Pomeranians were first recognized as a dog breed by the AKC in 1888. This pint-sized pup has grown to be one of the most popular dog breeds in the world and ranks 23rd on the AKC’s list of the most popular dog breeds in the US1.
Pomeranians are loving, loyal, and lively pooches that love to cuddle and play with their owners. And while it’s normal for dogs to lick their owners, Pomeranians can be a little too much. Dogs lick their owners instinctively when happy, stressed, or bored. This licking might seem fun, adorable, and mostly harmless, but it could be embarrassing or unhygienic if it gets out of hand.
Puzzled about why your Pomeranian can’t stop licking you? Here are a few reasons why your Pomeranian licks you too much, how to stop it and why dogs lick in the first place.
Why Do Dogs Like To Lick?
Dogs love to lick; it is a part of their nature. Licking is one of the ways dogs explore their environment. This is often the case in puppies who are learning from the world around them.
Through licking, dogs communicate, express their emotions, and groom themselves or others. Mother dogs will lick their puppies to keep them clean, give them comfort, and encourage them to go to the toilet. Licking is also a sign of affection and a great way to bond. Similar to how we use our hands to caress people we love, dogs use their tongues.
Some dogs will lick almost anything, and excessive licking can also be a sign of stress and anxiety in dogs. If a dog is constantly licking an area of their body, that can be a sign of pain or skin injury or irritation.
The 7 Reasons Your Pomeranian Licks You So Much
1. They’re Showing You Affection
As mentioned earlier, Pomeranians are loving creatures, and one way to show their affection is by licking their owners. We show our affection by hugging and kissing the people we love. Pomeranians and other dogs show it by slobbering all over their owners.
If your Pomeranian licks you on sight, they’re only telling you that they love you and are excited to see you again. Interestingly, licking triggers the release of oxytocin and endorphins that help your dog relax.1 Just like we enjoy petting our dogs, so do they enjoy licking us.
2. They’re Trying to Get Your Attention
Your Pomeranian will go into a licking frenzy if you ignore them for too long. Pomeranians love spending time with their owners and won’t take being ignored kindly. A Pomeranian craving attention might bark, whine, and lick their owners until they give them attention. While it’s downright annoying, Pomeranians do so instinctively, and these actions are out of their control.
It’s worth noting that some Poms find licking a more “persuasive” way to get your attention. It’s certainly much better than barking or whining. Some Pomeranians will try to lick their owners’ faces instead of making unsettling noises.
3. It Might Be a Sign of Empathy
Pomeranians and other dogs can sense our emotions, read our facial expressions, and understand our non-verbal cues. If you’re feeling sad, your Pomeranian will likely notice and might respond in ways that resemble empathy. How and why they do this remains unknown. Your Pom might try cheering you up by licking your face. The dog might also be mimicking your facial expressions but giving it a canine twist.
You may be surprised to find out how well our pet dogs can learn to interpret our facial cues and the different responses they get from you after expressing different behaviors. It is not a coincidence that they have become man’s best friend.
4. Your Pomeranian Is Bored
Pomeranians are energetic and love to play, so when they’re bored, they’ll find ways to relieve this boredom. One way to do so might be by licking their owners. Licking helps relieve their boredom and keep their minds stimulated. They may also lick the furniture, walls, and floors, which can indicate a bigger issue. Sometimes, excessive and persistent licking can also be a sign of stress, anxiety, or even pain. If your Pom is suddenly licking themselves, you, or objects and areas in the house, it’s best to get them checked by your vet.
5. You Taste Good
The licking is simply because the natural salts from your perspiration taste good to these creatures. If you have recently eaten, your Pomeranian can smell the food from your breath and will sneakily try to get a taste.
You might also notice this behavior when you try a new lotion or body cream, as mentioned before, licking is a way dogs explore. However, these products are not safe for dogs to lick, so make sure you stop this straight away and let your skin absorb them before continuing cuddles with your Pom.
6. It May Be a Show of Submission
Licking may be a sign of submission and is a behavior seen in wolves. Submissive dogs may also lick the more dominant member from their “pack” or group. Your Pomeranian might lick you to show that they recognize you as their pack leader and will follow your lead.
7. They Think You Like Being Licked
We mentioned that dogs are very good at reading your body language. Laughing or smiling when your Pom licks you will only encourage them to lick you some more. You may have rewarded them with a treat or patted them after licking you. Your dog interprets the rewards as approval for their behavior. As such, they’ll keep licking you whether you like it or not.
What Should I Do to Stop My Pomeranian From Licking Me Excessively?
It’s important to understand that your Pomeranian’s licking behavior is natural and happens instinctively in most cases. However, there are some medical reasons that might cause your Pom to lick you, themselves or other objects excessively, and it might also be a sign of stress, pain or anxiety. If you find your Pom’s licking habits have changed or become more obvious, it’s best to get them checked by your vet. Don’t be too harsh on your Pom, even when the licking gets out of control. Try the following if your Pomeranian’s licking annoys you and your vet has given them a clean bill of health.
Give Them Attention When they Stop Licking You
Sometimes all your Pomeranian wants is a little attention. However, giving them attention while they are licking you tells them you are actually enjoying it; you are rewarding them with your positive responses. Do not encourage them to lick you if this is not want you want, as they won’t be able to distinguish when you are okay with being licked and when you’d rather not. You would be sending them conflicting and confusing messages.
Instead, find other ways to entertain them and reduce their boredom. There are many games and ways to mentally stimulate your dog and distract them from licking. Also, do not forget that your Pom needs daily physical exercise. Exercising them will also address the boredom that exacerbates the licking behavior. Always dedicate part of your day to spending time with your Pomeranian.
Identify and Eliminate Your Dog’s Stress Trigger
If you suspect that your pet licks you because they’re stressed, identify what’s stressing them and remove it from your home or minimize it. It could be loud noises, a scary object at home, or a house guest. Remove the dog from the stressor to stop the licking behavior.
Try Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is an effective way to curb your Pomeranian’s excessive licking behavior. The next time your Pomeranian tries to lick you, you can try ignoring them or moving away. As soon as they stop and interact with you in another way, reward them with your attention or a tasty treat and keep repeating the same. This will show your dog that you approve of the non-licking behavior. Over time, your Pomeranian will stop licking you as much. Never punish your dog, as that is inappropriate and harmful and will fail to teach them anything. You will just compromise your bond and trust level, which has taken time to build. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your dog.
Is It Okay for My Pomeranian to Lick My Face?
The average dog harbors about 600 different types of bacteria in their mouth. This is a worrying statistic considering how often our dogs lick our faces. But we are no different and have our own bacteria in very similar numbers. This question has no right or wrong answer and every pet parent makes it for themselves. But you should be aware of few facts before you decide what is best for you and your Pom.
Dogs stick their mouths and tongues in all sorts of places, some dirtier than others, and like to keep their private areas clean by frequent licking. Some might have dental disease and even higher than usual amounts of mouth bacteria. All this means that dog licking might pose a risk to some people. Some of these groups include children, pregnant women, people with skin wounds or cuts on their faces or hands, and people that are immunocompromised, have cancer, and/or receive chemotherapy or other immunosuppressants. They might get sick from the dog’s bacteria.
We can also make our dogs ill, in some instances, if they lick our faces or our skin. The sunscreens, body lotions, and medicated creams that we apply to our skin, all of which contain a wide variety of chemicals, can give dogs an upset stomach or cause irritation to their mouth and tongue. We can also transfer some of our bacteria or viruses to our dogs.
Consider these aspects when making a decision if you should let your dog lick your face, and make sure you are thinking of your dog’s safety as well as your own.
How dogs communicate and express themselves is different from how we do. The licking from your Pomeranian is most likely in good faith and is usually a show of love. But if you don’t like it, you can use positive reinforcement to teach them this isn’t a desirable behavior or provide a distraction. Remember, your Pom needs daily physical and mental stimulation to prevent boredom that might exacerbate this issue.
Also, be wary of your Pomeranian licking themselves too much, particularly if they are focusing on a certain area of their skin or frequently licking their lips. All of this may indicate that there is an underlying health condition that requires prompt veterinary attention.