Why Do Dogs Lick Your Face When You Cry-You Should Know It

Do you have any ideas why do dogs lick your face when you cry?  because they are trying to comfort you? Dogs have an extraordinary ability to sense and respond to human emotions, especially during times of distress.

It is not uncommon for dogs to show affection towards their owners by licking their face. When you cry, dogs may instinctively lick your face as a way to provide comfort and support. This behavior is often seen as a display of empathy and a reassurance that your dog is there for you.

While some may find it endearing, others may wonder why dogs resort to this specific behavior. Understanding the reasons behind this action can help deepen our bond with our furry friends and shed light on the incredible emotional connection between humans and dogs.

Now we will explore the reasons why dogs engage in face-licking when their owners are in tears. so let’s start!

Understanding Canine Behavior And Emotional Response


The Science Behind Dogs’ Ability To Sense And Respond To Emotions

Dogs have a remarkable ability to sense and respond to their owners’ emotions. This unique skill can be attributed to a combination of their keen sense of smell, their ability to read human body language, and their innate social and empathic nature.

Here are some key points to understand the science behind this extraordinary canine behavior:

  • Dogs have an exceptional sense of smell that allows them to detect subtle changes in the chemical composition of their owner’s sweat when they are experiencing intense emotions such as sadness or distress.
  • Research has shown that dogs can identify specific emotional states in humans through their sense of smell, linking certain scent profiles to specific emotions.
  • In addition to their sense of smell, dogs are also highly observant of human body language cues. They can decipher facial expressions, body posture, and even the tone of voice to assess the emotional state of their owners.
  • Dogs have evolved to be in tune with human emotions due to thousands of years of domestication. Over time, they have developed a unique ability to understand and respond to our emotional needs.
  • Dogs exhibit a strong empathic nature, meaning they can pick up on and mirror the emotions of their owners. When they sense sadness or distress, they may lick their owner’s face as a way to comfort and show support.

How Dogs Communicate Non-Verbally

Dogs have a vast repertoire of non-verbal cues to communicate their feelings and intentions. Understanding these non-verbal signals is essential in deciphering their behavior and emotional response. Here are some key points to consider when interpreting canine non-verbal communication:

  • Body language plays a crucial role in canine communication. Dogs use various body postures, such as tail wagging, ear position, and body weight distribution, to convey their emotions.
  • Tail wagging is not always a sign of happiness. It can also indicate excitement, fear, or aggression, depending on the speed, height, and direction of the wag.
  • Facial expressions are another vital means of non-verbal communication for dogs. Raised eyebrows, relaxed eyes, and a slightly open mouth can indicate a friendly and relaxed state, while narrowed eyes, rigid muscles, and bared teeth may signify aggression or fear.
  • Ears are another expressive feature in dogs. Erect and forward-facing ears often suggest attentiveness and curiosity, while flattened or pulled-back ears can signal fear or submission.
  • It’s crucial to pay attention to the context in which these non-verbal cues occur. By observing the overall body language and taking into account the situation, we can better understand what a dog is trying to communicate.

The Unique Bond Between Dogs And Humans

The bond between dogs and humans is undeniably strong and mutually beneficial. Dogs have become an integral part of our lives, providing companionship, unconditional love, and emotional support. Here are some key points to recognize the unique bond that exists between dogs and humans:

  • Dogs are inherently social animals. Through years of domestication and selective breeding, they have developed a deep affinity for human company, forming a strong emotional connection with their owners.
  • Dogs have evolved to understand human social cues and can read our emotions, making them sensitive and intuitive companions. They offer comfort and companionship, especially in times of distress or sadness.
  • The oxytocin hormone, also known as the “love hormone,” is released in both dogs and humans when they interact. This hormone strengthens the bond between dogs and their owners, fostering feelings of love and attachment.
  • Dogs provide numerous psychological and physical health benefits to their owners, including reduced stress levels, lower blood pressure, increased physical activity, and improved overall well-being.
  • The unique bond between dogs and humans is built on trust, loyalty, and mutual understanding. Dogs have an innate ability to provide emotional support and bring joy into our lives, making them cherished members of our families.

Dogs’ ability to sense and respond to their owners’ emotions is a fascinating combination of their exceptional sense of smell, their ability to read human body language, and their empathic nature.

why does my dog lick me when i cry

By understanding their non-verbal cues and the unique bond they share with humans, we can better appreciate the depth of this extraordinary connection.

So, the next time your dog licks your face when you cry, remember that they are offering comfort and support in their own special way.

The Instinctual Nature Of Licking Behavior

Exploring The Evolutionary Reasons Behind Dogs Licking Behavior

Dogs are known for their unique behavior of licking their owners’ faces when they cry. This instinctual action has intrigued dog owners and researchers alike, leading to various theories on the evolutionary reasons behind this behavior. Let’s delve into some of these theories:

  • Establishing a bond: Licking is believed to help dogs strengthen their bond with their owners. As descendants of wolves, dogs have inherited certain behaviors, such as grooming, from their ancestors. Licking is a way for dogs to display their affection and show that they care.
  • Communication and empathy: Dogs are highly perceptive to the emotions of their owners. When a person is crying, their face may exhibit physical signs of distress. By licking the tears off their owner’s face, dogs may be instinctively trying to console them and provide comfort.
  • Taste and scent: Tears contain certain chemicals that dogs can detect through their acute sense of smell. Licking tears may offer dogs a way to explore and understand these chemical signals, providing them with valuable information about their owner’s emotional state.
  • Attention-seeking behavior: Dogs are known for their ability to understand cause and effect. If they receive attention or soothing from their owner when they lick their face during a crying episode, they may continue this behavior as a means to get attention or seek comfort.

Why Dogs Use Licking As A Form Of Communication

Licking is a natural form of communication for dogs, and it serves various purposes beyond consoling their owners. Here are some key reasons why dogs use licking as a means of communication:

  • Bonding with their pack: In the wild, wolves and other canines use licking as a way to strengthen social bonds within their pack. Licking is believed to release endorphins in both the licker and the recipient, creating a positive association and promoting social cohesion.
  • Showing submission: Licking can also be a display of submission or appeasement. When a dog licks the face of a dominant member of its pack, it is acknowledging their higher status and showing respect.
  • Expressing excitement: Dogs often greet their owners with a flurry of licks when they come home. This behavior is a way to express joy, excitement, and anticipation, indicating their happiness at the reunion.
  • Providing information: Dogs communicate through scent, and licking is one way they transfer their scent onto objects or individuals. By licking their owners’ faces, dogs may be leaving their scent as a form of identification or mark of ownership.

The Role Of Maternal Instinct In Licking Behavior

Maternal instinct plays a significant role in a dog’s licking behavior, both towards their puppies and their human owners. Here’s how maternal instinct influences licking behavior:

  • Grooming and nurturing: Mother dogs use licking as a way to groom their puppies, keeping them clean, and stimulating their bodily functions. This behavior is essential for the puppies’ well-being and survival.
  • Establishing a bond: Licking is also a way for mother dogs to bond with their puppies. It creates a sense of security and affection, helping to build a strong attachment between the mother and her offspring.
  • Transferring scent: Mother dogs have a distinct scent that helps puppies recognize and differentiate their mother from others. By licking their puppies’ faces, mother dogs transfer their unique scent, enabling the puppies to identify their mother and feel secure in her presence.
  • Inherited behavior: Dogs may display similar licking behaviors towards their human owners as a result of their maternal instinct. They view their owners as part of their pack and may exhibit nurturing behaviors, including licking, to establish and maintain a bond.

Emotional Connection: The Power Of Scent And Taste

Dogs are known for their unconditional love and ability to sense human emotions, often comforting their owners when they are in distress. One particular behavior that many dogs exhibit when their owners are crying is the act of licking their faces.

why does my dog lick my face when i cry

This may seem peculiar to some, but it actually serves as a way for dogs to establish an emotional connection with their humans. The power of scent and taste plays a significant role in this unique bonding experience.

How Dogs Use Their Sense Of Smell To Understand And Bond With Their Humans:

  • Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, which is estimated to be up to 100,000 times more powerful than that of humans. This allows them to detect and process a wide range of scents, including the subtle changes in our body odor when we are experiencing different emotions.
  • When a person is crying, their body chemistry may change, resulting in a distinct scent that the dog can pick up on. This scent can be a signal to the dog that something is wrong and that their owner is in need of comfort and support.
  • By licking their owner’s face, dogs are able to gather more information about their emotional state through the scent molecules present on the skin. This helps them further understand and empathize with their human’s feelings.

The Significance Of Taste In The Emotional Connection Between Dogs And Their Owners:

  • Licking is a natural behavior for dogs, and it serves multiple purposes. One of these is the taste of their owner’s skin, which can provide both sensory stimulation and a sense of familiarity. This taste allows dogs to establish a stronger bond with their owners and reinforce their emotional connection.
  • Dogs have taste buds just like humans, although their sense of taste is not as refined. Nevertheless, the taste of their owner’s skin can evoke positive feelings and create a sense of comfort for dogs, further cementing their emotional bond.
  • It’s important to note that the act of licking is not only limited to when their owners are crying. Dogs may also lick their owners’ faces for various reasons, such as to show affection, seek attention, or simply out of habit.

The Release Of Bonding Hormones During Licking:

  • Licking serves as a form of communication between dogs and humans, triggering the release of bonding hormones in both parties. When a dog licks their owner’s face, it can promote the production of oxytocin, which is often referred to as the “love hormone.” This hormone helps to strengthen the emotional connection and promote feelings of trust, comfort, and well-being.
  • In addition to oxytocin, the act of licking also stimulates the release of endorphins in both dogs and humans. These feel-good hormones contribute to a sense of happiness and relaxation, further enhancing the emotional bond between dogs and their owners.
  • It’s important to note that while licking can be a positive bonding experience, it’s essential to practice good hygiene and ensure that both the dog and the owner are comfortable with the behavior. Some people may not enjoy being licked, and it’s crucial to respect their boundaries.

The act of dogs licking their owners’ faces when they cry is a powerful display of emotional connection. Through their sense of smell and taste, dogs can better understand and empathize with their human’s emotions.

This bonding experience is further strengthened by the release of bonding hormones during licking, fostering a deep and meaningful connection between dogs and their owners.

The Social Role Of Licking In Canine Packs

We all know how comforting it can be when our furry friends lick our faces, especially when we’re feeling down.

But have you ever wondered why dogs have this instinctual behavior? It turns out that licking is not just a random action, but a deep-rooted social behavior among canines.

why do dogs lick you when you cry

Let’s explore the social role of licking in canine packs and how this behavior extends to their interactions with humans.

Licking As A Form Of Social Behavior Among Dogs:

  • Licking is a common form of communication among dogs, serving various purposes within their social dynamics.
  • Dogs use licking to convey emotions such as affection, submission, and appeasement to their pack members.
  • It is their way of expressing empathy and building bonds within the group.

The Role Of Licking In Maintaining Pack Harmony And Hierarchy:

  • Licking plays a crucial role in maintaining pack harmony by establishing and reinforcing social hierarchy among dogs.
  • Dominant dogs often initiate licking as a means of asserting their dominance over subordinate pack members.
  • Subordinate dogs reciprocate by licking the dominant dog’s muzzle or face as a sign of respect and submission.
  • This mutual licking behavior helps maintain a sense of order and balance within the group.

How This Behavior Translates To Dogs Licking Their Human Companions:

  • Dogs have a strong instinct to treat their human companions as members of their pack.
  • When humans cry or exhibit signs of distress, dogs often resort to licking as a way to comfort and console.
  • Licking is a reassuring gesture that lets us know they are there for us and trying to alleviate our pain.
  • It also serves as a means for dogs to bond with humans and reinforce the relationship between them.

Licking is not just a random and sloppy behavior; it holds significant social meaning for dogs.

By understanding the social role of licking in canine packs, we can better appreciate and reciprocate our dogs’ affectionate gestures.

dog licks my face when i cry

So, the next time your furry companion licks your face when you’re feeling down, remember that they are expressing their love, empathy, and desire to connect with you as part of their pack.

Dogs’ Empathy And Emotional Support

The Empathetic Nature Of Dogs And Their Ability To Sense Emotions

Dogs have an incredible ability to sense and understand human emotions, making them beloved companions in times of distress. Their empathetic nature allows them to pick up on our emotional cues and respond in ways that offer comfort and support.

One way they do this is through the act of licking our faces when we are crying. This seemingly simple behavior holds deeper meaning and significance in the realm of emotional connection between dogs and humans.

  • Dogs have a heightened sensitivity to human emotions, particularly sadness and distress.
  • They can detect changes in our body language, facial expressions, and even the scent of our tears.
  • This ability to sense our emotions is believed to be rooted in their pack mentality and the strong bond they form with their human family.
  • Dogs have evolved to be highly attuned to our emotional state, allowing them to fulfill their role as emotional support animals.

The Role Of Licking In Offering Emotional Support To Humans

Licking is a behavior commonly observed in dogs, and it serves various purposes in their interactions with humans. When dogs lick our faces while we are crying, it is their way of offering emotional support and trying to alleviate our distress.

This behavior has a few key roles in the realm of emotional comfort:

  • Licking releases endorphins in dogs, which can have a calming and soothing effect on both the dog and the person being licked.
  • The act of licking is thought to be a form of social bonding and communication for dogs, showing their affection and care.
  • Dogs may also perceive our tears as a sign of vulnerability and instinctively respond with comforting behaviors, such as licking, to provide reassurance and comfort.
  • Licking can also act as a distraction, redirecting our attention from our distress to the physical sensation of being licked, which can help reduce emotional turmoil.

Real-Life Stories And Experiences Of Dogs Providing Comfort Through Licking

Countless individuals have experienced the profound comfort and solace that dogs offer through their empathetic licking behavior. Here are some heartwarming stories showcasing the impact of dogs’ emotional support:

  • Susan, who suffered from anxiety and depression, shared how her dog molly would lick her tears away during her darkest moments, providing her with a sense of calm and reassurance.
  • David, a war veteran, spoke about the unwavering support he received from his service dog, max. Max’s gentle licks during times of emotional distress served as a reminder that he was not alone in his struggles.
  • Sarah, a cancer survivor, described how her therapy dog, Bella, intuitively sensed her emotions and would lick her face, bringing a sense of comfort and strength during her chemotherapy treatments.

These stories demonstrate the powerful emotional connection between dogs and humans and the unique role that licking plays in offering comfort and support.

Dogs have the innate ability to sense our needs and provide solace during our most vulnerable moments, proving to be true companions through tears and beyond.

Frequently Asked Questions  

Why Do Dogs Lick Your Face When You Cry?

Dogs lick your face when you cry because they want to comfort and bond with you. Licking is a natural instinct for dogs to show affection, and they also pick up on your sadness and want to console you. It’s their way of offering emotional support and showing empathy.

Is It Safe To Let Dogs Lick Your Face When You Cry?

While it may be comforting, it’s important to remember that dogs have bacteria in their mouths, including harmful ones. If you’re okay with the risks, letting them lick your face occasionally may not cause harm. However, it’s best to avoid it if you have any cuts or sensitive skin, or if you’re concerned about potential infections.

How Can I Discourage My Dog From Licking My Face When I Cry?

To discourage face licking, redirect your dog’s behavior by teaching them an alternative, like offering a toy or distracting them with treats. Consistently reinforcing and rewarding the desired behavior will help them understand that licking your face is not acceptable.

Do dogs comfort you when you cry?

Also, ensure they receive enough attention and mental stimulation to prevent excessive licking behavior.


To sum it up, the act of dogs licking your face when you cry can be attributed to several factors. It is primarily an innate response stemming from their instinctual need to comfort and nurture their loved ones.

Additionally, dogs have a heightened sense of smell, allowing them to detect changes in your body chemistry and emotions, which prompts them to lick your face as a way of showing empathy.

This behavior also releases endorphins, known as the “feel-good” hormones, in both the dog and the person being comforted.

Licking can also be a learned behavior resulting from positive reinforcement or simply seeking attention. Whatever the reason may be, the unconditional love and support that dogs provide is truly remarkable.

So the next time your furry friend showers you with wet kisses, cherish the moment and remember that they are always there to lend an empathetic ear and a comforting lick.

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