Why Does My Dog Lick My Arm So Much? Reasons Explained

Why Does My Dog Lick My Arm So Much? Reasons Explained

Licking people is an automatic habit of dogs. They do this sometimes to show their love and affection and sometimes to convey a message to their human parents. Moreover, there could be many other reasons for a dog to lick people around.

Either way, sometimes this licking is fun, yet, it could also be a concerning factor regarding an underlying health problem.

So, why does my dog lick my arm so much? Dogs love showing off their love and affection towards you by wagging their tails, licking you, following you throughout the day, etc. Licking implies their submission to you and may also be that your doggo is grooming you. But, while all these are true, constant and excessive licking points to health concerns such as depression, OCD, anxiety, and more.

Why Do Dogs Lick People? 

Licking has been an instinctive habit in canines since their birth. Dogs are used to this from their parents and siblings.

A mama dog or a dad will continuously lick their pups to groom them and keep them clean. Moreover, it’s how they say, “I love you!” It’s the same between doggo siblings, too. 

Therefore, when they get adopted by human parents, this habit will tag along with the pup. Just like how their mama doggo groomed them earlier in their lives, they will do the same to you.

If the pet wakes you up by licking your face, arms, or legs, they might be asking you out to play, go for a walk, or maybe some food. 

If the pet comes to you at odd times and does his routine licking, your dog is undoubtedly head over heels in love with you. Because they cannot talk and express their thoughts with you, this is how dogs convey messages to you. 

Yet, don’t forget to keep an eye out for this habit. It could be an automatic habit they have brought since they were puppies, but extensive licking is a symptom of anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

So if suddenly you feel like the doggo is overdoing this, it’s better if you could check it out through a veterinarian to be on the safe side. 

So these are the fundamental reasons for your question; why does my dog lick my arm so much?

Why Does My Dog Lick My Arm So Much? 

Now, don’t worry immediately if your dog is licking your arm so much. It’s not necessarily a health concern every time he does it. As we pointed out earlier, this licking means a variety of other things.

To show affection, grab your attention, groom you, taste your bodily sweat, ask empathy, and show you his submissiveness are just a handful. These answer the question, “why does my dog lick my arm so much?” 

But, these reasons do not pose threats until this habit goes over the limit, such as your pup licking you non-stop.

Not only will he lick your hands, but he’ll also lick your legs, face, and anywhere he can access. When this happens, many dog parents panic and search for answers online. And many concerned parents asked us the same question. 

Why does my dog lick my arm so much? Is it a health concern? Should I go to the veterinarian? 

Let us explain before you make any haste decisions. 

  • They Are Licking You To Calm Or Soothe Themselves

When your doggo has a rush of emotions such as fear or anger, they don’t know how to control themselves without help from their human.

Licking is how they seek your help to calm down the sudden rush they had. When they lick your hand, you’ll notice their charge of mood and pet them while cooing soothing words. Who wouldn’t get calmed down then? 

  • Anxiety Or Depression

The most common types of this are separation anxiety and fear anxiety. Suppose you went out, leaving your pet home alone for several hours.

A dog with separation anxiety will then howl, pace, pant, and, more importantly, will not stop licking you as soon as you’re home. Fear does the same. 

Anxiety could backflip into severe depression over time. Therefore, if you notice anxiety symptoms in your puppy, it’s best to take medication. 

  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder 

Sucking or biting their favorite chew toy, pacing, spinning, etc., are normal behavior in dogs. But these become incessant; it’s called an obsessive-compulsive disorder.

If your dog has an OCD situation, all his regular routines, such as eating, sleeping, or going out for a walk, will get disturbed. It’s like getting addicted to a drug. 

German Shepherds, Bull Terriers, and Dobermans are a few dog breeds commonly identified with this disorder.

The main treatments to rectify this situation are behavioral modifications and medication. Although some dogs show positive responses to treatments, some do not. 

Why Is My Dog Aggressively Licking My Arm?

As we explained earlier, aggressive licking is not typical. This behavior often raises questions of “why does my dog lick my arm so much?” in many dog parents’ minds.

It sometimes hints that your pup is in pain, uncomfortable, has an emotional rush, anxious, or depressed. 

As soon as you get this question, “why does my dog lick me so much?” First, observe your pet’s behavior for a few days.

Generally, if the doggo suffers from OCD, he won’t be able to stop it, no matter what you do. Even if the doggo wants to stop, the brain will not allow him to do so. 

But there are sometimes when you might suspect that the dog has obsessive-compulsive disorder.

But after a few moments, when the doggo feels tired, he’ll stop it. These situations do not indicate that the doggo is suffering from this disorder. 

The same theory applies to anxious or depressed pups. But suppose the dog has had a sudden emotional rush, such as fear or anger.

In that case, he might lick you aggressively, making you doubt, “why does my dog lick my arm so much?” 

But in reality, he’s aggressively licking you to soothe himself after getting the sudden emotional drive.

Now that you know all the answers to your problem, it’s your time to act accordingly. First, you should observe this habit before deciding that your pet is sick.

As we explained before, there might be confusing situations where you get lost among many possibilities. Therefore your observation plays a big part in correctly understanding and identifying this.

Thank you for reading this post. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about our four-legged furry friends.


  • Sofia Williams

    Sofia W. is a professional dog trainer who completed Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA and CPDT-KSA) certifications. Also, she has completed the Pet Nutrition Coach Certification. Sofia is interested in creating nutritious food formulas for dogs to give them a longer and healthier life. She believes food and training are a collective combination of a healthy dog. So, she is with us to share her expertise and knowledge with other dog parents.

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