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9 Surprising Reasons Your Dog Licks Your Face Before Bed

Last Updated: December 15, 2023

Dogs can win your trust and express their affection in many ways. One of the common ways is to lick your face. But that’s not the case at all times. Sometimes, your dog might lick your face before bed, and that leaves a serious suspicion in you about the cause.

Has your dog ever licked your face right before bedtime? There are several interesting reasons for this behavior.

A dog can lick your face before bed as a sign of affection, to gain your attention, develop a bond, taste human skin, display empathy, relieve stress, or display submissive behavior. A trained dog might also associate this behavior with an encouraging one that needs to be followed regularly.

As most dogs love to occupy a space in your bedroom to seek your attention and develop a bond further, they follow various methods to express their affection.

In order to find out the exact cause behind this behavior, I’ve laid out a detailed article and also addressed common queries of dog owners when dogs lick their faces.

Why Your Dog Licks Your Face Before Bed. A Frenchie licking a face at bedtime.

Why Your Dog Licks Your Face Before Bed

1. To Show Affection

So, you’re wondering why your furry friend loves to give you a big, slobbery kiss before bed? 

Well, one reason could be that they’re just showing you some love! Dogs are pack animals, and as such, they thrive on social interactions and closeness. 

Licking your face may be their way of saying “I love you” and wanting to be close to you.

I know it can be a bit gross and messy, but try to think of it as a sign of affection rather than a nuisance. After all, who doesn’t want to be loved by their furry best friend? 

So, the next time your doggo gives you a big, wet lick on the face, don’t push him away too quickly. 

Take a moment to appreciate their love and affection, and maybe even give him a pat or scratch behind the ears.

2. To Seek Attention

Have you ever noticed that your furry friend gives you extra licks when he wants your attention

Well, there’s a good reason for that – dogs may lick their owner’s face to seek attention and initiate interaction. 

When they want to play or just get some love and attention from you, they may resort to licking your face to get noticed.

It’s important to remember that dogs thrive on social interaction and attention from their owners. 

So, the next time your dog starts giving you some extra licks, try to take a moment to show them some love and attention in return. 

Play with them, give them a belly rub, or take them for a walk – whatever it takes to make them feel loved and appreciated. 

Learn More About Why Dogs Lick Faces In This Video…

3. To Strengthen Your Bond

As my furry friend enters his golden years, his love and loyalty to me never fade. My elderly dog may not have the same energy levels as once, but he still wants to strengthen his bond with me.

One way my senior dog may show his love is through gentle licks. This behavior is a bonding behavior for dogs and can create a sense of closeness and comfort between a dog and its owner.

When your furry companion gives you extra licks before bed, they show you that they trust and love you and feel safe and happy in your presence. 

This can create a strong sense of connection between the two of you and help deepen your bond over time.

To return my love, I want to ensure she is comfortable and well-rested. 

That’s why I decided to get her the Big Barker Orthopedic Dog Bed, a product that has been tested by the University of Pennsylvania. 

In a clinical study by the University, owners reported that the Big Barker bed reduced joint pain and stiffness, improved joint function and gait, and improved nighttime restfulness in large dogs with arthritis. 

With the Big Barker, my elderly dog can enjoy a nice and cozy sleep without discomfort or pain. You can check out my review of the Sofa Bed here.

“Seeing my dog comfortable and happy brings me great joy. So, the next time your dog shows affection through licks, try to enjoy the moment and appreciate the special bond that you share.” 

Remember, the love and companionship of an elderly furry best friend are just as valuable as when they were younger.

Corgi Licking a Girl's Face Before Sleeping/Bedtime

4. Expressing Empathy

Did you know that your furry friend may actually be empathizing with you? 

A study published in the journal Animal Cognition found that some dogs lick their human companions when upset or crying, which is behavior consistent with empathy and concern. 

So, if you’ve ever had a rough day and noticed your dog giving you extra licks or attention, it’s not just in your head – they really care about your feelings!

I know it’s hard to believe that our furry companions can understand our emotions and show empathy, but it’s true! They can sense all kinds of emotions.

Dogs are incredibly perceptive and can pick up on subtle cues in our behavior and body language. 

So, the next time you’re feeling down, and your pup comes to give you a lick or two, know they’re trying to show you some love and comfort in their own special way. 

After all, who needs a therapist when you’ve got a furry friend by your side?

5. To Taste (Some Humans Have Tasty Skin!)

You might have noticed that sometimes your dog gives you extra licks before bed. 

While there are many reasons why dogs lick their owner’s face, one of them might be that they just want to taste your skin! 

Dogs have a strong sense of smell and taste, and they may lick your face to get a taste of the salt on your skin or to get a whiff of your breath.

Now, don’t worry. It’s not that your skin tastes bad or anything! Dogs simply have a different way of exploring the world around them, and licking is one of their ways of doing so. 

So, the next time your furry friend gives you some extra licks before bed, try not to push them away too quickly – after all, it’s just their way of showing you some love and getting a little taste of your world. 

Just give your face a quick wash before hitting the pillow!

King Charles Spaniel Licking

6. To Show Submission

Have you ever noticed that your dog gives you extra licks before bed? 

Well, it turns out that this behavior can be a way for them to show submission and respect. 

Dogs may lick their owner’s face to show that they acknowledge their owner as the pack leader and are willing to submit to their authority.

This behavior is especially common in dogs with strong bonds with their owners. 

When your furry friend licks your face, they essentially say, “I respect you as my leader, and I am happy to submit to your authority.” 

This can sign a strong and healthy relationship between you and your furry companion, and it can help reinforce your bond. 

So, the next time your dog gives you some extra licks before bed, try to appreciate the unique way they show you respect and acknowledge your position as their pack leader!

7. To Relieve Stress

Have you ever noticed that your furry friend seems slightly stressed or anxious before bed? 

If so, their habit of licking your face may indicate that they are trying to relieve stress. 

Licking can be a calming behavior for dogs, and it can help them feel more relaxed and comfortable in their environment. 

So, when your pup gives you extra licks before bed, it may be a sign that they are looking for comfort and reassurance from their favorite human.

In addition to relieving stress, licking can also be a sign of affection and bonding. 

If your dog likes to give you extra licks before bed, try to appreciate the sweet and comforting gesture they share with you. 

It’s a great way to strengthen your bond and show your pup how much you care!

Brown Dog Licking

8. Habitual Behavior

As a dog lover, you’ve probably noticed that some dogs have certain habits and routines that they like to follow. 

One of these habits may be licking their owner’s face before sleep. For some dogs, this behavior may simply be a habitual behavior they have learned over time. 

They may have started doing it when they were younger and just continued the behavior because it has become a part of their routine.

In some cases, dogs may associate this behavior with certain cues or signals indicating it’s time for bed. 

For example, they may start licking your face when you turn off the lights or climb into bed. 

This habitual behavior can be a sign of the strong bond you share with your dog, as well as the comfort and security they feel when they are close to you. 

So, if your dog likes to give you extra licks before bed, try to appreciate the sweet and comforting routine you share together!

9. Encouraged Behavior

You might inadvertently encourage your dog to lick your face more often than you’d like. 

If you give your pup attention, toys, or treats when it licks you, you might see that behavior as a reward.

For example, if you always treat your dog when it licks your face, it will start to associate that behavior with getting a treat. 

As a result, it will keep licking your face more and more in the hopes of getting more treats. 


Is It Safe To Let My Dog Lick My Face Before Bed?

It is generally safe for dogs to lick their owner’s face before bed. However, some risks are associated with this behavior, such as the transmission of bacteria or parasites. It’s important to ensure that your dog is healthy and up to date on their vaccinations and to practice good hygiene to minimize potential health risks.

How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Licking My Face Out Of Affection Or For Another Reason?

It can be difficult to determine exactly why your dog is licking your face. However, you can observe their body language and other cues to get an idea. If your dog is wagging its tail and seems happy and relaxed, it is likely licking your face out of affection. It may be a sign of stress or anxiety if they seem tense or are licking excessively.

Why Does My Dog Lick Me at Night?

Dogs may lick you at night for a variety of reasons. One possible explanation is that they are seeking attention or affection. Dogs may also lick you to communicate their needs, such as hunger or a need to go outside, or as a way of showing submission or respect. You should observe your dog’s behavior and body language to determine the underlying reason for their licking behavior.

Why Does My Dog Lick Me When I’m Asleep?

When your dog licks you while you’re asleep, it could be a sign of love and affection. It could also be a way for your dog to show that they are submissive to you and see you as their pack leader.

Additionally, dogs have a strong sense of smell and taste, so they may be licking you to taste your skin or smell any scents on your body. Overall, it’s a way for your furry friend to bond with you and show their affection.

Sharon Waddington
Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.

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