Why do dogs “kiss” each other? And is it OK to accept a slobbery lick in the face from a dog?
From the Editors of The Dog Daily
Many mammals kiss in different ways, and dogs and humans each have their own unique methods for doing this. Believe it or not, kissing can be a dangerous gesture, because any kind of greeting with the mouth or face exposes that more vulnerable part of the body and leaves the individual almost defenseless in the moment. The face could be attacked if the recipient isn’t quite so friendly.
When a dog licks the muzzle of another dog, it is usually deferring to the recipient dog’s hierarchy. The lick is a sign of respect and affection. Dogs also take note of the licker’s smell during the “kiss,” which can reveal the individual’s gender, breed, health and what it recently ate.
If your dog kisses you in such a manner, consider yourself lucky: The lick is like the dog version of a belated holiday gift or a bouquet of roses. Your dog respects your higher position in the pack and views you with fondness. A dog-slobbered face can be a bit undesirable, however, so some owners train their pets to paw-shake or to have the dog rest its head in the owner’s lap instead of licking.