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Why does my Dog Lick Urine of Other Dogs?

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. August 29, 2017
Why does my Dog Lick Urine of Other Dogs?

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The natural behavior of dogs is something that never ceases to amaze us. It's no wonder, especially if you've ever witnessed your dog licking urine. As well as questioning why they do it, you most importantly will be concerned whether this can negatively affect their health.

Remember that many behaviors that humans consider "unpleasant" are actually positive habits for a dog, which also provide a very specific purpose - as in this particular case.

In this AnimalWised article we will explain what the causes of this behavior are, what you must take into account to protect their health and ultimately answer your question: Why does my dog lick urine of other dogs?

You may also be interested in: Why Does My Dog Lick the Ground?

Why do dogs lick urine?

To start to understand why your dog licks urine from other dogs, it will be crucial to pay attention to the vomeronasal organ, also known as Jacobson's organ. This organ is located in the vomer bone, between the mouth and the nose of the dog and is responsible for transmitting information to the brain.

Jacobson's organ is responsible for analyzing large molecules, such as pheromones and other compounds. This plays a crucial role in hunting, reproduction, the perception of environment or the social relationships of dogs. It is therefore a fundamental organ for dogs to decipher information related to other dogs such as their food, sex or estrous cycle.

If you watch your dog lick urine while "savoring" it, pressing their tongue against their palate and raising their snout, it's probably because they are using the vomeronasal organ to receive extra information from a dog in the area. It is totally natural behavior, a result of their instinct, so we should not scold our dog if they lick urine from others.

Why does my Dog Lick Urine of Other Dogs? - Why do dogs lick urine?

Does it have a negative effect on their health?

According to ethologists and other professionals in canine behavior, allowing our dog to sniff and get to know their environment is positive behavior and any responsible owner should respect this. That is because, through the use of their senses, they feel relaxed and eliminate any stress, something very positive as far as their general well-being. We answer the question why does my dog smell everything on the street? on AnimalWised.

As for health, it is important to understand that if your dog has strictly followed the vaccination schedule as well as regular deworming, they are very unlikely to become ill. However, sick dogs or those with weak immune systems are more susceptible to infections. So we must be careful and avoid direct contact.

Once you understand the above, you will understand that allowing your dog to lick urine from other dogs is not a bad thing, but in some specific cases it is not the most ideal. Whatever your final decision, it is very important that you first avoid scolding your best friend as it is a natural canine behavior that must be respected.

Why does my Dog Lick Urine of Other Dogs? - Does it have a negative effect on their health?

If you want to read similar articles to Why does my Dog Lick Urine of Other Dogs?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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6 comments
Ashley
We have 3 working dogs, 2 are bitches, both bitches were spayed last year, the other dog a male is unneutered, every time the one bitch goes for a wee he follows her around then drinks it as soon as she does it. He then will lick her behind, he goes into a frenzy whilst following her. The only other time he has done this before was when they had just come out of season, he does not bother about the other bitches wee. Any ideas ?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Ashley,

Are your dog's neutered? If not, it is likely they are responding to their natural instincts which is to mate (usually with an intense focus).
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minerva pabillare
is it natural for a dog after licking urine of another dog they produce a lot of saliva?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Minerva,

If there is something distasteful about the other dog's urine (bear in mind this is a natural behavior in dogs, so they shouldn't have a problem with it), they may salivate to get rid of the taste. However, hypersalivation is also a symptom of many pathologies, so it is possible they have something wrong. Only a vet would be able to determine accurately is this was the case.
Jennifer Best
I am at my wits end. My 12 yr old staffie constantly licks wee and is so rampant that i can't walk him with other dogs as it is embarrassing. Even on the back garden, where no other dogs have been, he will seek something out to lick whether it be cat, squirrels or whatever.
He is the most loving dog and never barks at any other dogs, he wants to make love not war. But as soon as he sees another dog he just wants to mount them. That u can sort of put up with but the wee licking is just disgusting and it's driving me mad.
My ex husband actually owns the dog but I look after him now. When he was a puppy my ex would not have him castrated, perhaps it's a man thing who knows, and at the time it was ok but now it's paying a nasty price.
Will he ever eventually get too old and stop it or what. I can't afford to have him castrated now, vets are so expensive. Any advice of what I can do.
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Jennifer,

Even at this age, castration sounds like it might be one of the best options. However, you will need to take them to the vet for a proper examination and to determine the actual cause (we can't diagnose anything here). There are some programs by local shelters which help with spaying and neutering, so I would advise you speak to them about your options as they may be able to provide some practical assistance.
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LeAnne
My 1 . 5 yr old Shitzuhuahua has been sniffing & "tasting" her pee spots on her potty pad today. She hasn't done this before. She is also licking her vagina more often and it is puffy. I believe she is entering her 2nd estrus cycle since birth. I have not seen any indication of spotting. (She is scheduled to be spayed in 3 days.) Could it be possible, that she is investigating her pheromones, hormones, etc?
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Leanne,

It is likely hormones are affecting her interest in this area. Dogs will spot during the proestrus cycle before the 2nd estrus cycle. However, this will not always be the case. You should speak to your vet as dogs going through the estrus cycle might have complications during the spaying process.
Diana
My dog is 10 years old and have been doing this since he was little. Nothing helped to get rid of this habbit of his. I've tried different trainings, scolding, rewards for not licking - nothing helped. However lately, everytime he licks something outside he throws up several hours after, sometimes even has diarhea. I take him for a walk 3 times a day and I am sick of trying to pull him from licking spots and then cleaning up vomit anyway
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Diana,

Urine licking is a normal habit in dogs, but it doesn't mean they are immune from getting an infection or contracting some other disease. Consistent vomiting and diarrhea are signs of a problem in your pooch. We recommend taking them to the vet to diagnose the problem correctly.
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dave
my male dogs licks our females urine ,it has been going on for a long while ,I thought it was strange ,but now he seems to have a cough kinda like he is hacking then to a cough ,we have takin him to the vet and she gave us temaril -p tablets, they work for a little while but then he is back to that hacking again ,is the urine affecting his throat .and it is so hard to find a good vet ,its seems like they just don't take the time to actually look at the animal,my dogs name is Buddy ,also if you may know of any good surgeons in PA. FOR HIS CATARACT thankyou
Administrador AnimalWised
Hi Dave,

As the article states, there are benefits of a dog licking another dog's urine. However, there are also some diseases which can be spread through canine waste. We can't give out any specific information about your dog or diagnose ailments. The best we can recommend is looking at reviews of other vets online and seeing if there are any better suited to give Buddy the attention he deserves.

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