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Friday, February 26, 2016

Why do my dogs lick each other's ears?

“I have two Labradors and they’re always licking each other’s ears. Why do they do that?”

According to What Dogs Want by Arden Moore, Caring for Your Dog by Bruce Fogle, and the article “Why Do My Dogs Lick Each Other’s Ears?” by Lisa McQuerry, there are a few possible reasons. Dogs lick to relive stress or just for something to do, so they could be anxious or bored. It’s also a way to show submission – when two dogs meet, the lower-ranking dog will often lick the higher-ranking dog.

However, it’s also just a good-natured show of companionship. From a young age, dogs will lick each other to establish and re-affirm bonds. Mothers will groom their puppies, and the puppies will lick her muzzle to indicate that they’re hungry. If our patron’s Labradors are friendly with one another and otherwise content, they’re likely engaging in friendly allogrooming.

While this is likely a harmless display of canine friendship, McQuerry cautions to keep an eye on the dogs to be sure that moisture from excessive ear-licking doesn’t lead to an infection.

For more information on dogs, Decoding Your Dog and Myrna Milani’s Dogsmart are both available for borrowing here at Newton Falls Public Library.

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