Why Do Dogs Lick Themselves After a Bath?

why do dogs lick themselves after a bath

Our dogs do so many questionable things that even the oddest and queerest human beings would find strange. Sometimes it’s humorous and jolly. Other times, it’s straight out of the most mysterious box. Also, it makes us uncomfortable, especially if you are in the middle of something important.

Our dogs lick a lot, as everyone knows it. They will lick when they are happy, nervous, or confused. They will lick themselves, the floor, the walls, and the babies. So, you see, licking is next to breathing in the case of a dog. Hence, licking itself after a shower shouldn’t come as a shocker to you. Still, the question may arise. Why do dogs lick themselves after a bath?

Worried? Should you be? It’s nothing out of the ordinary. And it’s healthy too! Your dog is comforted by it, plus you should even encourage it. In this article, we will tell you when and why dogs do this and so many more exciting details, so read on!

When do dogs lick themselves?

Dogs lick and groom themselves sometimes like cats. In other cases, like that of infection, dogs lick themselves to relieve themselves. For example, they are itching from diseases, bacteria’s and allergies. It could also be a skin trauma. Don’t be surprised, because many times it’s only their boredom leaving no other way to comfort themselves.

Even after you remove the problem, the dog will likely continue to lick itself and end up ingesting some hair follicles along with some germs. Dogs licking themselves after a bath is widespread, too, especially when you have forgotten to dry it with a towel and it attempts itself.

A strange phenomenon for a dog owner is when the dog tries to lick its master when done with its shower. One explanation is that because dogs clean themselves this way, they think their masters, too, want this. Because we all like to be clean, right? Another explanation is that they like the water on your legs.

Most importantly, dog licking is a sign that they care about you. For you might receive a dog lick on several occasions, almost frequently. And they might even lick an injury on your body. And don’t get unnerved by the dog saliva that came upon your wound because dog saliva contains anti-bacterial chemicals, so that may even help your bruise to cure faster!

After a session of rolling in your backyard or some muddy pile in the street, you will notice that dogs clean themselves by shaking off the dirt and the grime by fuzzing up their furs. Afterward, the dog will lick itself everywhere with preciseness. Another example is their act of feathering about in the grass as they roll and spin to brush their hair.

Likewise, after some training in your backyard, you might see them turning over your carpet. And this may make your carpet dusty. But the point is that it’s just trying to clean itself! Your dog does have several ways of cleaning itself, and some of them may seem rather disgusting to you. One such example is when it trails its tongue or face along the floor, especially after a meal, to clear any food remnants from its tongues and mouths.

A healthy way of fixing this is to keep your dog washed and bathed. But well, it leads to further licking. That once more leads us to the main question. Why do dogs lick themselves after bathing?

Why do dogs lick themselves after bathing?

In general, dogs have conspired multitudes of reasons for their licking. While Cats have earned themselves a name for their grooming habits, dogs are no exemption to this habit themselves. Perhaps you don’t find it hygienic, but you haven’t thought of the other plausible reasons behind their licking. For dogs, this is mainly an act of hygiene. Their tongues can remove the mud, gravel, mucosal tissue, and toxins their coat contains. It is quite a powerful tool for cleaning due to the anti-bacterial chemicals in the saliva.

Their saliva keeps their mouths just as clean as our mouths become after brushing our teeth twice a day. Just because they are animals doesn’t necessarily mean that they are dirty. This act of cleaning has been modeled by his mother usually. It’s a powerful way of disinfecting. Dogs lick paws for this very reason.

There are other ways of keeping themselves hygienic, however. Such as the full-body jiggle that we mentioned in the above section. There are other reasons for such behavior which may be more worrisome. Your dogs may lick when they are nervous, like we bite our fingernails as an automotive reaction to stress. Consider seeing a veterinarian after much inspection.
What to do about it?

When your dog licks itself after showers and baths, it is best to dry it well and thoroughly with a towel and later blow-dry his hair. Your dog will love this procedure as it will make it feel lighter. Additionally, this process aids in removing maximum dead hair or hair that is loose. You can use special shampoos with the suggestion of your vet, as well.

In bacterial infection cases in which the dog keeps licking, it’s recommended to take it to a vet. The vet mostly prescribes dog cones. After an average amount of licking and nibbling, you should give it the cone to no longer worsen the wound. A case of licking joints and paws could infer joint problems or paw injury.

Immediately, contact your vet to resolve these issues if you find such issues and problems with health. To find out any underlying inkling of these issues, look for swollen, red, or bleeding sore areas.

You should watch out for their unusual lickings as a responsible guardian and help them out. There is a term called a canine compulsive disorder, similar to the OCD of human beings. The disorder entails that the dog cleans and licks too frequently.

Dogs sometimes lick random parts of their bodies for comfort, unable to trace and fix the actual issue. Licking and nibbling, and grooming contribute to the release of endorphins fighting stress, anxiety, and physical pain. You need to train and teach your dog to develop better coping mechanisms and bring it to the vet to understand the causes behind the compulsivity.

People Also Asked

What does it mean when a dog licks its privates?

A reasonable extent of licking is an aspect of daily behavior in the canine universe. For instance, after urination, a dog can cleanse the genital area. If so, licking is only associated with removal and is not consistent.

What causes dogs to lick everything?

Many dogs are bored or nervous because of a shift in schedule, fear of separation, or a new animal in the house. It will help if you are ready to invest additional time for your dog and even leave a therapeutic toy for relief while you’re gone.


If you have gone through my article, It should be clarified to you about the dog’s licking as per the question: Why do dogs lick themselves after a bath? And this is usually harmless. As a dog owner, you should take good care of your dog and let it be as clean as possible. Just be careful of the harmful side effects of this phenomenon. It is needless to say, let it lick to its heart’s content after its bathing.

Written by Beatrix Nanai

Beatrix Nanai was born in Budapest, Hungary. She graduated from the University of Veterinary Sciences, Hungary in 1998. There she completed a surgical internship. After 2001 she relocated to the USA and after passing ECFVG for foreign graduates, She completed a surgical externship at South Carolina Surgical Referral Services. In 2014 she obtained her second specialty board certification and became a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. Has several peer-reviewed publications and written articles for The Pet Grooming.

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