ear for a while and then try to stop them. They won’t know (and learn) that you don’t like it. Immediately stop them once they try to lick your ear.
Can you allow dogs to lick your kids or toddlers or even babies? No, you can’t. NEVER let your dog licks those kids’ ear. Not only it is risky, but it is also encouraging them to actually continue it. Your kids may not like it and they may push the dog, which can be dangerous. Don’t allow your dog to lick the kids’ ear.
As you now understand why dogs like to lick ears, you can also learn about how to deal with it. You shouldn’t have more questions about why does my dog lick my ears and be curious about it.