So… why does your dog lick and nibble your ears? … We love our dogs, and often the things we love most about them are their funny behaviours. What we consider to be cute or quirky, very often are a means of communication for our dog.

Below we will answer the burning question… Why do dogs like licking ears?


So, why does my dog lick my ears?

To some, this behaviour is hilarious, while others find it a bit gross. Regardless of your opinion on it, it is typical behaviour for dogs. But, have you ever asked your why dogs do this?

1. Affection

A show of affection is the most likely reason why your dog will lick your or someone else’s ears. This behaviour has roots back when dogs lived in packs. Licking another dog’s ears showed that the recipient dog had been accepted into the pack.

So, if your dog is licking your ears, it means that it is comfortable and feels safe in your presence. You’ve been accepted into your dog’s family, so to speak.

2. Respect

Your dog might also lick your ears to show you a mark of respect. Licking or grooming you are submissive signs that your dog recognises you as the boss. The same applies if your dog licks your face or your feet.

3. Boredom

Of course, there could be a more straightforward explanation – your dog is bored, and they want to tell you it’s time for play! If your dog is not getting sufficient stimulation, they may resort to this behaviour. Keeping them active, with plenty of toys and treats, usually stops the ear licking.

4. Grooming

As already mentioned, grooming is a mark of respect that stems back to animal-pack behaviour. By licking your ears or face, your dog thinks it is helping you keep yourself clean. So, no more need for those bottles of scent in the bathroom!

5. Taste

We’ve all experienced our dogs having a nibble at something pretty gross. Well, licking your ears might be your dog trying to get hold of some tasty earwax! Dogs can smell even the slightest trace of food, so any smear left around the chin or face area will immediately get them salivating. 

6. Infection or Compulsion

If another dog is licking your dog’s ears, you may want to take a closer look. Smells attract dogs, and those smells often originate from an ear infection.

Inspect your dog’s ears and look for swelling, inflammation, mites, or overly dirty ear canals. If you notice any of these, then it is advisable to get them addressed immediately, as ear infections can be incredibly painful for your dog if left untreated.

If you know that your dog has got an ear infection, keep them away from other dogs to discourage ear-licking, which can worsen the condition.


What does ear licking mean?

Dogs communicate in different ways. From body language to facial expressions, dogs find ways to “talk”. Licking ears is another way of communicating, although it may seem a little gross, this is a common form of showing affection.

Certainly, this kind of dog behaviour says … “I love you” and “we are part of the same pack,” irrespective of species.


Can I get an ear infection from my dog licking my ear?

The risk of getting an ear infection from a dog licking your ear is quite low. However certain categories of people such as infants and those at high risk of infection could be vulnerable and it is best to stop the dog licking in these instances.


How come my dog nibbles me with his front teeth?

Your dog nibbling you with their front teeth is undoubtedly an instinctive behaviour, in particular for young puppies. As well as this being an instinctive behaviour it is also one of the most frequent teething behaviours


How to stop your dog licking or nibbling ears

You may well adore having your ears licked or nibbled by your pet, but other people might not find it quite so attractive. So, how can you stem this behaviour before it turns into an embarrassing situation?

One solution that many experts recommend is to put your dog’s food inside a toy. Your dog has to focus and work to get its tasty reward.

Occupying their mind this way will take their attention off your, or anyone else’s, ears. This distraction method has proved to deliver exceptional results.

Another way to distract your dog’s attention from the boredom that often causes ear-licking is to take them for a short walk. Do this as soon as they start licking, or, even better, just before they start if you identify the behaviour early enough. The mere mention of a walk, or reaching for your dog’s lead is more than enough to get them excited and forget about your ears!

Either putting food inside a toy or a brief walk is usually enough to get your dog to stop licking ears, but you might not get the results you want immediately. Like forming or reforming any other habit, it takes time and repetition to get the lasting effects that you want.

Whichever method you choose, keep at it, and eventually, you should see some positive results. You may not remove the behaviour entirely, but it may happen less frequently than before.



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