Why Does My Dog Lick My Ears?

James Glover
by James Glover
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QuestionMy jack russell terrier likes to lick at our family members ears. We are wondering what kind of behavior he is displaying doing this? (Tine Dee - Massachusetts)

Answer

There are no negative attributes to this behavior, except for the obvious sanitary concerns you might have. Dogs may lick people as a signal of submission to more dominant "pack members", and licking of the ears specifically is supposed to be more of an indication of this. Or they may lick because they know they are not allowed to bite and want to occupy their mouths. More often than not, however, licking is a sign of affection and closeness. If you ever watch two dogs from the same home relaxing, they will spend hours grooming each other in a loving manner by licking.

Disclaimer: This service is meant to provide advice only and is not meant to replace an appointment with a registered veterinarian. Users should always seek a second opinion. Unfortunately we are only able to answer several questions per week so not everyone gets a published answer. And, unfortunately we can't answer by email.
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Mags0412
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Added on May 7th, 2009
My dog licks my ears all the time; I always thought it was strange but I actually prefer it to licking my face. It's really sweet and the only problem is that I rarely wear earrings anymore because I get worried she will knock them loose.
   
There are definitely worse things your dog could be doing, I just count my blessings about this behavior!