No this isn’t about what you are thinking-I do not allow my dog to drink liquor. What I do mean is I have one of those dogs that licks everyone when they enter my home – whether they want it to happen or not! Not only when you enter my home will you be greeted by a wagging tail and bouncy dog, but you will also get licked without a doubt. Your hand, arm, face, toes whatever, he will attempt repeatedly to lick any exposed skin.
Why does he do it? – Well sure there may be valid reasons, as all dogs tend to explore the world with their mouths and are intrigued by our sweaty, salty skin but mostly I think he does it just because he knows it annoys me. I swear when he does it he watches out of the corner of his eye to see the displeased look on my face and then snickers to himself. Now some don’t mind the licking and will reach down and give him a pat on the head, but others will be grossed out and quickly try and wipe it back on him or on the person next to them (which is usually me). He is sneaky and fast with his licks, and no matter how fast I think I’m moving to block him he’s always way ahead of me.
As much as I love pets and most especially my dog, I am one of those who doesn’t appreciate the kind gesture of the lick, and I’m always apologizing to whoever enters my house in case they feel the same. As I mentioned earlier because dogs explore mostly with their mouths, it is just natural for them to lick things- no better way to find out whether it is something worth pursuing then to give it a quick taste. Now some dogs will lick insistently which can be due to compulsive behaviour. That’s a whole other conversation which I will not get into as my guy is just one of those first meeting lickers.
I have tried on many occasions to stop the licking, but it does take consistency with everyone in the home putting forth the effort to stop this behaviour. The difficulty lies with having an 8-year-old in the house that just adores the kisses when she walks in from a day at school. Even after explaining time and time again where his tongue may have been last, she still wants and encourages the kisses, much to my greater dismay. Since it is what it is, I have come to just accept that he is a licker and anyone coming to my house will have to succumb to at least one or two (million) licks from my dog.
With that being said, I do try to ensure that since I know, he is going to lick whatever and whoever comes through my door, I should at least ensure that his mouth is in good condition. Even those that don’t mind the licks aren’t going to want a dog with rotting teeth or tartar (carrying lots of bad bacteria) licking at them, so I am always checking his mouth, teeth and gums on a regular basis to make sure nothing evil is going on. All I need is a quick couple of seconds to get a look at his gums to see if they are a nice pink colour and not an angry red colour that would signal some possible gum disease occurring. I check his teeth not only for tartar build up but also the condition of his teeth. I’m checking to see if there are any chipped or broken teeth as they can be very painful and an open source for bacteria to enter in which can cause all kinds of serious issues if left untreated.
Along with his licking, my dog also likes to chew on some not so favourable things like sticks which can lead to broken or chipped teeth, so it is very important that I check his teeth regularly for this reason. I would love to brush his teeth as this is the most ideal way to keep your pet’s teeth in good condition but he is much too bouncy and uncooperative for this, so, unfortunately, brushing his teeth is not really an option at this time.
The good news is there are other ways to stay on top of keeping his mouth and teeth in good shape. Dental diets, water additives, specialized treats and toys that promote good chewing (which in a sense can act like a toothbrush) will all help promote a healthy mouth and a great smile. By having your vet and yourself keep a close eye on your dog’s oral health, you can help prevent a lot of issues long before they became any kind of serious problem. Even if your pet is not a licker, it is a good idea to check in regularly with your veterinarian on how your pet’s teeth are. Prevention is always best, so staying on top of your pet’s dental health can help give your pet a long, healthy and happier life!
So, to all those people that may visit my home, you will undoubtedly be licked, and I am very sorry that my dog cannot contain his licker, but please be assured his mouth is in good condition, so you are getting as clean a lick as possible.
Written by Stephanie Schruder