Why Does My Dog Lick My Armpits? (7 Reasons)

Why Does My Dog Lick My Armpits

We love our dogs for all their characteristics and quirks! Sometimes, we might find them doing something that we consider strange or weird, like licking things that seem very random. You might have seen your dog lick different objects, but have you ever caught your canine companion licking your armpits?

Could licking your armpits mean something?

Dogs licking your underarms can be attributed to several reasons: they might enjoy the taste of your sweat or be attracted to your deodorant’s flavor. It could also be an act of affection, their grooming instinct, a gesture of submissiveness, or a response to the attention they receive. Additionally, young puppies may simply be curious.

Let’s take a closer look at the 7 reasons why your dog licks your armpits and whether that’s a behavior you should be worried about!

Reason 1: Your Dog Likes The Taste Of Your Sweat

What smells or tastes good to dogs might not appeal to humans, including your sweat!

Sweat contains salt and acidic chemicals, a taste that might be appealing to dogs. Since dogs have fewer taste buds than humans, their sense of taste is different from ours making things like sweat taste good to them.

You may find your dog licking not just your armpits, but other parts of your body, including your hands and face, even your bellybutton. But unlike those two areas, your armpits are going to emit a stronger smell and a more intense flavor. This could explain why your dog licks your armpits with more excitement when you’re back from the gym.

Check out this video of a dog licking the person recording the video:

Reason 2: Your Dog Likes The Taste Of Your Deodorant Or Antiperspirant

As mentioned in the previous reason, your dog might lick your armpits because they like the taste of your sweat, but they might also like the taste of your deodorant.

While deodorants and antiperspirants have little to no toxicity, you still should not let your dog consume them. Try to keep these products away from your furry four-legged companion because depending on the brand some ingredients in these products can be toxic for dogs to digest, after all, they’re not meant to be consumed by anyone.

Interestingly, dogs might also lick you for the scented skin care products you use. You might find your dog licking your arms or legs because they also like the taste of your lotion.

Reason 3: Your Dog Wants To Show Affection

Our beloved canine companions express their feelings differently than we do. While we use words, they convey emotions through actions. Licking is one of the most common ways dogs show their affection. So if your dog is giving your armpits a little extra attention, it might just be their unique way of saying, “I love you.”

While licking is a universal sign of canine love, each breed might have its own distinct gestures of affection. What’s endearing for a boxer may differ from a German shepherd’s love signals. So, next time your pup gets up close and personal with your armpits, remember: it’s just their way of letting you know they care.

Reason 4: Your Dog Wants To Groom You

Dogs often lick to groom, and your armpits may particularly intrigue them. The unique scent emanating from this area, influenced by deodorants, antiperspirants, or lotions, might seem unusual to them, prompting a grooming response. If your pup focuses on your armpits, it’s possible they’re attempting to “clean” you by licking away what they perceive as foreign scents.

Beyond cleanliness, grooming is a canine expression of trust and bonding. When your dog chooses to groom you, it highlights the strong bond you share. It’s a testament to the deep relationship you’ve nurtured together. So the next time your furry friend takes an interest in your armpits, take it as a compliment to the trust and bond you share.

Dogs aren’t the only pets to want to groom their owners! Check out this video of a pet rabbit grooming their human:

Reason 5: Your Dog Is Showing Their Submissiveness

Dogs communicate a world of emotions through their actions. While certain behaviors can come across as aggressive or destructive, many actions, like licking, are subtle signs of their internal state. When your dog licks your underarms, it may be their way of signaling submission.

This gesture is akin to a service, symbolizing their trust and vulnerability towards you. It’s their way of saying, “I recognize your leadership and mean no harm.” Alongside armpit licking, other submissive behaviors can be observed: crossed paws, a tucked tail, or lying belly-up in your presence.

Recognizing these signs is essential to understand the depth of respect and trust your dog holds for you.

Reason 6: You’re Encouraging The Behavior

Our behaviors have a significant influence on our dogs’ actions. While we commonly associate rewards with treats, for many dogs, mere attention is enough to keep the behavior going- whether that’s licking you or the floor.

Could it be that your unintentional reactions are encouraging your dog to continue licking your armpits? Every time they receive a response, whether it’s a laugh, a shout, or even just a look, it might be perceived as attention, reinforcing their behavior.

This positive reinforcement is also used in training, for instance, a trainer might reward a dog with a treat each time it sits, reinforcing the desired behavior.

If you suspect your reactions are promoting this behavior and wish to dissuade it, consider reducing the attention you give during these episodes. Simple measures, like momentarily ignoring or distancing yourself when they attempt to lick your armpits, can convey that such actions won’t earn them extra attention.

Reason 7: Your Puppy Is Feeling Curious

Just like with human babies, puppies like to explore the world around them by touching things and putting them in their mouths. Dogs don’t have hands so they tend to explore new things with their mouths by licking.

So, it’s not surprising that your puppy is licking you, even if that includes your armpits! After all, everything is new to them!

Why Does My Dog Lick My Deodorant?

As we’ve already explored above, dogs experience the world primarily through their keen sense of smell and taste, which often leads them to explore scents and flavors unfamiliar to them.

Your deodorant probably has a unique combination of fragrances, salts, and other chemicals that might intrigue your canine companion. Some natural deodorants might be even more appealing because the ingredients are more “natural” and it might remind your dog of food.

Should You Worry About This Behavior?

Your dog licking your armpits is generally harmless, often driven by curiosity or the taste. However, continuous exposure to deodorants or antiperspirants can be harmful due to potentially toxic ingredients.

If your dog suddenly starts this behavior after not showing any prior interest, it’s wise to consult a vet. Any sudden behavioral change warrants attention. Always reach out to your veterinarian with concerns; their primary goal is to ensure the well-being of your furry friend.

Final Thoughts

Our dogs can do some strange things and licking our armpits can be one of them!

It’s important to try to understand why our dogs do what they do because they can’t use words to communicate with us. The more we learn, observe, and understand their behaviors, the better job we can do as owners.

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