13 Strange Reasons Why Dogs Lick Each Other’s Eyes

Have you ever noticed your dog licking another dog’s eyes and thought it was strange? Don’t worry, there are actually fascinating explanations as to why our furry friends engage in this behavior. 

Although many people may find such an action odd or even gross, understanding the reasons behind it can help us better appreciate how amazing canine companions are!

In this blog post, we will explore 13 of the most common reasons that answer the question of why do dogs lick each other’s eyes. We will also provide some tips on how to discourage your pup from excessively licking other dogs’ eyes. 

Let’s jump in!

a puppy is licking a long haired chihuahua's eye

Why Do Dogs Lick Each Other’s Eyes?

Dogs lick each other’s eyes to show affection, groom each other, and to appease. They also lick other dogs’ eyes as a form of communication, as a greeting, or because they love the taste.

When two dogs are playing, licking one another’s eyes expresses trust and builds their bond.

This behavior is very common in canine social interactions and can indicate a friendly relationship between two dogs. 

13 Reasons Why Dogs Lick Each Other’s Eyes

1. To Show Affection

Dogs often lick each other’s eyes to show affection and bond. It’s a way of saying, “I love you.” 

When two pups are already pals or live in the same household, they tend to express their affection and companionship through eye licking. It’s a sweet way for them to show their love and appreciation for one another. 

2. To Groom Each Other 

two dogs are licking each other's eyes

If you’re wondering “why do dogs lick other dogs’ eyes,” the most common reason is grooming.

Dogs often clean and groom each other’s eyes with their tongues to help each other out. Dirt, eye boogers, and other debris can accumulate in the eyes over time, so licking helps keep these areas clean.

Dogs usually clean their eyes with their paw but that can be a bit difficult or one of their nails could scratch their eye, so licking each other’s eyes is an easier way to do it. 

Personal hygiene is important for all animals, so this behavior can be beneficial as long as it’s not excessive.

3. To Appease 

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. To Communicate

Dogs often lick each other’s eyes as a form of communication, just like barking or wagging their tail.

When two dogs are playing, licking one another’s eye can be a sign of trust and understanding between them. It can also be used to get another dog’s attention and say that they need something.

Eye licking can also communicate dominance or submission, depending on which dog initiates the eye licking. 

These communication behaviors are part of canine body language, which is why it’s important to pay attention when your pup licks another dog’s eyes. 

5. 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.

6. Comfort

Dogs may lick each other’s eyes to provide comfort and reassurance. This behavior is often seen when one dog is scared or needs a calming presence. Dogs can get scared of brooms, flies, strangers, balloons, and loud noises.

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. Licking helps to relieve stress and provides a calming presence.

If a pup is feeling anxious or scared, some other behaviors they might exhibit include burying their head into you, headbutting you, wrapping their paws around you, or licking bed sheets. It’s their way of saying they need some extra love.

7. Play Invitation

Dogs may also lick each other’s eyes as an invitation to play. This behavior happens when one dog wants to appear friendly and is inviting the other to join in on the fun. 

They may even get into a play bow position to further emphasize their invitation. It’s a way of saying, “Let’s play!” and can indicate a strong bond between two dogs. 

Read next: 24 Fun Games to Play with Your Dog

8. Greeting

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

Why does my dog lick my other dog’s eyes when they meet another dog? When two dogs meet, they lick each other’s eyes as a greeting. It’s their way of saying, “Hello!”

When two dogs meet, 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.

9. Obsessive Disorder

In some cases, dogs may lick each other’s eyes excessively. This could be a sign of an obsessive-compulsive disorder or anxiety in one or both dogs. 

Other obsessive behaviors include tail-chasing, circling, and licking furniture or other objects. If you see any of these behaviors in your pup, it’s best to speak with your vet or an animal behaviorist for advice.

10. Being a Parent

You may have observed a mother of a young litter licking her puppies’ faces, eyes, and ears. This is an innate instinct to cleanse their offspring and to hide the scent of the litter. It helps to protect them from predators and ensures their survival. 

Mother dogs lick their puppies’ eyes to clean them and keep the area free from infection. The mother dog cleans away any dirt or debris that has gathered around the eyes, as well as providing comfort and reassurance.

11. 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!

12. Puppy Hunger

Puppies may also lick another dog’s eyes if they are feeling hungry. Licking is a way of seeking attention and asking for food. 

When a puppy licks their mother’s face, it often means they are seeking nourishment. Puppies are asking for help and looking for the mother dog to take care of them.

Puppies commonly lick the faces of other canines to remind them that they need something. For example, a pup may use this tactic with their mother in order to convey that it is time for feeding.

13. Bonding

Dogs licking each other’s eyes is also a way of bonding. This behavior can strengthen the connection between two dogs, as it communicates trust and comfort. 

Licking eyes is an intimate display of loyalty and trust between two dogs. This kind of bond is important for a dog’s mental and emotional well-being. 

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. It is important to monitor your dogs and make sure that they are not licking each other’s eyes too often or for too long. 

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. By providing an easy and enjoyable distraction, you can help bring peace of mind to them.

Spread some peanut butter, yogurt, or wet dog food on it and let your dog go to town. Not only will it reduce stress and boredom, but you’ll also get to watch their excitement in action!

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. 


Why do dog’s lick each other’s eyes? This normal 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.

However, licking can be problematic if done excessively. To discourage this behavior, owners should supervise their dogs when they are together, redirect the behavior, and provide them with alternative ways of expressing licking behaviors such as Kongs or Lickimats.


Why Does My Dog Lick Other Dogs’ Ears?

There are multiple explanations why your dog licks 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 is a behavior that has many potential explanations. It 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.

Related posts:

Similar Posts