8 Reasons Why Dogs Lick Each Other’s Eyes

Why do dogs lick each other’s eyes? Have you ever noticed this behavior and thought it was strange?

Our dog has done this before and although many may find it odd or gross, understanding the reasons behind it can help us better appreciate how amazing canine companions are!

In this blog post, we will explore 8 of the most common reasons and provide some tips on how to discourage your pup from excessively licking other dogs’ eyes. 

a puppy is licking a long haired chihuahua's eye

13 Reasons Why Dogs Lick Each Other’s Eyes

1. To Show Affection

When dogs, especially pals or housemates, lick each other’s eyes, it’s a sign of affection and bonding.

This sweet behavior is a way for them to show love and appreciation for one another.

Our Chihuahua licks his doggy friend’s eyes and it’s adorable.

2. To Groom Each Other 

two dogs are licking each other's eyes

The most common reason dogs lick each other’s eyes is grooming.

Using their tongues, they help clean dirt, eye discharge, and debris from each other’s eyes.

While dogs typically clean their own eyes with their paws, licking is a safer and easier way to ensure thorough cleaning without the risk of scratching the eye with a nail.

3. Appeasement/Submission 

Dogs lick each other’s eyes to appease another dog or show submission. 

When your pup licks another pup’s eyes, it’s their way of showing respect and a sign that they don’t want to cause any trouble.

This behavior is often seen when one dog wants to demonstrate that he is not a threat. 

Appeasement licks tend to be quick.

While plenty of dogs go for the eyes, some opt for the muzzle instead.

Other appeasement behaviors are rolling over and exposing the belly, crouching, lying down, and avoiding direct eye contact. 

4. Taste

Dogs have an affinity for licking each other’s eyes to get a taste of their tears.

This is due in part to the salty flavor that dogs are naturally attracted to, which explains why they often lick human legs or inside noses or even belly buttons!

Dogs with tear stains or watery eyes are more likely to be licked by other dogs since the constant tears draw them in.

For example, Chihuahuas typically have tear stains and appear as if they’re crying all the time so they might seem like an irresistible temptation to other pups.

5. Comfort

Dogs can also use licking as a way to comfort or soothe themselves.

Dogs may lick a companion’s eyes or face if they are feeling scared, stressed, or anxious.

Dogs can get scared of brooms, flies, strangers, balloons, and loud noises.

If a pup is feeling anxious or scared, some other behaviors they might exhibit include burying their head into you, headbutting you, or wrapping their paws around you.

6. Greeting

one dog is standing a licking another dog's eyes who is lying down

When two dogs meet and they lick each other’s eyes it’s their way of saying, “Hello!”

They will often greet each other by licking the eyes and muzzle of the other dog.

It communicates status between dogs and it allows them to share information about each other.

7. Mothering

You may have observed a mother of a young litter licking her puppies’ faces, eyes, and ears.

Mother dogs instinctively lick their puppies’ faces, eyes, and ears to cleanse them and mask the litter’s scent, aiding in their protection from predators for survival.

Licking their eyes keeps the puppies clean and infection-free.

8. To Clean Wounds

If your dog is licking other dogs, it could be to clean any wounds or cuts near the eyes.

Licking helps keep the area clean and can prevent infection. 

Dogs have a natural instinct to lick a wound to aid in healing any existing wounds.

Chances are your pup is simply trying their best to comfort the other canine with a bit of natural first aid!

Should I Let My Dogs Lick Each Other’s Eyes?

two black and white puppies sit in a basket while one licks the other's eye

Licking each other’s eyes is normal behavior in canine social interactions, so as long as the other dog is comfortable with it, it is generally safe to let your dogs do so. 

However, if one of the dogs appears agitated or uncomfortable with the licking, then it’s best to stop them and keep the dogs apart. 

Your dog’s licking behavior can sometimes lead to excessive eye cleaning and irritation.

If you notice that one of your dogs is licking the other’s eyes excessively, it may be best to separate them and get professional advice.  

How to Discourage Eye Licking?

If your dog won’t stop licking your other dog’s eyes, it’s best to discourage their behavior. Here are a few tips.

Supervise and Redirect

When you are around, keep an eye on your dogs and try to intervene if you notice one licking the other’s eyes.

When you notice your dogs licking each other’s eyes, redirect their attention to something else like a toy or a treat so they focus on that.

Mental Stimulation

Make sure that you are providing your dogs with plenty of attention, exercise, and mental stimulation.

This will help to keep them from getting bored and resorting to licking each other’s eyes as a form of entertainment. 

Give a Kong or Lickimat

Combat your pup’s anxiousness with a Lickmat or Kong!

This will keep them occupied and provide them with an alternative way to express their licking behavior.

Licking releases endorphins, so this is an ideal solution to help your dogs stay calm and relaxed.

Spread some peanut butter, yogurt, or wet dog food on it, and let your dog go to town.

Consult a Professional 

If the behavior persists and you are unable to get your dogs to stop licking each other’s eyes, it may be best to consult a professional for further advice.

A vet or animal behaviorist can provide you with tips on how to discourage the behavior and ensure that your dogs stay healthy. 


This eye-licking behavior serves many purposes. From communication to grooming, cleaning wounds, or even because they enjoy the salty taste.

Even though we might think it’s gross, it’s important to understand why dogs lick each other’s eyes and why it is a normal part of canine social interaction.


Why Does My Dog Lick Other Dogs’ Ears?

It could be a show of affection and bonding, an attention-seeking behavior, or even part of their greeting ritual. Dogs also groom each other’s ears because they like the taste of ear wax. 

Why Does My Dog Lick Other Dogs’ Mouths?

Dogs licking each other’s mouths could be a way for dogs to show submission, say sorry, or even initiate play. 

It could also be an indication of hunger in puppies. If a puppy is licking another dog’s mouth, it may be a sign that they are ready to eat or that they’re not getting enough to eat. 

Why Do Dogs Lick Each Other’s Privates?

Dogs may lick each other’s privates as a way to greet another dog or to groom one another. It could also be a sign of submissive behavior or a way to show affection. 

When canines lick each other’s private areas, it means they are curious and are getting to know one another better.

Why Does My Dog Lick the Floor?

Dogs lick the floor for various reasons, such as to seek attention, explore their surroundings, or even to hoover up crumbs from the floor. 

Floor licking could also be a sign of anxiety or an obsessive-compulsive disorder, so it’s best to consult a vet if this is a new behavior.

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