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Is It Safe for My Dog to Lick My Wounds?

September 02, 2021

Why Does My Dog Lick My Wounds?

Have you ever wondered why your dog constantly licks your wounds? Our dogs are incredibly sensitive beings. Whenever they feel that they are physically in pain, they would know it. And since they lick their own wounds to relieve the pain, they tend to do this to humans as well. In this article, we will help you understand the natural behavior of dogs, so you will know how to interact with them. 

Why do dogs lick wounds?

Just like how a mother dog licks the wounds of her pups, your dog picks up this instinct and will try to care for you by licking if you hurt yourself. Other animals such as cats, rodents and primates lick their wounds as well to aid their defense to infection. No wonder why our pet dogs lick us whenever we get physically hurt - they feel responsible and want to care for us as our loving companions. Licking promotes affection and communication as well, since dogs consider us humans as a member of their pack, or family.

An animal's natural instinct tells them that their wounds need to be soothed to relieve their pain whenever they get hurt. They will do everything to quickly tend to their wounds, as a dog's saliva has a tissue factor that promotes a blood clotting mechanism and help cleanse the infected area. 

What happens when my dog licks my wounds?

Canine saliva indeed contains cleansing and healing properties, BUT excessive licking of the wound can cause infections in your cut, and it may be unhealthy for your dog, either. Moreover, your dog's mouth may contain tons of bacteria that can lead to infection. If you have an infected wound, no matter how big or small it is, you must see a physician to treat it properly. Please do not rely on your dog's saliva for its alleged healing properties because the other bacteria present in your dog's mouth will surely do more harm than good. 

When a dog licks their own wounds heavily, it could lead to their stitches breaking down, the wound re-opened and exposed to infection and dirt. This can lead them to damage their skin as well, so better monitor your dog when they lick themselves excessively. 

What if my dog doesn't like to lick my wound?

On the other hand, if your dog does not want to lick your wound, don't force them. In the end, it is better to consult your veterinarian regarding licking to ensure that both you and your dog are safe. 

Aside from licking, there are other forms of care and communication between your dog and you, so it would be helpful to explore other options too. Animals can show different ways of comforting you too. If you want, you can encourage them to cuddle with you, spend time and play with you, or even lick your face instead.