If you are a dog owner, you have probably witnessed some bizarre behaviors from your furry friends. However, one of the weirdest ones has to be when they lick each other’s ears. It’s hard not to wonder, “why does my dog lick my other dog’s ears?” While there are various reasons behind this behavior, most of them stem from the social and affectionate nature of dogs.
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The Most Common Reasons Why Your Dog Licks Your Other Dog’s Ears
Your Dog Just Likes Licking Ears
Sometimes, the answer to this question can be quite simple. Just like humans have cravings, some dogs have an affinity for licking ears! Earwax contains a significant amount of salt, which can satisfy their craving. While it’s important to rule out any potential health or behavioral issues causing excessive ear licking, the answer may simply be that your dog enjoys the behavior.
Your Dog Is Grooming The Other Dog
Apart from their love for licking ears, dogs often engage in this behavior as a form of affectionate grooming. Dogs usually lick themselves to keep their fur clean, but they can’t reach the areas on or around their head. So, licking their fellow canine’s face and ears serves as a way to show affection and strengthen their bond.
The Dog Being Licked Has An Ear Infection
One of the strangest reasons for dogs licking other dogs’ ears is when the dog being licked has an ear infection. The taste of the earwax and discharge changes in infected ears, and some dogs seem to find it quite appealing. If you notice your dog developing compulsive behavior related to ear licking, it’s worth checking if the dog being licked has an ear infection that needs attention.
Your Dogs Are Greeting Each Other
When dogs used to live in packs, they would sometimes lick each other’s ears as a form of greeting. Weaker dogs would lick the ears of dominant dogs to show their submission. So, if you observe your dogs licking each other’s ears during their meetings, it’s likely their way of introducing themselves and demonstrating submission. This submissive behavior is entirely normal and nothing to worry about.
Your Dog Is Self-Soothing
Dogs often develop compulsive self-soothing behaviors, like gnawing on objects or pacing, when they are stressed. One common way this behavior can manifest is through licking other dogs’ ears. If you’re concerned about this behavior, you can try redirecting their excessive licking by offering stimulating alternatives like tasty chews and squeaky toys.
Should I Stop My Dog From Licking Other Dogs’ Ears?
As we’ve established, most of the reasons dogs lick other dogs’ ears are harmless. It’s a social behavior that signifies bonding or submission, or it could be an acquired taste for the salty earwax. However, there are situations where you might need to intervene and prevent the behavior.
For instance, if your dog excessively licks other dogs’ ears to the extent of making them visibly soaked, you should address the behavior to prevent ear infections. Allowing the behavior to continue can worsen the infection and expose your dog to dangerous bacteria. Similarly, if an ear infection is causing the licking behavior, it’s crucial to take your dog to the vet for prompt treatment.
Discouraging your dog from licking other dogs’ ears is possible with the right approach and commitment. First, ensure there are no underlying compulsive behaviors or ear infections causing the issue. Once you’ve ruled out external causes, redirect your dog’s attention by offering tempting toys and treats. It is also helpful to teach your dog a command like “stop” to effectively communicate that the behavior is not okay.
The Bottom Line
While ear licking is normal behavior, there are instances where it can become concerning or even dangerous. Familiarizing yourself with the signs of obsessive licking behavior and knowing how to address it can save you from stress and potential vet expenses. By taking the necessary steps, you can ensure your dog’s happiness and overall well-being in the long run.
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