Basic education

Do Dogs Like Kisses?

Ameera Mills
By Ameera Mills. Updated: November 13, 2018
Do Dogs Like Kisses?

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Many people show affection to their dogs through hugs and, especially, kisses. Some dogs react in a way that seems reciprocal, with licks, while others can growl and turn their faces away. Faced with situations like these, it’s worth asking ... Do dogs like kisses? And to be completely honest, it depends on the dog.

If you want to know more about whether dogs like kisses, keep reading this AnimalWised article for more. In addition, we will be discussing whether it is good to kiss your dog, exploring whether dogs understand kisses and general dog behavior!

You may also be interested in: Why Do Dogs Like Their Belly Rubbed?


  1. Dog Kisses- Why do we kiss dogs?
  2. Dog Kisses- Do dogs understand kisses?
  3. Dog kisses- How do dogs feel when you kiss them?
  4. Why do dogs lick people?
  5. Is it safe to kiss a dog?

Dog Kisses- Why do we kiss dogs?

For human beings, showing affection is extremely important and part and parcel of our nature. Kisses, caresses and hugs are just some ways in which humans show and share their love and affection. This is in addition to actions, such as: caring for the well-being and welfare of others.

Such behaviors can be directed towards other humans, such as friends and family, but also towards our beloved pets. However, many times we do not understand that dogs are a different species. And as with all species, everyone has different codes and ways of expressing themselves; different from our own.

That is why, before kissing your dog, you need to know that dogs will react differently to kissing. Some dogs respond to kissing with licking and energetic tail movements and might even approach their human partners to give them licks voluntarily. Other dogs, on the contrary, may remain quiet when they receive kisses from their humans, while third parties can react violently, with grunts and growls. Kissing your dog can result in different reactions, as some dogs find human kisses lovely, while others find them threatening.

Do Dogs Like Kisses? - Dog Kisses- Why do we kiss dogs?

Dog Kisses- Do dogs understand kisses?

When it comes to understanding a dog’s body language, the most important thing is to respect our animals. Kissing, for example, is something which does not exist within canine nature. Dogs don’t kiss. You may assume that dogs licking is an equivalent to a human’s kiss, but the truth is that it is not. Dogs in fact recognize the difference between a human kiss and their own licking.

In principle, if you have just adopted a dog and cover it in kisses; it will most likely be confused and react negatively. Kissing your dog, in this case, might make the newly adopted animal feel threatened. Dogs, in such situations, might respond by remaining very still, known commonly as ‘‘inhibition’’, or by growling. This rejection is a natural reaction, as for the dog, the act of ‘‘kissing’’ is incomprehensible. With time, however, your dog will slowly become accustomed to the fact that this is the way in which you show affection.

Only once a dog knows you, can they learn to associate your actions with meaning. Despite this, there are still some dogs that will never like to be kissed, and this too is normal: as it depends on the dog.

Dog kisses- How do dogs feel when you kiss them?

As we have already explained, if you kiss a newly adopted dog, it will most probably feel confused and react by rejecting you. Having you so close to it’s snout can cause anxiety in your dog, and therefore, if this is the case, we recommend respecting your dog. It is your decision whether you train your dog to see these kisses as a positive reaction, such as a form of positive reinforcement.

Once or if you dog becomes accustomed to your kisses and understands what they mean, they might even look for and or ask for these human kisses as a form of affection. If, however, after training positive reinforcement, you still see that your dog is reacting negatively to your kisses; stop giving them!

Do Dogs Like Kisses? - Dog kisses- How do dogs feel when you kiss them?

Why do dogs lick people?

Licking is a habitual and instinctive behavior in dogs. In fact, dogs carry out this licking habit from when they are puppies, but what does dog licking mean? It is motivated by several reasons.

From puppies, dogs lick muzzles of other dogs. For example, puppies lick their parents in order to receive warmth from them. Dogs also lick their parents while waiting for them to regurgitate some food. Dogs don’t expect actually being fed this way, in fact, they lick to know where their parents have been and what they have eaten.

In the case of adult dogs that have associated kissing as one of your forms of affection, licking represents a response to demonstrations of affection. That is why it is common that, when you get home from work: your dog will welcome you with licks on the face. That is, it is their way of greeting and also giving you affection.

When it comes to babies dog licking becomes a little more interesting. Dogs love babies and children, but if a child pulls at its tail or ears, a dog might respond by licking the child’s face. Contrary to what you might believe, this is not a demonstration of affection. A dog knows that when licking a baby, it will make the baby move away from him/her.

Is it safe to kiss a dog?

Is it safe to kiss a dog? is a question which has stirred much controversial discussions in and among many people. While there are those who claim that dogs can transmit dangerous bacteria to human through saliva, some argue that they only enrich their own bacterial flora and reinforce their immune systems.

The truth is that both points hold some truth. Neilanjan Nandi, a professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Drexel (Philadelphia), says that a dog’s body contains a large number of viruses and bacteria that humans are unable to fight. This is not only because they are a different species , but also because dogs tend to bite and lick all kinds of things when walking. As well as sometimes consuming feces of other dogs.

Many of these bacteria are zoonotic, meaning that they can spread from dogs to people and vice versa. However, Leni Kaplan, of the University of Cornell, also notes that the negative effect of these bacteria can be reduced or even nullified in healthy people with strong immune systems.

In conclusion, it is best to avoid your dog licking your mouth. In addition, do not forget to keep up to date with your dog’s vaccine and deworming schedules. We also recommend monitoring your dog while they walk, making sure that they do not consume any dangerous waste.

Do Dogs Like Kisses? - Is it safe to kiss a dog?

If you liked this article on whether or not dogs like kisses, take a look at our YouTube video below about what cats thing about them!

If you want to read similar articles to Do Dogs Like Kisses?, we recommend you visit our Basic education category.

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I know that kissing is not "dog" behaviour but both of mine have learnt kissing from me and now not only do they seem to enjoy my kisses (and kiss me back), but they even kiss each other!!
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Charlie,

There are always exceptions, but it is also important to note the difference between a kiss and a lick. Dogs will lick people, other dogs or even inanimate objects so they can get information from their scent and other biological secretions. The problem is usually when we go in for a kiss as it can feel to the dog like their security is being threatened. But we're glad you seem to have such a strong bond with your dog, there is obviously love there.
Very helpful! but i was wondering, does my dog know that I love him when I kiss him. sometimes he pulls away and other times he doesn´t? what does this mean,because i´m sure he knows.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi MaryH,

Here is an article which might help you out!:
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Do Dogs Like Kisses?