Why Do Dogs Lick Each Other's Ears?


If you own pets, you've probably observed some weird habits in your adored pets. Dogs are known for their licking habits, whether licking their paws, owners, or other dogs. But have you ever wondered why dogs lick each other's ears? (What a weird behavior it is!) Is it a sign of affection, curiosity, or something else?

It's difficult to understand why they would be licking their ears at first, but your dog may be giving in to ancestor-driven cravings, or they may just be craving a small snack!

Now, we will explore the possible reasons why dogs lick each other's ears and what it means for their behavior and health. We will also give you some tips on how to stop or prevent excessive ear licking if it becomes a problem for your dog or their friend.

8 Reasons Why Your Dog Licking Each Other Ear

Dogs lick each other's ears for various reasons, some of which are natural and beneficial, while others may indicate a problem or a need for attention. Here are some of the most common reasons why dogs lick each other's ears:

1. To Let Them Know They Are Friendly

Dogs are social animals that live in packs. They use licking as a way to communicate and bond with each other. Licking is a natural behavior that dogs learn as puppies when their mother licks them to clean and groom them. Licking also stimulates the release of endorphins, natural chemicals that make dogs feel good and relaxed.

Dogs show that they are friendly and trustworthy and accept the other dog as a pack member by licking each other's ears. Ear licking can also be a way of greeting and showing respect to a dominant or older dog or comforting and soothing a submissive or younger dog. Ear licking can also help dogs calm down and reduce stress, especially in new or unfamiliar situations.

So, ear licking for dogs is a sign of friendship and trust. But sometimes, it can also be a sign of anxiety or boredom if it becomes excessive or compulsive. If your dog is licking their or another dog's ears too much, you should consult a veterinarian or a behaviorist to find out the cause and the best way to treat it.

2. Bonding with Them

Dogs also mean that they are close to each other and love each other by licking their ears. Ear licking is a form of grooming. It is a social behavior that helps dogs maintain their hygiene and health. However, too much licking can also cause irritation and damage to the ears, so it's essential to monitor and limit this abnormal behavior if necessary.

Grooming also releases oxytocin, a hormone that promotes bonding and happiness. Oxytocin is the same hormone released when mother dogs (and humans!) nurse their offspring or when humans hug or kiss someone they love. Oxytocin can help dogs feel more connected and secure with each other and strengthen their trust and loyalty.

3. Grooming

Dogs are intuitive to grooming themselves and other dogs in their social group. Licking each other's ears can be a part of this grooming behavior. It's their way of maintaining hygiene within the pack.

Dogs can't reach their ears with tongues, so they rely on other dogs to help them clean their ears. Ear licking can help remove dirt, wax, and parasites from the ears and prevent infections and inflammation. However, too much licking is not relaxing for them. So, excessive ear licking can also indicate a problem or a need for attention. It's best to monitor your dog's ear-licking habits and take action if needed.

4. Ear Infection

Dogs have a keen sense of smell. They can detect when another dog has an ear infection. Ear infections are caused by bacteria, yeast, or ear mites, and they can affect the outer, middle, or inner ear canal. Ear infections can cause pain, itching, and discharge in the ears, and dogs may lick each other's ears to try to soothe and heal them.

Moreover, this can also spread the infection and worsen the condition, so it's advisable to consult a veterinarian and treat the disease as soon as possible.

5. The Taste of Earwax

It's a very sickening moment for us. But some dogs may lick each other's ears simply because they like the taste of earwax. Earwax contains fatty acids, minerals, and other substances that may appeal to some dogs' palates. This may seem gross to us, but it's normal for dogs. Dogs have different taste preferences than humans, and they may enjoy flavors that we find unpleasant or bitter.

However, excessive ear licking can cause problems such as irritation, infection, and hearing loss. So it's best to discourage this behavior and offer other treats instead.

6. To Freshen up in That Area

Dogs have sweat glands in their ears, and they may lick each other's ears to help them cool down and freshen up. This is especially common in hot and humid weather, when dogs may feel uncomfortable and sweaty in their ears. Ear licking can help them regulate their body temperature and feel more comfortable.

Dogs don't sweat as much as humans; they mainly rely on panting to release heat from their bodies. Dogs help each other evaporate the sweat and lower the temperature in that area. Ear licking can also help them remove any dirt or debris that may clog the sweat glands and cause irritation or infection.

7. Stress Relief

Dogs may also lick each other's ears to cope with stress and anxiety. Licking can release endorphins, natural chemicals that make dogs feel good and relaxed. Ear licking can also provide comfort and support to a feeling nervous, scared, or lonely dog. It is a way for dogs to show affection and alleviate stress or anxiety.

8. Communication

Dogs communicate with each other through body language, vocalizations, and scents. Licking each other's ears can convey different messages, such as submission, dominance, curiosity, or playfulness. Ear licking can also help dogs learn more about each other's health, mood, and personality. Besides, dogs can establish and maintain their social relationships and hierarchy by licking each other's ears.

Dogs use ear licking to communicate non-verbally and gather important information about their environment. It is a way for dogs to communicate within their social structures and reinforce their bond with their human companions. Moreover, ear licking can be a playful gesture that invites another dog to engage in fun and friendly activities.

How Can you Stop licking Ear Behibiours?

If your dog licks other dogs' ears too much, you may want to stop this behavior to prevent any problems or complications. Here are some ways that you can stop your dog from licking other dogs' ears:

Need Proper Traning

You can use positive reinforcement training to teach your dog to stop licking other dogs' ears on command. Whenever your dog licks another dog's ear, give them a verbal cue, such as "no" or "leave it." If your dog stops licking, offer them a treat as a reward. With enough repetition, your dog will learn that they only get rewards when they refrain from ear-licking behavior.

Anti-Lick Products

You can also use anti-lick products to discourage your dog from licking other dogs' ears. These products are sprays or ointments with a bitter or unpleasant taste or smell that dogs don't like. You can apply these products to your dog's ears or the ears of the other dog, and your dog will soon learn to avoid licking them.

Regular Grooming

You can also prevent your dog from licking other dogs' ears by keeping their ears clean and healthy. You can use a gentle ear cleaner and a cotton ball or gauze to remove any excess wax or debris from your dog's ears. Along with this, you should avoid using cotton swabs, as they can push the wax deeper into the ear canal and cause damage.

Distract them

Finally, you can also stop your dog from licking other dogs' ears by distracting them with something else. You can offer your dog a toy, a chew, or a treat to divert their attention from the other dog's ears. Moreover, you can also play with your dog or take them for a walk or a run to keep them occupied and stimulated.

Final Thought

Dog licking is only one of many actions that, while occasionally repulsive, are frequently expected of a member of the pack. However, if your dog is obsessive, it may harm the other dog's ears. An ear infection could result from it.

It's crucial to keep in mind that it could be an indication of a medical problem in the other dog. It could also indicate that your dog is bored and needs some exercise or socialization to keep content and healthy.


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