Reasons To Not Let Your Dog Lick Your Face | Vet Answers

Dogs are popular for their affectionate and loyal natures, and it’s no surprise that, as a dog owner, you want to share close moments with your furry friend. One interaction that people often engage in is letting their dogs lick their faces, but there are reasons to not let your dog lick your face.

While this gesture may seem harmless and endearing, there are several reasons to think twice before allowing your dog to shower your face with slobbery affection. These reasons you shouldn’t let your dog lick your face will help you understand why there should always be a distance between their mouth and yours.

a close up of a dog where his toungue licking his nose

7 Reasons Why you should not let your dog lick your face

Below are some reasons why you should avoid letting your dog lick your face.

Germs and Bacteria

Dogs explore the world using their mouths, and their tongues can pick up a variety of germs and bacteria from the surfaces they encounter. When your dog licks your face, those microorganisms can easily transfer to your skin, mouth, and eyes.

This is one of the main Reasons To Not Let Your Dog Lick Your Face. This transference could lead to infections or illnesses, particularly for young children, older adults, or individuals with weakened immune systems. For example, it’s one of the primary ways your dog can give you campylobacter, a bacteria responsible for over a million illnesses annually.


Dogs can carry dangerous parasites and it is one of the reasons to not let your dog lick your face. Dogs can get parasites like ticks, fleas, and mites, which can come from different sources. These pests can live in your dog’s tongue and make their way onto your skin, leading to uncomfortable and potentially hazardous situations.

Dogs can transmit tick-borne illnesses to humans through a tick’s bite. Preventing your dog from licking your face can reduce the risk of these parasites damaging your health.

a human finger on the face of dog prohibiting him to lick his face.

Respect for Boundaries

Teaching your dog to respect personal boundaries is crucial for your well-being and your dog’s social interactions with others. Puppy Training Tips From a Vet is essential.

When you allow your dog to act as it pleases, you might bring down these boundaries and send mixed signals. This confusion can then lead to problems when you introduce it to other animals or humans who are less receptive to their affection.

Dental Hygiene

While your dog’s licks may seem like a loving gesture, they could contribute to dental health problems. Dogs’ mouths contain different bacteria than human mouths, which could prevent you from maintaining optimal oral health.

Allowing your dog to lick your face could introduce these bacteria into your mouth, potentially leading to dental issues. If your dog has dental problems like gum disease or tooth decay, their saliva might worsen these problems when they lick you. Here is the Ultimate Guide To Dog Dental Cleaning By A Vet.

Reinforcing Behavior

Dogs are highly adaptable and loving creatures; they will keep doing certain actions unless you train them not to. Allowing your dog to lick your face might reinforce a behavior you don’t want to encourage.

If it learns that licking your face results in positive attention or treats, it might engage in this behavior excessively. This can be problematic if you have little kids that may suffer from this action. To avoid this you should learn about some Dog Training Techniques that actually work.

a dog licking the face of his owner

Unpleasant Odor

Dogs have a strong sense of smell, and their saliva often has a distinct odor. When they lick your face, this odor can transfer to your skin, making you less appealing to others. While the scent might be comforting to you, it may not be as appealing to those around you.

Sometimes the odor from dog’s mouth may be unpleasant. Some dog parents have even said that their dog’s Breath Smells Like Fish which can be quite unpleasant and it is one of the other reasons to not let your dog lick your face

Risk of Injury

Dogs’ tongues are covered in tiny, backward-facing barbs called papillae, which help them lap up water efficiently and clean themselves. However, these papillae can cause micro-injuries to your skin when your dog licks you excessively. Over time, this can lead to irritation.

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While allowing your dog to shower you with kisses is understandable, it’s important to consider the potential risks and implications. Germs, parasites, dental hygiene concerns, behavioral reinforcement, and boundary-setting are all critical reasons you should never let your dog lick your face.

Focus on alternative ways to show affection to your dog that don’t compromise your health or your pet’s behavior. A healthy and respectful relationship between you and your dog will result from mutual understanding and consideration. Hope this guide covered enough Reasons To Not Let Your Dog Lick Your Face.

Do dogs get sad when you don’t let them lick your face?

Dogs may feel momentarily disappointed when denied face licking, but they don’t experience prolonged sadness over it. They’ll quickly adapt to other ways of showing affection.

Can you stop a dog licking your face?

Yes, you can stop a dog from licking your face by using commands like “No” or “Stop” and reinforcing the behavior with positive alternatives like petting or playing. Consistent training helps establish boundaries.

Do dogs love you if they lick your face?

Yes, dogs often lick their owners’ faces as a sign of affection and love, but it’s also a natural behavior rooted in their social and grooming instincts. But it does not mean it is safe for you. That’s why you should not encourage this behavior.