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Why Does My Dog Lick My Face When I Sleep


Why Does My Dog Lick My Face When I Sleep?

If you are a dog owner, you may have experienced the surprise of waking up to find your furry friend happily licking your face while you sleep. While this behavior may seem strange to some, there are actually several reasons why dogs engage in this behavior. Let’s explore some possible explanations for why your dog licks your face when you sleep:

1. Affection and bonding: Licking is a way for dogs to show love and affection. By licking your face, your dog is expressing their deep bond with you, as they often engage in this behavior with their favorite humans.

2. Taste and smell: Dogs have an exceptional sense of smell, and your face might still retain traces of food or other interesting scents. Licking allows them to explore and taste these smells, satisfying their curiosity.

3. Grooming behavior: Licking is a natural grooming behavior for dogs. Just as they lick themselves to keep clean, they might extend this behavior to their human companions.

4. Seeking attention: Dogs may lick your face to grab your attention. If they notice you are sleeping, they might want to wake you up or simply seek interaction.

5. Comfort and security: Dogs that lick your face when you sleep might do it to find comfort. Your scent may provide a sense of security and reassurance to them, especially when they are feeling anxious or stressed.

6. Habit and reinforcement: If your dog has engaged in this behavior before and received positive reinforcement or attention from you, they may repeat it as a learned habit.

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7. Social hierarchy: Licking is a common behavior among dogs to show submission to higher-ranking members of their pack. By licking your face, your dog might be acknowledging you as the pack leader.

8. Seeking moisture: Sometimes, dogs may lick your face simply because they are thirsty and seeking moisture. They might find the moisture on your skin refreshing, especially during hot weather or if they are dehydrated.


1. Is it safe for dogs to lick my face?

While most of the time it is harmless, you should be cautious if your dog has any wounds or infections in their mouth. Additionally, some people may be allergic to dog saliva, so it’s essential to consider individual health factors.

2. How can I discourage this behavior?

Redirect your dog’s attention by offering them a toy or treat when they start licking your face. Additionally, teaching the “off” command can help them understand when it’s not appropriate to engage in face licking.

3. Can face licking transmit diseases?

Although rare, it is possible for certain bacteria or parasites to be transmitted through licking. Regular veterinary care, including vaccinations and deworming, can help prevent any potential health risks.

4. Why does my dog only lick my face when I sleep?

Your dog might see this as an opportunity to bond with you without distractions. They may also be more inclined to seek your attention while you are less active.

5. How can I maintain personal space while sleeping?

Creating boundaries by using baby gates or closing the bedroom door can help prevent your dog from accessing your sleeping area.

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6. Is face licking a sign of dominance?

While licking can be a submissive behavior, it’s important to consider other body language cues to understand the context and overall behavior of your dog.

7. Should I allow my dog to lick my face?

This is a personal choice and depends on your comfort level. If you don’t mind and it doesn’t cause any harm, it can be a way to strengthen your bond with your dog.

8. How can I redirect the licking behavior?

Teaching your dog alternative behaviors, such as “sit” or “shake paw,” can redirect their attention away from face licking. Consistency and positive reinforcement are key in training.

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