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All About Kisses

Your heart may melt just a little when your Cavie snuggles up and plants a kiss on your cheek.  It’s one of  those special mutually bonding moments and a memory that likely lingers.

But what exactly drives your dog’s licks? 

So, yes, that artfully placed kiss may indeed be a sign of affection, just as we like to think of it.  Yet, there are lots of other licking behaviors that signal different things.

Let’s start by noting that licking is instinctual in dogs.  Licking releases endorphins and dopamine in a dog’s brain, neurotransmitters associated with calm and pleasure.  It starts as a learned behavior at birth, as mothers lick their pups to stimulate several responses.

We also have to remember the nose in all of this.  They say that dogs can smell up to 100,000 times better than we do and they use that far more than taste when deciding what to lick.

Our bodies secrete all sorts of sweat, with tastes and smells very different from various body parts and uniquely yours.  Then kisses can indeed represent bonding and affection.

Furthermore, your hands pick up smells and tastes as you go through the day.  Come home from a day out and a few licks of your hands can tell them who you met with, what dog you petted, what you had for lunch, and so much more.  Yeah, they’re great detectives, our furry family.

Those kisses can likewise be seeking your attention, and of course, it’s hard to ignore.  But let’s also address when licking can be a concern.  Too much lick can be ick, because, well, it may not be very sanitary.  Then there’s the excessive licking that can be a sign of anxiety as they try to soothe themselves. 

When the licking is chronic, more than the common grooming, and especially when it’s one spot of their body, it can be a medical issue.  It can be a suggestion of an allergy, infection, or some other discomfort. 

You know what we’re going to say here, right?  If your pup’s licking seems problematic, seek help from your vet.

So, who knew a kiss could mean so much? 

Still, Cavalier cuddles and kisses are  high on the list of our most favorite things!


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