guide on why do pugs lick so much

Why Do Pugs Lick So Much?

Doggy kisses are what many of us dog parents live for. The little lick your dog gives you is a symbol of love and affection, something that affirms the bond you share. As pug owners, you may notice that pugs lick more than other dogs do, from their surroundings to you and even themselves. What is the reason behind pug licking and should we be concerned? These are some of the questions we will answer today.

What Causes a Pug’s Licking?

a pug licking so much
Image from drandall316 by Pixabay

Why do pugs lick so much? There has to be an answer. Before we can help you narrow down potential causes, we need to figure out what it is your pug is licking. Is it you, or the floor, himself, or wounds? Depending on what your pug licks, the reason could vary.


If your pug can’t stop licking you, it might just be loveable kisses. Your dog could love you so much he can’t stop showering you with wet dog kisses. However, it could also be because he likes the taste of your skin. Don’t be alarmed, your dog isn’t thinking about you for dinner, he just likes the saltiness of your epidermis.

You should also look at when your pugs lick. For example, if he often pelts you with doggie kisses when you come home after a long day at work, then he is definitely showing you how much he has missed you.

There are dog breeds that just like to lick more, and pugs are usually these types of dogs. They make cute lap dogs and it’s very difficult for some owners to stop their pugs from licking them while relaxing on the couch.

Licking also stimulates the release of serotonin and oxytocin, chemicals in the brain that makes your dog feel happy and loved, which can strengthen your bond.


What Causes a Pug's Licking? - Boredom
Image by alexandra lammerink from Unsplash

As we said, pugs are lickers. They have abnormally large tongues for such small dogs and sometimes you can see a pug’s tongue just dangling out of the side of his mouth. Since dogs use their noses and tongues to explore the world, it can be hard to keep your pug from licking.

If you notice your pug is licking in a new environment, let him explore. Just keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t lick anything dangerous.

Vying for Attention

Another reason why your pug’s licking is because he wants your attention. Some dogs bark, some dogs paw, and lots of pugs like to lick to get you to play with them. Whether you like it or not, you usually respond to the licking by either petting your pug or pushing them away. Your pug may have come to associate licking with some sort of response from you, regardless if it’s negative or positive.

They could shower you with kisses from anywhere on your body. If you don’t like it, you have to make sure your pug understands that in order for them to stop.


Separation anxiety or any sort of anxiety can manifest differently in different dogs. For some pugs, excessive licking is the answer. If it’s anxiety, a lot of the time the licking will be accompanied by other symptoms such as drooling, whining, or hiding. A pug licking if he’s feeling anxious is his own way to calm himself down by stimulating the release of endorphins.


Maybe your dog’s hungry. Dogs licking their lips when hungry isn’t just a cartoon portrayal – it’s true (for pugs at least). Your puck could be licking out of hunger, so double check when was the last time you fed your pooch.

They are Just Going Along with You

How many dog owners out there have been guilty of smothering their dogs with affection, even if they don’t want it? We know we have. This behavior from humans usually consists of the person putting their face very close to their dog and trying to elicit a kiss. At times like these, your pug may give you a half-hearted consolation lick or two, but that’s just to appease you.

You will know it’s an appeasement kiss if your dog started out by turning his face away from yours and leaning back.


Another answer to the question of why do pugs lick so much is comfort. If your dog senses fluctuations in your emotions, he will come over to comfort you. A pug will usually show you they care by licking you. If you are feeling a bit down lately, you know you can rely on your pug to make it okay.

It’s very easy to mistake one type of lick for another. In order to accurately decipher your pug’s licking, you will need to spend time with him and get to know him. Once you and your pug have a strong bond, it will be easier to understand what type of lick he’s giving you.

Underlying Medical Issues

Pug with Underlying Medical Issues
Image by mylife_with_dogs_and_hors from Pixabay

The above reasons why pug licks are mainly emotional and behavioral, but there could be underlying medical issues that demand further attention. Let’s take a look at some of the common ones that cause excessive licking in pugs.

Skin Problems

Pugs have sensitive skin, and they can develop rashes and sores easily especially in their folds. Unfortunately, for our adorable pugs, excessive licking and skin sores do not mix. In fact, if they are constantly licking the hot spot it could lead to infection and take much longer to heal.

If you notice your pug licking himself habitually, start by inspecting his skin. Make sure to part the folds to check because those are key areas.


Allergies or itchiness can also cause a pug to lick frequently. It could be their bodies, their paws, or their face, and the licking could be coupled with scratching and rubbing as well. After long walks, or during regular grooming sessions, make sure to check your pug thoroughly to make sure there isn’t a tick or a flea embedded in his skin ready to make a home. Regular tick and flea prevention is also a way to combat potential itchy skin problems.

Related: Treating Your Dogs Allergies Correctly


This next reason why do pugs lick so much pertains to all dogs, not just pugs. When a dog is in pain, he will lick the spot to release endorphins to numb the pain. Luckily for us, humans, identifying the cause is easy because your dog will show you exactly where it hurts. If you see nothing on the surface, consider running your hand along with the spot. If your dog is hesitant to let you near, is abnormally aggressive, or you feel something under the skin, then it’s time to call the vet.

The reason for the pain could be skin deep but there could also be bruising or other internal organ damage that isn’t visible to the naked eye.

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How to Stop a Pug’s Licking

pug licking due to a serious medical condition
Image by terimakasih0 from Pixabay

Now that we have an idea as to why pugs lick, the next step is to figure out how to stop it. If you’re pretty sure your pug’s licking is due to affection, it’s okay to leave the behavior alone if you are okay with it.

On the other hand, if the pug licking is due to something more serious or is starting to affect your or your pug’s life, then it’s time to put a stop to it.

We have a few methods to help the licking, but if you are concerned about a more serious medical issue, then we urge you to contact your vet.

Ignore Him

Nothing makes a dog lose interest faster than unreciprocated actions. Speaking from experience, if a dog is craving your attention and acting out by jumping, pawing, barking, or licking, ignoring them can usually make them stop.

As time goes on, your pug will realize that his tactics aren’t working and will hopefully stop. Of course, there are also the occasionally determined pups that lick you obsessively, in that case, it may take professional training to prevent the behavior.


You can also choose to go the other way and respond to the pug lick. Separation anxiety or your pug constantly licking you after a long day away could be curbed with more time spent together. Some of the time pug licking can be temporary when there is a change in environment or routine. Just spending more time with your pooch can alleviate the problem.

Play or Exercise Them

Play or Exercise Them
Image by dandarnell from Pixabay

We mentioned that pug licking can be due to boredom. With all dogs, a tired and well-exercised dog equals zero mischiefs and acting up. The same goes for a pug that’s bored and likes to lick.

Before you gear down for the day or prepare for a quiet afternoon, be sure to work your pooch. Take him for a long walk, or play a long game of fetch, just make sure he is tired out.

We will caution that since pugs are a brachycephalic breed, try not to overwork your dog. Being over expended can lead to respiratory problems in dogs with short snouts.

Train Them

If the problem is not serious, you can always opt to train your dog to understand “no”. The key is to train your pug to associate the word “no” or “stop” with ceasing the action. You can do this by repeating the word you choose until your pug stops, and reward them with a treat right when they do. Over time, your pug will understand what you mean when you say those trigger words.

Calming Agents

pug needs a calming agent for consistent licking
Image by Jorge Zapata from Unsplash

If your pug is licking due to a change in environment or routine, it will take some time for him to acclimate. During the trial period, there are some things a dog parent can do to help make the transition easier. We are talking about calming agents such as essential oils or diffusers with relaxing scents.

Thunder shirts are a great example of something that can keep your dog calm, but sometimes you will require some medication if your vet deems it necessary.

Dog Cones and Meds

Speaking of using a medication, it’s very common for a vet to prescribe relaxants after a dog has had surgery. Spaying or neutering your dog will require a 2-week recovery period, during which your dog will want to pick his wounds. Using a dog cone will keep him away from the sore spot and the use of calming meds will reduce his physical movement and the risk of tearing the stitches.


Another great way to curb unwanted behaviors is to redirect your pug’s attention. This is a method recommended by many professional trainers for not only licking but almost anything undesirable. Redirection is successful for leash training when a new puppy bites or chews on the leash, if your pup nips at your fingers, and of course, excessive licking.

Be aware that redirection may not be effective against underlying medical conditions and we suggest addressing health issues rather than stopping your pug from licking. It’s important not to distract your pug with a treat, because he will come to associate licking with his favorite dessert.

We suggest distracting him with a puzzle toy that can also be used for mental stimulation. If he wants your attention, you can distract him by asking him to perform a trick. Instead of the usual licking, he may start to sit or lay down for your attention.

Are Doggy Kisses Safe?

Are Doggy Kisses Safe?
Image by nrd from Unsplash

We’ve spent all this time figuring out why do pugs lick so much and how to help them, but now we will address if the pug licking is safe for you.

For the most part, your pug’s affectionate kisses are safe. You may have heard that dogs lick their wounds in an attempt to disinfect them, but this is just a myth. Dogs do not possess the ability to disinfect wounds, so do not let them lick theirs or yours for that matter.

When your pug’s licking your face and your body, you may wonder if their saliva contains any germs. A pug constantly licking his owner is safe, so you won’t need to worry about germs and bacteria, but we still suggest keeping clean and not letting your dog lick your mouth too much.

When is it a Problem and Why Should I Stop It?

When is it a Problem and Why Should I Stop It?
Image by Milan Popovic from Pixabay

It’s all safe, but when should you make your pug stop licking and what potential problems could it cause?

When you start to notice your pug is licking everyone and everything for no specific reason at all, then he may have developed a compulsion.

Over time, the licking can evolve and become a permanent tick. Even if you don’t find the behavior bothersome, your pug runs the risk of licking hazardous and toxic materials that could harm his health.

Another reason to get your pug to stop licking is bad habits. You don’t want to become the trainee in where your dog has successfully trained you to give them attention whenever they command it. Responding to your dog’s every lick will put you right in the palm of their paws. Instead, you should be rewarding him when he stops licking you to get your message across.

If you have tried everything and are still experiencing problems, we would suggest contacting your vet to see if you have properly identified the reasons behind it or to contact a professional trainer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my pug constantly licking?

There are many reasons why your pug won’t stop licking. The causes range from medical conditions to mental anxiety to simple boredom. To properly assess why your pug does it and how to get him to stop licking will require careful assessment. Look at when he licks, examine if there have been any changes in your life that could have triggered the licking.

Anxiety and boredom are easily addressed, but if you suspect the culprit is pain or some unidentified medical condition, then we suggest a vet visit to determine the next steps.

Why do pugs lick your face?

A pug licks your face for various reasons, which can include showing affection, communication, or sometimes to appease you. If you have been away for a long time, your pug showering you with plenty of licks is mostly likely him trying to tell you how much he has missed you. If your pug notices that you are upset about something, then licking your cheek is a form of comfort.

For pet parents that sometimes heap on the love even when your pug may not want it, he could just be giving you dog licks to appease you.

Do pugs get attached to one person?

Some dog breeds are one-person dogs, which means they recognize only one person as their human. They may be okay with the rest of the family but only pledge undying loyalty to just one member. In many cases, pugs are this type of dog. By no means is this always the case, as the reasons behind your dog’s attachment can vary.

When we compare a pug to other dogs, we do find that they are extra clingy towards a single person they deem to be their “person”. This person is usually the one who shows them the most affection, pays the most attention to him, takes care of him, and gives him food and treats.

Why your pug’s licking can become a problem

You may not mind the kisses, but your pug’s licking can signify a more serious issue. If you notice your pug licks one particular area, then that could be the place that is bothering him. It could be something as simple as a small cut, or it could be arthritis and other underlying medical problems. Before you can consider the licking to be a problem, you have to first identify why your pug licks.

Monitor the situation carefully to assess what the problem could be. If you have trouble figuring it out, a call to your vet or trainer will help you find the solution.

Why do pugs lick their bed?

Dogs use their tongues and noses to explore the world, which is why the licking happens. From floors to humans and each other, your pet could be leaving a wet mark on everything, and sometimes it’s their bed. So what are the reasons behind dog licks on their bed?

If the bed is new, he could be examining what it is. Licking is also a way of leaving his mark on the bed claiming it to be his possession. Another common reason for your dog licking his bed is because he is hiding something in the crevices. Don’t worry, it’s nothing dangerous, it’s usually his food or treats. If you notice your pooch licking the bed, check to see if he is hoarding snacks.


There is so much information out there to process about why your pooch licks so much. Licking is more common in some pups than others, so it’s important for the owners to identify the issue. Dogs can lick everything from furniture to their pet owner, but most of the time for pugs this behavior is not serious. Just on the off chance your dog is using body language to communicate his discomfort or pain, we would suggest checking his skin for wounds or calling the vet if you’re concerned.

Did You Know?

Whenever your pug is hyper-focused on licking one thing or one spot, whether it’s on himself or something external, there is usually a reason behind it. If you spill food without realizing it, your pug will zero in on the area and lick up the residue. Whenever you see your dog paying special attention to one place, we suggest checking it thoroughly.

Expert Tip

Licking is a good way to assess medical issues for pugs. Vets tend to suggest looking at their activity levels, but since this breed is not considered an active type and tends to laze around and sleep for around 14 hours on average, inactivity is not the best indicator of illness.

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