Why Do Dogs Lick Your Legs?
[All you need to know]

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: January 17, 2022

It’s all fun and games until your pet starts doing something you just don’t understand! 

We love our fur babies, and we want the best for them. We try to guess which food they want, which toy they prefer, or which cushion is most comfortable for them. Most of the time, we do a good job. 

If only we could understand why our pet behaves in an odd manner. Why does my dog lick their own tails? Or shake their face rapidly sometimes? To you, it might seem like they are entertaining themselves or some other particular reason, but what do they really mean when they do that?

Obviously, many behaviors go well beyond simple hunting and finding food. On top of these things, there are several more possibilities that we should consider when trying to understand our pet’s behavior.

But because of the language gap between us, humans, and canines, sometimes it’s impossible to understand what our pets really want! One of these times is them licking our legs. 

They are just being friendly, right? Well, not exactly. There are all these confusing reasons why your dog may be licking you in the first place. 

Why does your dog lick you? Here is a short list of questions that can help you better understand what could be happening with your dog’s curious behavior.

Now, not everything your dog does will necessarily have a meaning. But you might be hunting in the right direction here. Your dog’s licking might be trying to tell you something. 

Let’s look at that something.

Why does your dog constantly lick your legs and feet?

Unfortunately, there’s no single answer. So, we have got to take a look at all the options. 

  • Attention

The next time your pup licks your leg, you might be tempted to shake them off. But the real reason they might be trying to get your attention is that they need some love and affection from their favorite human. Give ’em a hug! They’ll wag their tail in appreciation for sure.

  • Boredom

If your dog licks your legs and you think it means they want to play, then try calling them over instead of shooing them away. Calling them over and throwing a ball or maybe even just playing a game of fetch can be great ways to bond with your dog. Your dog licking you might be a sign that they are bored and want to begin playtime! 

  • Grooming

It is common for a dog to lick its owner’s legs when it wants to groom them. As people are not as furry as dogs, a dog will often use their tongue instead of their teeth to groom the dirt on an owner’s legs. 

One of the answers to this is that your dog is trying to clean your feet. They see you walk around with dirty feet and probably want to get the dirt off. This might be a case if they generally come to lick your feet when you get back home from work or from walking in muddy areas. 

  • Affection

Dogs will also lick their owners to show that they love them. This is due to the fact that dogs are very affectionate animals by nature and are always willing to shower their owners with affection when they get the chance.

Licking is a common way for dogs to show affection towards other dogs in their pack. It is like saying, “Hey, I love you!”. It’s also not that uncommon for mother dogs to lick their puppies to show that they love them, too.

Dogs may lick their owners to show that they love them; a dog that licks you may be communicating that it wants attention, or it is behaving in an affectionate fashion.

  • Taste

This sounds weird, I know! But maybe (just maybe), your dog likes the way your feet taste. Remember that we have different ways we judge a flavor, and animals do it their own way. Our sweat has a saltiness to it, and your dog might actually be a fan of it. 

  • Submission

The wild is different from our ways. In the animal kingdom, the alpha is established, and the others respect that. Especially in dogs, the alpha is a matter of importance. When a dog licks your leg, they might be letting you know that they respect and submit to you. That they accept you as their boss. 

  • Fragrance

If there are some particular times in the day that your dog licks your legs, then you may be able to point out the exact reason. For example, if it licks your feet when you are fresh out of the shower, then they probably like the way you smell. Or maybe when you’re back from gardening. The point is, look for where you were before they started licking your leg. 

  • Excitement

One of the more obvious reasons why your dog may be licking your leg is that it’s excited to see you or be with you. This may be true especially after you come back to them after a long time, like from the office or being out the whole day. 

While it’s great that your dog is happy to see you, if they are visibly clingy, then the reason could be separation anxiety in them. In that case, take them to a professional and do as needed. 

  • Feel good

Did you know that when a dog is performing the action of licking, its body produces the endorphin hormones? These hormones give the feeling of being happy or excited! This feeling can be compared with the one we get after a good run or even some physical activity to release our bodily toxins. 

So, next time your dog is licking your leg, maybe they are just enjoying some good old happiness! 

  • Direction

Since dogs can’t straight up ask you to follow them, licking gets them attention, and they might be asking you to pay attention to them. Maybe if you let them lead, they will direct you to something they want to show you or they want from you!

So, if your dog has just begun licking your feet, give them a chance and see if they want to tell you something important. 

Are dog licks really dog kisses?

Dogs show affection to their owners by licking them. Living as a pet who spends time with their owner in an enclosed space can lead them to try and get all the attention they need. When a dog sees its owner, it will usually lick them out of affection or excitement. Believe that the gesture is similar to hugging or kissing someone you love.

Dogs are used to licking and being licked since birth. Their mother licks them to groom them, show love to them, and sort of saying that “you are family” (cute, right?). So, it’s only natural that the dog picks this behavior up and showcases it when they want to express the same. 

Not only will a dog lick your legs, feet, hands, neck, or ear when they want to show love but also when they feel that you “need” love. This means that many dog owners have observed that their dog comes to them almost always when they are angry, anxious, or sad. You may call this their way of saying “everything will be okay” or “calm down.”

In any case, this is super sweet and absolutely heartwarming. 

Hopefully, this behavior is out of choice and not a routine that’s come about because of something.  A dog should never feel the compulsion to jump, hug, lick you as a way of showing you affection because they were intentionally or accidentally conditioned like that. 

If, without you going near them or asking them to come near you, they come to you by themself, then this is a good sign. They love you, and you have done a good job being a parent to them. 

What does it mean when a dog licks your wound?

Unlike us humans, animals don’t have access to medicines and creams to address an injury or a wound. Their way of attending to an injury or a wound is by licking it and letting it naturally heal. 

Dogs instinctively lick their or their companion’s wounds. This is to clean the wound with the help of their saliva. Dogs’ saliva has natural cleansers that also help the healing process to become a little faster. The Egyptians strongly believed in dogs’ capacity to heal injuries or wounds with their saliva. 

Since you are their family, their companion, they try to take care of you too when you are hurt or injured. They are licking your wound to clean it, show their love, take care of you and unintentionally help your wound heal faster.


Dog’s are just trying to communicate. They want to make sure that we understand them. So, if your dog is licking your feet, then he/she probably means no harm. Most of the time, it’s just them being affectionate or trying to get your attention.

If they are licking your feet, it will be for one of the given reasons, and there’s no reason to be worried about it. However, if you don’t like that they lick your feet or leg, then you must handle the case with care. 

You may train them or take them to a professional and get the job done. It’s just a matter of time, and they will no longer be at your feet all the time. 

If you have no problem with your dog licking your leg or feet, then, by all means, enjoy the feeling of being showered with love and affection by your dog. Make sure you check from time to time and see if they are actually trying to get your attention onto something. If not, you are good to go!