As a pet owner, you may have noticed several peculiar behaviors in your furry friend. Barking at nothing, growling, continuous self-licking, and chasing its tail are just a few examples. However, there is another odd behavior in dogs that you may not have observed frequently: licking each other’s ears.
Recently, many pet owners, including our friends who own multiple dogs, have become concerned about this peculiar behavior exhibited by their puppies.
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As pet owners, Sara and I often share our experiences and opinions on dog health and behavior, but we were also in a dilemma this time! What would be the correct answer to this question,” Why does my dog lick my other dog’s ears.”
After consulting with a veterinarian and reading numerous articles, we are here to provide you with an answer. In this article, we will share some important facts about this unusual ear-licking behavior in dogs. Read on to learn more.
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Reasons for Dogs Licking Each Other’s Ears
If you have dogs at your home, you may have noticed that dogs not only lick other dogs’ ears, but they lick human ears as well. Now the question is, why do they do it?
The first answer is quite simple: it’s their instinct. Yes, you read it right. Dogs are pack animals. They used to live in the woods with their family members. Over time, they have become household animals to us due to evolution.
But their inherent instinct remains with them. Generally, when pack animals live together, they care for each other by licking their limbs, such as the ear, body, and other parts. Now, as they live with their human families, they consider us as part of their pack. So as a gesture, when they find new pals in the house, they start licking each other’s ears, noses, and mouths too.
1. Canine communication:
It may seem weird to you that your dogs lick each other’s faces or ears, but it is a part of communication for them. It has been observed that dogs and other animals also lick each other’s body parts. Many behaviorists say it’s a part of communication.
2. Part of Mutual Grooming:
When dogs lick each other’s ears, they care for each other. It is a part of grooming behavior. Humans can care for themselves without any problem, but dogs can’t do that alone. So when they find a new partner, they share a mutual grooming season. It is one kind of social bonding behavior that can be observed in dogs.
3. Due to ear wax:
Apart from grooming, there is another cause behind the innate behavior of your canine, which is ear wax smell. Yes, ear wax is another reason for dogs’ weird ear-licking behavior. It might sounds gross, but dogs are attracted to the smell of ear wax. It is still confusing why dogs like ear wax so much!
In some case studies, it is said ear wax tastes salty, and the texture of ear wax is buttery. That’s the reason why your canine loves other dogs’ ear wax. However, this explanation is not scientifically proven.
4. Scent recognition:
Dogs rely on their sense of smell to recognize and remember individuals. While humans use visual cues to recognize people, dogs use their sense of smell. They can detect scents from the ears, which helps them remember their companions or possibly their owners. Thus, they sometimes try to sniff the ear wax to gather information about their pack members.
5. Way of greeting:
As we mentioned earlier, dogs used to be pack animals. They used to live with their family. So whenever they see some new member in their family, they show their gesture to the new member, and as a way of greeting, they lick each other’s ears.
This happens with humans, also. When we bring new friends to our house, our furry pal starts to lick them and take rounds of the newly entered guests. It is a welcome gesture. At the same time, they try to understand humans as well.
6. Ear hygiene in dogs:
When a dog’s ear gets infected, it may start producing a pungent smell in the ear; Itchy ears in dogs result in a pungent smell in their ears. Itchy ears can result in a foul odor, which dogs find appealing. This might explain why your dog licks other dogs’ ears.
7. Compulsive Behavior:
If you notice that your dog is licking everyone’s ear without any prior signs of excitement, then observing this behavior for a couple of days is necessary. In observation, if you notice your canine is compulsively licking everyone’s ear, this behavior has become a compulsive characteristic of your dog, which you should not entertain for an extended period. Take your canine to the veterinarian to check this up as soon as possible.
Related Post: Why Does My Dog Bite Other Dog’s Ears
8. Due to laziness:
It might sound funny to you, but it is true. When you leave your furry pal at home alone, it develops laziness. And it has been noticed that bored dogs develop weird behavior in their free time.
So don’t be surprised if you find your dog licking your other pal’s ears or yours. Try to observe your dog and talk to a behaviorist consultant in this case.
How to address your dog’s ear licking behavior
While the above reasons may explain why dogs lick each other’s ears, you may be wondering how to address this behavior. Don’t worry, we have some useful tips that may seem simple but can help you eliminate this odd behavior in your furry friend.
1. Find Out The Medical Condition:
The first and foremost advice we would give you is to check your medical condition. Check your dog’s ears thoroughly, and if you see anything disturbing, such as colossal ear wax or pusses in your dog’s ear, try to heal the medical condition.
Do not search for home remedies on the internet. It is suggested to consult with your veterinarian first. Your vet will suggest how to eliminate or treat the medical issue.
2. Keep Your Dogs Engaged:
Due to idleness, your dogs may start developing ear-licking behaviors, so if this is the case, you must keep your dog engaged whenever it tries to lick another dog’s ear or your ears.
Giving them chew toys is the best way to keep your dogs engaged. Yes, only chewing toys will keep your dog excited quickly. We have already shared some best dog toys with you previously. These toys are not only the best dog toys on the market, but also help your dog get rid of this weird ear-licking behavior.
3. Train your dog:
To stop your dogs’ licking behavior, you must train your dogs regularly for a couple of weeks. This way, your dog will understand what to do and what not to do.
To train your dog, you need to instruct them while they try to lick other dogs’ ears. Just instruct them by saying “no,” Initially, they may not listen to you, but they will follow your words over time.
4. Give them something more delicious to lick:
Giving a treat is a proven method to stop your dog’s ear-licking behavior. If your furry pal has developed this weird behavior of licking ears, wait; we have a simple solution. Give your dog some peanut butter when you see your dog is about to lick another dog’s ears.
Peanuts are an excellent treat for your dog. It comes with nutrients and 25% protein; thus, if you give this creamy butter to your pal, it will not lick ear wax instead of eating peanut butter.
Ear licking is not a severe issue at all, yet if you see your dog vigorously licking other dogs’ ears, then at some point, you may think it is not good, and maybe you’re right. There may be some underlying causes.
So, pay attention to whether your furry pal is licking other dogs or your ear. Try to recognize the timing, surrounding smell, and other factors and judge it. And if you find something weird, try to consult with your veterinarian as early as possible.
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1. Is ear licking a sign of dominance or submission in dogs?
A: Yes. A submissive dog may remain calm, while dominant dogs may start licking the ears of a submissive dog. By noticing the body gesture of your dog, you will understand the submissive and dominant behavior of dogs. In most cases, submissive dogs keep their tails down.
2. Does ear licking between dogs indicate a problem or health issue?
A: An ear infection is one of the most common health issues that attract other dogs to the infected dog. Usually, when a dog’s ear gets infected, it releases a pungent smell that attracts other dogs toward them.
3. How can I tell if my dog’s ear-licking behavior is appropriate or excessive?
A: This depends upon your dog’s general behavior. If you see something abnormal, then take it to the veterinarian. After examination, they will tell you whether your dog’s ear-licking behavior is appropriate or excessive.
4. Can dogs transmit diseases or infections through ear licking?
A: Yes, there is a possibility that dogs can transmit infections through ear licking. Dogs put their mouth everywhere you never knew last time where they put its mouth in search of food or out of curiosity. They may carry some fungus and bacteria, too, through their saliva.
5. What are the possible motives behind ear-licking behavior?
A: The primary reasons behind dogs’ ear-licking behavior are interaction with other dogs and a form of greeting.