What does it mean when a dog licks other dog’s eyes? Here’s What to Do Next

Reason 1: Submission and Appeasement

Traditional dominance theory that previously led trainers to use forceful techniques like the alpha roll has been completely and thoroughly debunked. While there is a hierarchy to our dog’s lives, it’s not all based on submission, dominance, and force.

Within this hierarchy, there are signals of assertiveness and appeasement- or using traditional terms dominance and submission. These include a long list of body postures and actions like teeth chattering, submissive smiles, and licking the eyes and face among other things.

These appeasement signals can occur between dogs that live together but if you’re seeing your dog lick eyes when they meet a new canine then it’s likely meant as a sign of appeasement. It’s your dog’s way of saying hello, showing respect, and a signal that they’re not looking for any trouble.

Licks related to appeasement are usually quick and short. While many dogs seem to prefer going for the eyes, the muzzle is also a popular spot. This video does a great job showing what an appeasement lick looks like:

What Do Dogs Want When They Lick Each Other’s Eyes?

When a dog meets another dog, even in their own home, they meet and establish dominance. When your dog meets another, you may see one lower their head from the other one. Lowering the head is a sign of respect and timidness from the dog.

After meeting and establishing respect for each other, the licking and sniffing begin. Your dog or the other may lick the other’s face, particularly the eyes. It is a sign of acceptance and that they care for one another.

Licking the eyes and face ensures security and that everyone is taken care of. Mutually grooming and licking the face and eyes gives a sense of comfort. It’s just out of habit that your dog licks, and they want to be helpful.

Dogs lick as an age-old ritual that has been taught from dog to dog from birth and is instinctual. Licking their eyes is not different and can be a sign your dog wants or needs something. By understanding your dogs and how they read each other, you can figure so much out from one lick.

Reasons Dogs Lick Other Dogs’ Eyes

Dogs do not lick each other’s eyes for one singular reason. There are several reasons your dog may lick another dog’s eyes. The following are a handful of reasons this may be the case.

Why does my dog lick my other dog’s eyes and ears?

The main reason dogs lick each other’s eyes is for grooming. Dog’s saliva contains traces of antibiotical and antimicrobial elements, which help clean dirt and germs from the skin. A few other reasons for this behavior include submission, bonding, and obsessive behavior.

Humans have a lot of unusual quirks that are unique to our species. Whether it is using complex language, working together in groups to solve complicated problems, or transacting business, we as a species have traits that would likely seem unusual to other species (if they could process information the same way we do).

Dogs are not an exception to having unusual behaviors for their species. One such example is their occasional act of licking other dog’s eyes (or face in general).

At first glance, this might seem like a completely random act without a rational explanation. However, despite initially appearing nonsensical, there are several reasons dogs may lick the eyes of other dogs.

We have done the research and have obtained facts about the many reasons dogs do this, so let’s jump right into it and go over some of the main reasons.