Picture this. You just sat down after a long day’s work and put your feet up in front of the TV. Your trusty chihuahua is by your side—except he’s not. He’s down at your feet licking away at your toes. If your dog is obsessed with licking your feet, you’re not alone. Many dogs love settling down to wash their beloved human’s feet.
A Sensory Feast
If you’ve ever peeled off a sweaty pair of socks, you have probably learned the hard way your feet can be pretty strongly scented. Even when you personally can’t smell your feet though, your dog can. Your feet are full of information about you, your health, and even your moods.
Licking your feet (and smelling them!) can be a great way for your pup to check up on you. As he grooms your tootsies, he’s also making sure you’re okay and there’s nothing biologically wrong with you. Their own mothers may have done something similar to them, washing their bodies and releasing endorphins that made them feel good. They may well be trying to express that same care and attention to you.
Finally, sweat contains salt, so your pup may find your feet particularly appealing for their salty flavor. Gross to you, but tasty to them.
That’s not the only reason behind your dog’s behavior. When your dog is licking your feet, it’s also sometimes a source of attention. You might laugh or pick him up for a snuggle. It doesn’t take more than one or two repetitions for your dog to learn that licking your feet is a great way to get more attention.
Sometimes this can go too far. If your pet is licking your feet unceasingly it can get annoying. If your dog won’t leave your feet alone, you can discourage it by washing your feet thoroughly, and not allowing your pet access to them until they are clean.
This robs your feet of their scent and salt appeal, and just leaves the attention seeking behavior. If they still won’t leave your feet alone, it’s best to redirect their behavior to something more appropriate.
Licky Mats For Redirection
If your pet is a determined licker, a nice way to let them get their licks out is through a licky mat (Chewy/Amazon). All you need to do is spread some baby food, canned dog food, or other smeary snack onto the mat, and let them lick away at that instead.
If you’re giving it to them to interrupt licking your feet, ask them to do something else first. This way they connect a polite “Sit” with getting a licky treat, and not a reward for going to town on your toes.
Should I Stop My Chihuahua from Licking My Feet?
You shouldn’t let your dog lick your feet if you have open wounds on your feet, or if you spread any kind of medication that may be toxic to dogs on them. Dogs often particularly love to lick people after lotion or sunscreen is applied, probably due to the texture.
Although a small lick of lotion (assuming it isn’t medicated) probably won’t harm your pet, it’s also probably not something they should be swallowing a great deal of. If your feet are “organic” and free of wounds however, there’s no reason why they can’t. It’s up to you whether you care if they do so or not.
Chihuahuas can be a little eccentric at times, but it’s likely that their effort to keep your feet clean are well meant. If you don’t like your chihuahua licking your feet, don’t shout at them. A nice distracting chewy or a lick mat will keep your relationship good, and your pet off your feet.
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