Why Does My Dog Lick My Wounds? Is It Good or Safe?

Why Does My Dog Lick My Wounds? Is It Good or Safe?

If you have been a dog parent long enough, you must have faced many incidents where you are concerned about your health and your fluffy friends. There are also many things a dog will do where you’ll panic and doubt whether what your pet is doing is okay or not. One such is when your pet licks your wounds.

Yet, why does my dog lick my wounds? There are healing properties in your pet’s saliva; therefore, whenever he gets wounded, instinctively dogs lick the cut and clean it with their saliva. So there’s no wonder he’s attending to your cuts the way he knows. But, sometimes, what your fluffy does out of love for you might end up being bad for your health. 

Let’s explore how, why, and other related doubts many pet parents have regarding “why does my dog lick my wounds?” or “should I let my dog lick my cuts?” 

Let’s go!

Why Does My Dog Lick My Wounds? 

We always try to soothe away a wound whenever we get injured. Not only for humans, but it’s the same with other animals. And when a dog gets a wound or a pain in its body, they instinctively lick the irritated spot. 

This habit is something that canines have practised since puppyhood. Just like how their mama dog and dada dog groomed them by licking, they will clean and soothe their body by licking themselves. And then these puppies get adopted. We, the humans, become the love of their lives. 

And then you’ll notice your pet licking you several times during the day. This is how they express their love and feelings to you and groom you.

Hence, licking is the only possible way they know how to soothe themselves when they get injured. If you ever get a wound, they’ll clean it by licking you. 

In old medical practices, way before all modern medicine was found, doctors let dogs clean people’s wounds by licking them. 

But why? Is that not unhygienic? 

Not in ancient times. Just like how wounds on a dog’s body heal fast when the dog licks it, our injuries are thought to heal faster when the same thing happens.

There are antibacterial healing properties in dog saliva which clean the wound off germs helping it heat off quickly. 

Therefore, if you’re wondering, “why does my dog lick my wounds?” don’t be surprised. This habit in dogs is instinctive. 

But, some dogs do not pay any attention to any open wounds on their parent’s bodies, just like my dog. He’ll try to bring up my mood by giving me his favorite toy and licking me.

But my fluffy will completely ignore my wounds. Maybe he’s not interested or feels disgusted about licking someone else’s wounds. 

Now that sounded yucky even in my mind. But, if your dog is always trying to lick and clean your wounds, should you be happy? Does that mean he loves you very much and is trying his best to take away your pain? Let’s check it out in more detail.

Is It Good For A Dog To Lick Your Wounds? 

I did say that your dog loves licking your wounds and cuts to soothe your pains away. And, your pet indeed does this when he gets wounded, too.

Yet, should you actually let your fluffy boy lick your wounds? 

Although old medicine methods used dogs to clean human wounds, the modern medicinal sciences show clearly how dirty your pet’s mouth is.

Dog saliva does have healing properties and anti-bacterial agents, but if your dog licks your wounds, don’t forget that he’ll also transfer millions of other germs onto your gash. 

Moreover, have you ever felt your canine’s tongue? Does it feel smooth to you? No. A dog’s tongue is rough and could damage more cells in your wound, making it worse.

However, licking may work wonders on wounds on the dog’s body itself. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be the same for you. 

The germs will infect your wound, while the roughness of the dog’s tongue will damage and open up the wounds, further disturbing the natural healing process.

Therefore if your cuts or irritated skin ever contact dog saliva, accidentally or not, it’s wise to quickly clean it off with an antiseptic and properly cover the damaged skin. 

Additionally, many dog owners make their pet canines lick the cuts on their bodies, believing that the antiseptic healing properties in dog saliva will fast forward the healing process.

But compared to modern medicine, this is minor in quality. You should first worry about the germs in your fluffy’s mouth before you decide to let him eat away your wounds.

Should I Let My Dog Lick My Wounds? 

As I explained in detail above, it’s wise if you do not let your dog lick any wounds on your body, no matter how big or small it is. Not only could your wound get infected, but the germs in your mouth will also affect your overall health. 

Even though dog saliva contains what’s considered antiseptics and healing agents, it still cannot beat the sanitary of simple running clean water and bandages.

In the 21st century, where modern medicine is at its peak like it’s never been before, it’s foolish to depend on your canine to lick your wounds. 

Moreover, when a dog gets used to the taste of your irritated skin and blood, sometimes you might have trouble trying to stop the dog from licking your gashes.

Licking damages growing tissues and delays the healing process. Therefore, if you have antiseptic wound creams that could apply for cuts and injuries, never let the canine lick even his own wounds. 

More importantly, if your injury is already infected, don’t ever let dog saliva come in contact with the injury. You must check your gash with a physician and get antibiotics and antiseptics to tend your wounds.

Further, suppose your doggo is always trying to reach your irritated skin. In that case, it’s better to keep them covered with band-aids and bandages. 

First, clean it with some running water and soap if you don’t have disinfectant spirits. Apply some antiseptic cream, then close the wound with bandages. Never forget to replace the dressing daily. A closed wound will be safe from your doggo’s licking.

Final Thoughts

Finally, if you’re wondering, “why does my dog lick my wounds?” he does it either to groom you or clean the wound that’s causing you pain.

But, letting your fluff boy lick the irritated spot will only worsen matters. It’s better to turn it into modern medicine to get your wounds treated.

I hope you found this article helpful. Stay tuned with Jack Russell Owner for more interesting posts about our four-legged furry friends.


  • Lisa Watson

    Lisa W. is a practicing certified veterinarian (BVetMed Hons in Veterinary Medicine) who graduated from Royal Veterinary College, UK. One of her research fields is mixed-dog breeds and their temperament, behavioral issues, and genetic health concerns. Also, she gathers data about purebred dog breeds and their origin, lifespan, and genetic conditions. Lisa is a loving dog parent who is keen to share her expertise with other fellow dog parents.

    [email protected]

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