What Does It Mean When Your Dog Licks You Before Sleep? Here are 8 Theories

Have you ever been lying in bed, ready to drift off to sleep, only to have your dog come up and start licking your face? It’s a strange behavior many pet owners have experienced, but what does it mean when your dog licks you before bed? This blog post will examine ten theories about why dogs lick us before sleep. From affection to wanting attention, these theories offer a fascinating insight into the behavior of our four-legged friends. So, read on to find out what your dog is trying to tell you before you drift off to sleep!

Theory #1: They’re Telling You They Love You

As humans, we often express our love through words or physical touch. However, for dogs, licking is one of their ways of expressing affection towards their owners. If your furry friend likes to give you a good lick before bedtime, it could be their way of saying, “I love you.”
Dogs are social animals with a deep connection with their owners. Licking is a way for them to bond and strengthen that connection. Some studies have shown that when a dog licks their owner’s face, the dog and the human experience a release of oxytocin, a hormone that promotes social bonding and reduces stress.
When your dog licks you before bedtime, it’s their way of showing their affection towards you. They want you to know that they love and appreciate all you do for them. So, next time your dog gives you a goodnight kiss, know that it’s a sign of their deep love and affection towards you.

why do dogs lick you before bed

Theory #2: They Want Your Attention

Dogs are social animals, and they crave attention from their owners. So, when your dog licks you before bed, it could be a sign that they want your attention. Your dog might feel like they haven’t had enough of your company during the day, so they want to spend extra time with you before sleeping.
This is particularly true if you’ve been busy during the day and haven’t given your dog the attention they need. In such cases, your dog may try to seek attention by licking you before bed. So, if your dog licks you before bedtime, it might be time to give them some extra playtime or cuddles.
However, if your dog is licking you too much or in a way that makes you uncomfortable, it’s essential to set some boundaries. You can redirect their behavior by giving them a toy to play with or gently pushing them away. This will help your dog learn other ways to seek your attention rather than just licking you.
Overall, if your dog licks you before bed, it could be a sign that they want your attention. Understanding their behavior and responding accordingly is essential to make them feel loved and comfortable. With the right balance of attention and boundaries, you can ensure that your dog’s behavior stays within reasonable limits and strengthens your bond with them.


Theory #3: They Smell Something Strange on You

Another reason your dog may be licking you before bed is that they’ve picked up a scent on your skin that they find intriguing or strange. Dogs have a sense of smell around 100,000 times stronger than ours, so it’s not surprising that they can detect odors that we can’t.
It could be something as simple as a new perfume or lotion you’ve been using or something more significant, such as an underlying medical condition. Dogs have been known to detect certain types of cancer in their owners by sniffing out odd scents.
So if your dog is licking you more than usual before bed, it might be worth taking note of any recent changes in your body odor or health. Of course, if you’re concerned, it’s always best to consult a healthcare professional.
In most cases, though, your dog is curious about the new smell and wants to investigate it further. They might lick you to get a better taste of the scent or to help mask it with their fragrance. Whatever the reason, it’s a reminder of how powerful a dog’s sense of smell can be.

Theory #4: They Want to Taste Your Skin

This theory might seem strange, but some experts suggest that dogs lick their owners’ skin before bed because they enjoy the taste of it. Dogs have a keen sense of smell and taste, and they might be drawn to the salty taste of your skin.
Furthermore, some dogs may even have a compulsive licking behavior called acral lick dermatitis. This behavior is usually a sign of anxiety or boredom and can lead to skin irritation or infection. If you notice that your dog is licking your skin excessively, it’s essential to redirect their attention to something more appropriate, like a chew toy or a puzzle feeder.
Another reason why dogs might be licking your skin before bed is because they are trying to get your attention. Perhaps they want to go outside, are hungry, or need water. By licking you, they communicate their needs and hope you’ll respond. In this case, paying attention to your dog’s behavior and providing them with the necessary care and attention is essential.
Overall, while it might seem strange that your dog wants to taste your skin, there are several potential reasons why they might be doing so. If you’re concerned about your dog’s behavior or health, it’s always best to consult your veterinarian to ensure they’re happy and healthy.

why do dogs lick you before bed

Theory #5: They’re Checking for Injuries

Another possible reason why dogs lick you before bed is that they’re checking for injuries. Dogs are instinctively programmed to groom their pack members, and when they lick you, they might be looking for any signs of damage or illness that could harm the pack.
If your dog is paying extra attention to one specific area of your body, it could be a sign that something is wrong. They might even be able to sense an injury or illness before you can, so pay attention to their behavior. If they’re persistently licking the same area or acting anxious or restless, having a medical professional check it out is a good idea.
However, it’s important to note that this behavior could also result from their grooming instincts. Just because your dog is licking, you don’t necessarily mean anything wrong with your health.
Overall, when your dog licks you before bed, there are numerous potential reasons why they might be doing it. Each dog is unique, so it’s up to you to observe their behavior and determine which theory makes the most sense for your pet. Understanding why your dog is licking, you can help deepen your bond with them and enhance your communication with one another.

Theory #6: They Know You’re Relaxed, and They Want to Play

Have you ever noticed that your dog seems more energized when you’re winding down for the night? It could be because they know you’re relaxed and ready for playtime. Dogs are highly attuned to their owner’s emotions, and when they sense that you’re in a calm state, they might take it as an invitation to engage in some fun and games.
Many dogs love to play before bed, as it helps them release pent-up energy and settle down for the night. If your dog licks you before sleep and then starts bringing you toys or nudging you with their nose, it could be a sign that they want to play. Try tossing a ball or playing a quick game of tug-of-war to help them burn off some energy before settling in for the night.
It’s important to note that not all dogs want to play before bed. Some might prefer to cuddle or relax with their owner. Please pay attention to your dog’s body language and behavior to determine what they’re in the mood for. If they seem excited and playful, by all means, engage in some playtime. But if they’re more content to rest, give them the space to unwind.
Overall, your dog’s desire to play before bed is likely a reflection of their affection for you and their desire to spend quality time with their favorite human. By giving them the attention they crave, you can help them feel loved and fulfilled – and ensure a restful night’s sleep for both of you.

why do dogs lick you before bed

Theory #7: They Want to Comfort You

Dogs are known for their unwavering loyalty and affection towards their owners. So, it’s unsurprising that they may want to comfort you before bed. Your dog can sense when you’re feeling down or stressed, and they’ll do their best to make you feel better.
If you’re upset or anxious, your dog may lick you to calm you down. This is because licking releases endorphins, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that being around dogs can positively affect our mental health.
Another way your dog may comfort you is by snuggling up to you before bed. This physical contact can help reduce loneliness and promote a sense of security.
Dogs have also been known to lick wounds to promote healing. So, if you have a cut or scrape, your dog may be trying to comfort you by licking the affected area.
Your dog’s desire to comfort you before bed indicates their love and loyalty towards you. So, the next time your furry friend starts licking you, take it as a sign that they want to make you feel better.

why do dogs lick you before bed

Theory #8: They Can Sense When You’re Sad or Stressed

Dogs are incredibly empathetic creatures who can pick up on their owner’s emotions. If you’re feeling down or stressed, your dog may lick you to offer comfort and support.
Research has shown that dogs can read human emotions and facial expressions, and they may be able to sense when you’re feeling sad or anxious. They may even be able to pick up on changes in your scent or body language that indicate you’re feeling stressed.
When your dog licks you in these situations, it may be a way of offering you comfort and trying to alleviate your stress. The act of licking releases endorphins in your dog’s brain, which can have a calming effect on both you and your pet.
So, if your dog is licking you before bed and you’re feeling stressed or sad, embrace their affection and let them help you unwind. It may be just what you need to relax and get a good night’s sleep.


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