13 Surprising Reasons Why Chihuahuas Lick Inside Your Nose

Does your Chihuahua go looking for gold in your nose?

Is there something special about noses that make them irresistible to dogs or is it just a weird quirk that dogs have?

Our rescue Chihuahua, Leo, loves to lick up our noses so we researched this peculiar habit to figure out why that is.

What compels Chihuahuas to partake in this amusing behavior?

Let’s answer the question why do Chihuahuas lick inside your nose and learn how to manage this behavior.

a woman is holding a white chihuahua with its tongue out. the woman is turning away with a scrunched up face

Why Do Chihuahuas Lick Inside Your Nose?

Chihuahuas lick up your nose to convey their love and excitement when owners come home. This delightful gesture can also be a sign of submission, curiosity, or simply something that’s been reinforced over time. 

Fun fact: by licking up your nose, Chihuahuas are able to obtain more information from the scent they pick up!

Let’s go into more detail about why Chihuahuas lick inside your nose.

13 Reasons Why Chihuahuas Lick Inside Your Nose

1. Affection

a woman with a black dog licking up her nose

From your pup’s point of view, giving you a couple of licks on the nose is one way to show their love and affection.

Chihuahuas are known for forming strong connections with their owners, so licking your nose may be an adorable way they choose to bond with you.

If you’re thinking “why does my dog lick up my nose,” it’s to give you special kisses, which is incredibly cute! 

Other quirky displays of affection include headbutting, following you around, wrapping their paws around you, or burying their head into you.

2. Grooming

For dogs, licking is a natural way of grooming themselves – and sometimes their owners!

They may be working to keep you nice and clean by licking away any dirt or debris from your nose.

Dogs even have a tendency to lick other dogs’ eyes for grooming purposes.

It’s no surprise that these adorable dogs are always trying to make sure their owners look their best!

So while this behavior may seem strange, Chihuahuas are simply trying to groom you the way they would groom themselves.

3. Enjoy Licking and Reduce Stress

Why do dogs lick inside your nose? Simply because they love licking and it’s in their nature.

Licking releases endorphins in the brain, which helps them feel relaxed and content.

So when your pup licks you, remember – it creates a relaxing effect and reduces stress!

It’s also possible that their licking behavior is a way of self-calming; when they’re feeling anxious or stressed, the act of licking may provide a sense of comfort.

They may even resort to licking your bed sheets!

4. Attention

Dogs will go the extra mile to get your attention – crying, barking, tipping over their water bowl, and wrapping their paws around you – all in an effort for you to notice them. 

Chihuahuas are known for being attention seekers.

If your dog licks your nose, they may be seeking out a little extra love and affection from you, so don’t be surprised if they start licking up your nose! 

Dogs are very smart animals and quickly learn that if they do something like licking your nose, it will result in them receiving attention from you.

Read more: Why do Chihuahuas bark so much?

5. Taste

Another reason is because of the taste!

Chihuahuas are natural scavengers, and they use their sense of taste to explore the world around them.

They love the flavor of salt, and noses can be a source of that flavor! 

So when your Chihuahua licks inside your nose, they’re just trying to get a taste of salty goodness or of any food you recently ate.

6. To Express Emotions

a woman is at the park with her brown and white dog who is licking inside her nose

Why do Chihuahuas lick up your nose?

This is one way your dog might be expressing emotions such as excitement or boredom. 

When Chihuahuas are really excited to see you, licking up your nose is a way to show that excitement and joy.

Nothing says “I’m so glad to see you!” quite like a warm wet kiss up the nose.

If your dog seems bored and wants to play or go for a walk, they may start licking your nose out of boredom or a desire for stimulation.

It’s their way of telling you that they are ready for some fun!

7. Instinct 

Instinct is responsible for a lot of dog behaviors.

After dogs are born, mothers often clean their pups with their tongues.

They lick their noses to clear away mucus or debris so their puppies can breathe properly.

This instinct may still be present in adult Chihuahuas, and they might be trying to clean your nose when they lick it.

Puppies typically display this instinctive behavior which can carry over into adulthood.

8. Curiosity 

a black and white chihuahua is licking its nose and wearing a blue bowtie

Why do dogs lick up your nose? Out of curiosity!

Dogs are naturally curious creatures, and they may be drawn to your nose because of its unique texture or scent.

Dogs can become fascinated with noses just like with belly buttons!

The breath coming out of your nose may also be intriguing to them, and they may be drawn in by the smell of some food you recently ate.

Licking your nose is just your Chihuahua’s way of exploring their environment and discovering new sensations.

They may also be trying to get some tidbits of your last meal.

9. To Enhance Scent

Have you ever seen a Chihuahua licking the air?

This unique behavior isn’t just for show, as it helps them to gain more insight into their environment!

Through their sense of smell and taste, they can become even better acquainted with their surroundings.

Licking allows dogs to paint a vivid mental image of the environment around them and process all the smells.

By licking up your nose, they are attempting to get more accurate information about you than if they relied on smell alone.

Read more: Why do Chihuahuas lick so much?

10. Submission

Dogs communicate respect and show submission by licking the muzzle of other dogs.

This is an instinctual action that dogs engage in especially when meeting another dog for the first time.

This same behavior can be seen in a Chihuahua towards their human owners, and it’s one way they show their respect and submission. 

Other submissive behaviors include exposing their abdomen, flattened ears, a lowered tail, grinning, and urination.

11. Greeting

If your dog likes to lick up your nose, it could be a sign they’re delighted to see you!

Your Chihuahua is trying to greet you with a ‘kiss’ by licking your nose. 

A lot of dogs greet their humans by licking your face, nose, or ears.

You may find when you wake up in the morning or when you come home, your Chihuahua will offer a warm welcome by licking up your nose. 

12. Sadness or Illness

If you are feeling down or sick, your Chihuahua may try to cheer you up or show their concern by licking your nose.

Not only can dogs sense when we’re having an off day, but they try to show their affection by giving us this special gesture of comfort and support.

If you have a runny nose, they may be curious and try to lick it. 

13. Reinforced Behavior

a woman is lying on a bed with a brown chihuahua on top of her chest who is sniffing her mouth

Your Chihuahua may have learned that licking your nose is an effective way to get your attention or get a reaction from you.

They think it will result in a reward, whether that’s pets, treats, or playtime. 

Since this behavior has been reinforced in the past, they may continue to do it as a way of getting something from you.

Should I Let My Dog Lick Up My Nose?

Whether you allow your Chihuahua to lick up your nose is ultimately a personal decision.

You may appreciate the love and affection they are expressing with this cute behavior, but you should also consider your health. 

Dog saliva is home to bacteria, and if your Chihuahua has been licking other animals or eating poop, their tongue may not be the cleanest.

If you don’t have a compromised immune system, you are probably safe, but it’s best to err on the side of caution. 

If you are concerned about the health risks or would rather not feel your Chihuahua’s tongue up your nose, we will go over how to discourage this behavior next.

How To Discourage Nose Licking

Initially, the occasional nose lick may appear harmless; however, if left unchecked it can quickly become a regular habit if not addressed properly. 

It’s important to remember that licking is a natural behavior for dogs so punishing them for doing it isn’t recommended. 

Redirect the Behavior

When your dog starts to lick your nose, try redirecting their focus by giving them toys or treats to get them away from your nose.

They will start to associate positive things with not engaging in this behavior. 

You can also ask them for a different behavior like “sit” or “paw”  to help direct their focus away from the behavior you don’t want.

And of course, make sure to reward them for good choices!

Choose from these 5 treats perfect for Chihuahuas to get you started with positive reinforcement training!

Don’t Reward the Behavior

If licking your nose has become a learned behavior, it’s important to not reward or acknowledge your dog when they do this.

Don’t praise them for licking your nose.

This reinforces the behavior and can make it harder to break in the long run. 

Mental Stimulation

Ensuring that your dog receives enough mental stimulation is vital to deter them from excessively licking up your nose.

Luckily, lick mats and Kongs can satisfy your Chihuahua’s craving for licking while also providing a stimulating activity!

They will also help keep your dog’s stress levels in check.

Give Affection and Attention

Make sure to spend quality time with your Chihuahua and give them plenty of cuddles, affection, and love!

It will help keep them feeling secure and content, which will, in turn, discourage them from feeling the need to lick up your nose. 


Licking up your nose is a common but amusing behavior among dogs.

So, why do Chihuahuas lick inside your nose?

They may be trying to greet you, show affection or submission, ask for attention, express excitement, or indicate they are concerned about your health. 

This behavior can be both endearing and annoying depending on one’s perspective!

The best ways to manage this behavior are by redirecting their focus, not rewarding the behavior, and ensuring that your pet gets enough mental stimulation.

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