Dogs can have some pretty adorable habits. And some that are a little on the stranger side. Licking other dogs’ ears is one of those habits. This article covers why they do it, what it means, and what you should do about it.
Why Do Dogs Lick Each Other’s Ears?
In this article, you will discover the many interesting reasons that you may see your dog licking another’s ears. Read on to find out more.
Why Does My Dog Lick My Other Dog’s Ears?
Just Saying Hello
It’s a pretty common method of greeting for dogs to sniff each other’s behinds. But it isn’t their only way of greeting each other. Some dogs prefer this method over the butt sniff and will let the other dogs know.
Just Being Friendly And Affectionate
As we’ve covered in this article, dogs are pack animals. This means that they treat their pack like a family. So licking each other’s ears can be a way for dogs to be friendly and affectionate with each other. Especially if the dogs live together in the same home.
Similar to a cat, dogs will lick themselves to clean themselves. Dogs cannot reach their ears so they may have to enlist the help of another dog. Usually, it is a dog that your dog is close to.
But ensure that the dogs aren’t licking each other’s ears too much because it can irritate them.
Licking A Wound/Injury/Infection To Help It Heal
One of a dog’s strongest senses is its smell. This means that if a dog has a wound and/or infection, the dog will be able to smell it even before it makes itself known. So a dog may lick another’s ears to try and get the infection out. If your dog does not normally lick other dogs but begins to lick another dog’s ears, it may be best to get those ears checked out by a vet to be safe.
Taste – Just Love The Taste Of Ears And Ear Wax!
Though it sounds unappealing to us, dogs may just love the taste of licking other dogs’ ears. Since it is theorized that ear wax may be on the salty side of the flavor spectrum, if a dog likes salty stuff, it will probably lick for the taste. As long as it doesn’t become an excessive habit, this quirky habit should be harmless.
Showing They Are Submissive
Another reason that dogs lick each other’s ears is to show submission. This behavior relates to their history and genetics as pack animals, which means, that certain dogs are of higher rank than others. Dogs of a lower rank show their submission to the higher-ranking dogs by licking their ears.
A Bonding Routine
As this behavior is seen as a pack behavior or form of canine greeting, your dog is likely licking other dogs’ ears to bond and so their comfort with them.
Obsessive Compulsive Behavior
Licking other dogs’ ears can become an obsessive-compulsive behavior for a dog. If this seems to be the case for your dog and they are constantly licking other dogs’ ears, it is a good idea to seek advice from your veterinarian. Compulsive behavior like this can lead to ear irritation or illness for your dog.
Pacifying Or Placating Behavior
Your dog could be licking another dog’s ears to help the dog calm down. It can be meant to be a comforting gesture, so your dog may just be trying to pacify or comfort the other dog.
Sometimes when dogs get nervous, they result to licking to soothe themselves. Some will lick their paws but others will lick other dogs’ ears.
Trying To Soothe The Other Dog
As we mentioned above, when dogs are nervous, their instinct is to lick to soothe and heal. So if another dog is nervous, your dog may try to soothe them by licking their ears. It is meant as a loving and affectionate gesture.
Dogs can get anxious just like people. And also just like people, they have their own coping methods for that anxiety. Some dogs try to fall asleep, some seek out the comfort of a favorite toy, and some may try to lick the ears of another dog in the house.
Similar to when a dog is anxious, dogs may lick another dog’s ears when scared.
Just Doggie Instincts
Sometimes dogs act purely on instinct. This instinct is hardwired in their genes, all the way back to before they were domesticated. Before domestication, dogs would live and travel in packs-just like wolves today. It could also be an instinct because they were groomed and cared for by their mother, instilling instinctive behavior in them.
Dog Is Bored
Your dog could be bored and looking for outlets to relieve that boredom. Boredom itself can stem from many different things from being cooped up inside all day to a lack of mental stimulation. We cover that below.
Lack Of Mental Stimulation
Sometimes there is a simple, easily fixable solution to a dog’s behavior. If you find that your dog has begun to lick your other dog’s ears he could need more mental stimulation. There are many ways to provide your dog with entertainment that will distract and engage him. Toys, playtime, and walks can all be viable options.
If your dog is nervous about being away from you, he may try to find comfort in licking other dogs’ ears. This could be a dog that he lives with at home or a dog elsewhere such as someone else’s home or a doggy daycare.
Just like their owners, dogs can get sick. And sometimes dogs can bring their form of dementia. This condition presents symptoms that are similar to that of dementia in people. Behavior is one of the things that are affected. So if your dog is older and starts to lick other dogs ears-especially compulsively-and hasn’t before, you should take him to the vet.
How Should I Stop My Dog From Licking My Other Dogs Ear?
Find The Root Cause And Resolve It!
Discovering the reason behind your dog licking other dogs’ ears will go a long way in helping you to stop this behavior. It can be anything from instincts due to their pack history to helping the other dog out cleaning a spot it can’t reach or even something that they smelt on the other dog’s ears that sparked an interest for them. It could even also be a way for your dog to show the other dog love and affection.
Distract And Divert Attention
Distracting your dog with a toy or playtime can help stop this behavior. If your dog is entertained and engaged in some other sort of activity, he will lose interest in licking other dogs’ ears.
Give Them Something Interesting Like A Toy To Lick
Giving the dog something else to lick such as a toy or a treat can be another alternative to stopping this behavior. If you do this each time the dog starts to engage in this behavior, it will deter them from doing so.
Keep The Other Dog’s Ears Clean
Another good way to keep your dog from licking your other dog’s ears is to keep their ears clean. If your dog does not smell anything on the other’s ears he will be less interested in licking them. And maybe he will not engage in the behavior at all.
Dog Training To Teach Them Commands To Stop The Behaviour
Dogs are very intelligent and can pick things up very quickly. If you want your dog to stop this behavior you can train him yourself or hire a trainer to do so.
Why Does My Dog Lick My Other Dogs Face/Ears/Eyes/Mouth?
Dogs will do this for several reasons. Many of them we have reviewed in this article. Your dog may smell something, be trying to comfort themselves or the other dog, or as a way of greeting and bonding.
Why Do Puppies Lick Other Dogs Ears?
Puppies are groomed by their mothers as they grow. This means that their mothers lick them as a way of caring for them and keeping them clean. They will remember this behavior and use it themselves. They also do this because they are curious, smell something interesting, or want to bond with the other dog.
Why Do Male Dogs Lick Other Dogs Ears?
Male dogs lick other dogs’ ears for the same reasons a female dog would. This could also indicate a dog showing submission to the leader of its pack.
Dog Licking Other Dogs Ears Infection (Is It Safe)?
If you see your dog licking another dog’s ears and you know that dog has an ear infection, you should stop the behavior. As we discuss in this article, dogs can receive and/or spread ear infections if the licking becomes compulsive. If the two dogs live together, you can try separating them until the infection is remedied.
Should I Stop My Dog From Licking My Other Dogs Ear?
Unless it becomes an obsessive-compulsive behavior, there is no need to stop your dog from licking your other dog’s ears. However if it does become a compulsion or you wish to have your dog stop this habit, there are a few things you can try.
Dangers Of Dogs Licking Others Dogs’ Ears
Below are some of the reasons that a dog may lick another dog’s ears:
Fights That Might End Up In Biting Each Other
If the dog whose ears are being licked does not want the action, the dog may get aggressive. This can lead to a fight between the two that can result in possible injuries.
Spread Of Infection Or Increase The Severity Of Infection
If the dog’s ears that are being licked have an infection, it could worsen or spread the infection. The dog doing the licking can worsen the infection if the saliva and bacteria in the mouth get into the other dog’s ears. Also, the dog doing the licking can have the infection spread to himself when he grooms or other dogs if he licks them.
Risk Of Poisoning If Other Dog Has Medicine On Its Ears
Sometimes dogs will get ear infections, flea bites, or other afflictions to their ears, these afflictions may require topical medicines as a treatment. In this case, try not to let any other dogs lick his ears.
The medicine could be harmful or even dangerous to dogs if consumed.
Could Become An Obsessive Compulsive Habit
Licking other dogs’ ears are usually nothing to worry about. But if it seems like it is becoming a continuous habit, then you should separate the dog from other dogs and take him to a vet for treatment.
What Does It Mean When A Male Dog Licks A Female Dog’s Ear?
This means the same thing as if they licked another male dog’s ear. It is usually a greeting or sign of comfort and affection.
Can A Dog Licking Another Dog’s Ear Cause Or Spread An Ear Infection?
If the licking is done compulsively it can cause an ear infection for the other dog. Moisture from one dog’s saliva can get trapped in the other dog’s ears and cause an infection or other problems.
Does Gender Matter When It Comes To Ear Licking?
Gender does not matter when it comes to ear licking. Dogs use this behavior simply as a form of communication or if they smell something on the other dog’s ears.