Your dog has always been a licker.
And you’re okay with that…
Until they decided to include your hair in the action.
“Hooman, I have a natural leave-on for your hair – my saliva.”
“You see what I mean?”
Perfect timing! This article got you covered.
Keep reading to learn:
- 13 unusual reasons behind your dog’s behavior.
- Why your dog seem to be so in love with your hair.
- 3 tips you can do to stop them from licking your hair (and other areas).
- And many more…
Why does my dog lick my hair?
Your dog licks your hair because they like the smell, taste, and texture of it. But it could also be because they’re bored and want attention. Or they want to groom, treat, calm, or imitate you. On rare times, they could also be having some medical condition, anxiety, or problems with their diet.
13 reasons why your dog licks your hair
#1: Your dog likes your hair’s smell and taste
You probably already know that your scent is one of the smells that your dog adores.
As weird as it can get, they like you even more when you’re sweaty (and salty).
That’s why your dog will likely lick your hair after you had a good workout.
Or a thorough clean of the whole house (which got you all sweaty).
Or after you both just came from a walk on a sunny day.
“But even if I feel fresh just chillin’ at home,
they still lick my hair.”
Research states that there are certain smells that dogs like because it keeps them calm.
An experiment was done that involved 15 dogs in rescue shelters being exposed to different scents.
It was concluded that these do keep dogs calm and relaxed:
Well, your shampoo probably smells like one of these scents that’s why your dog enjoys licking your hair.
#2: Your dog is grooming you
“Don’t worry, hooman, I gochu.”
Your dog thinks they’re doing you a favor by licking your hair.
Well, for them it’s grooming.
Since they’re doing it with their fur friends, why not include you, right?
They’re your best friend anyway.
Grooming is also their way to bond and get closer to you.
The other ways dogs try to bond with you are:
- Following you.
- Staying near you.
- Always checking on you.
- Wanting to protect you.
- Obeying your commands joyfully.
- Wanting more physical interaction.
- Never letting you out of their sign (high level of focus).
#3: Your dog is being affectionate
Your dog likes to show their affection in many ways.
And licking your hair is one of those.
So, if they’re energetically licking your hair, it means they care for you.
Here are some of the other ways they’ll show their affection to you:
- Rolling over.
- Following you.
- Jumping at you.
- Leaning on you.
- Wagging their tail.
- Looking at you (eye contact).
- Staying/sleeping beside you.
- Being loyal to you (of course).
Check out also: Why is my dog so affectionate in the morning?
#4: Your dog is trying to calm you down
Are you getting carried away by the Netflix movie you’re watching?
Wipe those tears fast if you don’t want your dog to rush to you and start some licking.
Research shows that dogs attend to their humans more when they see them crying.
Not only can they sense what you are feeling, but they also have the need to comfort you.
Another study states that dogs match their human’s facial emotion to their voice.
During the experiment, 17 dogs (family adult and socialized dogs of various breeds) were put into test.
They are to look at two faces, happy vs. angry. Then the dogs are to match the audio to the faces they see on the screen.
The result that came out proved that 67% of the dogs look longer to the expression that matches the audio they hear.
No wonder why they already know what scared, happy, sad (crying) looks and sounds like.
So, don’t be surprised if your dog runs and jumps to you, then licks your hair (or any other parts of your body),
Because they’re actually just trying to calm you down.
#5: Your dog wants your attention
Some people say that if you want to know if you can handle having a kid one day, you should try getting a dog first.
Because just like toddlers, dogs also need constant attention.
They need to be fed, taken care of, and played with.
And if you forget about them for just a few minutes, they’ll make sure to let you know they’re still there.
That’s probably why your dog licks your hair.
Maybe they’re just waiting for you but you’re too busy doing something else.
Here’s what you can do for your fur friend/ baby:
- Teach them a new trick.
- Take them to the beach.
- Take them out for a car ride.
- Bring them to a nice hiking spot.
- Treat them to a dog grooming salon/ spa.
- Play with them outdoors (e.g. pile of leaves, ankle-deep snow).
You might also be interested in: 11 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Wraps His Paws Around You
#6: Your dog gets rewarded
Is giving treats, toys, or some petting, your attempt to stop your pooch from licking your hair?
Well, you just made them think their behavior will lead them to get treats from their hooman.
Note: There are proper ways to stop your pooch from doing unwanted behaviors. Proceed to the tips to find out.
#7: Your dog has an underlying medical condition
Does your dog seem to be licking your hair excessively (or even surfaces at home or parts of their body)?
The reason behind their particular habit could be a hidden medical condition such as:
- Obsessive disorver.
- Hormonal imbalance.
- Gastrointestinal disease.
- Canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD).
A common one on aging dogs is the CCD, which also shows signs of obsessive licking disorder in dogs.
Dogs who are 9 years and older can already get affected by this.
Aside from excessive licking, below are the other signs you’ll notice if your dog has dementia:
- Excessive barking.
- Decreased energy.
- Too much irritability.
- Loss of desire to eat.
On the other hand, your dog is pretty young and you’re sure they’re not suffering from CCD, here’s another probable cause you might want to look into.
If your dog has built the habit of licking your hair, there is a possibility that they have swallowed a bunch of your hair.
Hairs cause blockage on your pooch’s tiny stomach.
Because of this, they won’t be able to digest their food well. And they might need to undergo surgery to remove the obstruction.
Note: If you suspect that your dog is having any of these conditions, go to the nearest vet immediately for proper diagnosis.
#8: Your dog is bored
Isn’t it that when you keep doing repetitive things you get bored and tired eventually?
Then you try to find something new to make you busy?
Well, dogs feel that way, too.
If you present them with the same old toys, they’ll get fed up.
If you don’t spend enough time with them outdoors, then they’ll get bored seeing the same things inside your house.
So, what else are they to do?
Well, they’ll find other things that spark their interest.
Imagine them just laying in the corner looking bored.
Then you pass by, your long hair swaying and smelling amazing (a.k.a sweaty).
Goodbye boredom, hello newfound activity – hair licking.
#9: Your dog is having diet problems
Your dog may be lacking in nutrients that’s why they’re doing some hair-licking.
Did you change your dog’s food recently?
According to VCA, there are six (6) basic nutrients that our furry friends need. These are the following:
These nutrients should be present in your dog’s daily diet for their body to function well.
If they’re licking your hair, your dog may be missing one or two of these required nutrients.
#10: Your dog is imitating you
Do you always like to give your pooch a gentle stroke or pat on the head whenever they’re being their best self? How about giving them a quick peck when you pass by them?
These gestures may be nothing to you but for your dog, you just gave them something to follow.
And they’re probably doing to you what you’re doing to them.
It’s just that they’re giving you a lick on the head instead of a pat.
According to WebMD, dogs take their owners’ actions as behavior models.
The experiment was done by Friederike Range, Ph.D. It shows that even if dogs don’t get a treat, they’ll still choose to imitate their owners.
What they did was brilliant.
There were 2 groups of dogs.
The first group was given treats if they followed their owners’ behavior. The latter was opening the sliding door with their paws.
The second group however was given treats if they didn’t follow their owner.
In the end, the dogs who won’t get rewards if they follow their owners still did the latter.
So, even if it costs them their treats, they still automatically imitate their owners’ actions.
#11: Your dog is anxious
Anxiety could also be the reason behind your dog’s fascination with your hair.
Generally, dogs feel anxious whenever they’re presented with something they’re not used to.
For instance, sudden loud noises like fireworks and thunder, a new environment like moving places, or an approach to old age.
If your pooch is indeed experiencing anxiety, their licking will be accompanied by these other symptoms:
- Constant pacing.
- Being aggressive.
- Behavior repetition.
- Drooling and panting.
- Urinating/ pooping in usual places.
Reading recommendation: Top 10 Reasons Why Dogs Grab Your Arm + 5 Tips To Stop It
#12: Your dog thinks it’s totally fine
“It’s time for your daily dose of licking, Mom.”
Has your dog been licking your hair for a while now?
Well, maybe they keep on doing it because they don’t get any negative reaction from you.
As long as you don’t tell them to stop, they’ll keep up the “good work.”
Look at this hooman getting an all-natural grooming from his furry friend.
#13: Your dog is trying to heal you
“Aww. But why? I’m not sick.”
Well, your dog might have found some sore in your head or scalp, so they’re trying to help you out.
This is especially done by momma dogs to their little pups when they get wounded.
That’s why your dog is acting like a “doctor” treating that sore.
Note: There are certain wounds that mustn’t be licked and too much licking will cause danger, so be careful.
How do I stop my dog from licking my hair? 3 tips
#1: Give them proper exercise
Your dog needs the right amount of exercise for them to avoid getting bored, and for them to divert their focus.
Take your dog out for a longer walk outside. An exciting play at the park. Or a fun game of hide and seed on your lawn.
So, instead of licking and munching on your hair (or hair strands), they have other things to focus on.
Note: Consult your vet for your dog’s required exercise, since their breed, age, and health should be taken into consideration.
#2: Give them attention
This is probably the easiest thing you can do for your dog to stop them from licking your hair.
Before they go on and start their weird behavior, early in the morning, give them bits of attention already.
It doesn’t have to be a grand, “all-eyes-on-them” kind of thing.
Just make them feel that even if you’re busy, you’re still aware of their presence.
A little treat offer or 5-10 minute plays in between is already a big thing for them.
#3: Reward the right behavior
In other words, use positive reinforcement for your dogs, which is training them to continue the good acts and telling them to stop the unfavorable ones. Or the ones you specifically don’t like.
So to stop your dog from licking your hair (because you don’t like it or it’s dangerous for them), you can just ignore them when they’re doing so.
And when they’re behaving or obeying your command, you give them a treat.
Things to prepare or remember for your dog’s training:
- You and your dog are a team.
- Prepare a lot of the treats that he loves.
- Make them feel like the training is easy-peasy.
- Don’t be too harsh on them, especially if they’re still starting out.
- Find the right environment for them to train at (e.g. no distractions).
Soon you’ll be surprised at what your dog can do (and not to do, by choice), because of your training style.
People also ask:
Should I let my dog lick my hair?
You shouldn’t let your dog lick your hair because it poses danger to them in the long run.
This behavior can cause blockage in their tummy due to the accumulated hair they might ingest.
Even your house should be free from human hair since they’ll still swallow that. So, you must set a regular vacuuming schedule for your pooch’s safety.