why do dogs lick ears

Why do dogs lick ears?

Dogs are considered as the man’s best friend, and we have full faith in these words. They are available for us when we need help and often make us laugh. Sometimes we even consider their most natural instincts to be hilarious, which can be your pooch licking the butts of other dogs or barking at the delivery guy. We laugh because we don’t understand the behavioral characteristics of dogs, but some behaviors can mean a lot to our four-pawed friends. It makes it a necessity for all the owners to understand all these behaviors so that they can take better care of their pets and match their social expectations.

Dogs Licking Ears

Dogs lick a lot of things, including undergarments and any nasty thing that you can find on planet Earth. However, you must have noticed your dog slurping other dog’s ears or even yours. To us, this might look like normal behavior, but there’s a lot that goes in your dog’s head while licking ears, and that is something you must understand.

If you have wondered why your dog is so excitedly licking ears, it can be due to the following reasons:


Dogs, in some aspects, are like humans. The way our infants like to explore things, dogs, and puppies are also obsessed with doing the same. Although they might not ask you hundreds of silly questions like toddlers, they might like to poke their nose around a lot of things. This eagerness to explore things is also the reason why dogs mess up with things like toilet paper (and don’t forget, also your child’s homework!). As dogs cannot explore their environment with paws alone, they like to make use of their other senses too, including taste and smell. It can be a reason for your dog to lick ears to explore their shapes and everything that is hiding inside or behind them.


There are several ways dogs like to show affection to the people they love, and licking them is the most common of them. It is no surprise that your dog can be licking the ears of other dogs, or even people to simply tell how happy their existence makes them. Dogs often lick the ears of their puppies and other small animals as a sign of affection, which is an unquestionable science-backed fact. However, dogs not only lick ears when they want to show their love, but they can be licking your face or the muzzles of other animals too.

A Form of Respect

Your pooch loves you. It is sure because of the happiness it gives you. The frisky pouncing, all the licks, laps, and even obeying your command is a sign of showing how much your dog trusts you. Like humans, dogs are intelligent living creatures. Various studies have proved that dogs can be as intelligent as a 2yr old and can recognize when someone is really anxious about them. Therefore, your dog recognizes your efforts well and appreciates the owner-pet relationship between him and you. To thank you for taking his good care and upbringing, licking your ears is a form of respect. Sometimes dogs also lick the faces of other dogs whom they consider at a higher position in the social hierarchy, and that’s also because they respect them.


If your dog has puppies, then she can be simply licking the ears of her pups in order to clean them. In wildlife, nearly all animals follow the same mode of cleaning their offsprings, which is to continuously lick them. Your dog can have prepared a routine to clean the dirt on her pups, due to which she can be cleaning their ears, or simply must have spotted some dirt.


A serious medical reason why your dog must be licking another dog’s ears is because of a foul smell. This is a sign of infection in the ears of the recipient dog. If this is the case, you must check the symptoms of infection, like inflammation inside the ear or a strange odor. Sometimes excessive hair loss and itching are also a sign of ENT infection in dogs. If any such symptoms are present, you must take the dog to a vet and stop your dog from going near him, which can spread the infection. Licking the ear of an infected dog can also worsen the infection due to the presence of saliva on the ears, not to mention that it will also expose your dog to the infection.


We understand you are not interested in hearing this point, but a gross reason due to which your dog might be licking ears is because of the taste of the ear wax. If your dog finds it tasty, he will not only lick the ear wax but might also eat it (eww!). Dogs have a strong sense of smell, which is a hundred times more than that of humans, and they can smell all sorts of odor from a distance. If your dog can smell the ear wax, and like its saltiness, he is obviously going to eat it. Dogs eat whatever they consider as food, and it is up to you to stop them.


Not all dogs are born equal, some are lazy and some are smart. Some might want to play with you a lot or prowl on you for attention, while others even resist to get up for a walk. However, dogs cannot sit idle for too long. If they are awake and don’t have much to do, they will be interested in doing various annoying things, like eating food, or staring at you unless you give them food. When you are not available, they might resort to other things for entertainment like licking another dog’s ears. The reason behind this is that, while on streets, dogs have to gather food, but domesticated dogs are provided everything by their owners. As a result, they don’t have a lot to do all day long.


Along with the various reasons for which dogs lick ears, one is to seek attention. It’s no lie that all pets are attention seekers. They demand love from you at regular intervals and even feel jealous when you pet another dog in front of them. Fortunately, this behavior is also normal for dogs. It is not unusual for them to lick your ears when they are in a playful mood. What you can do to help your dog in this situation is give him the attention that every good boy deserves.

These were the reason for which your dog might be licking the ears of other dogs. To prevent infection, in some situations it is necessary to stop your dog from doing so. You should also take him to a vet if you doubt your dog has got a bacterial or viral infection. On the other hand, to kill the boredom of your dog, you can get him a fun toy or plan to spend more time with him on a weekly basis.

If you need any tips, advices, or want to understand certain behaviors of your dog, feel free to check our other blogs. We are continuously upgrading our information to provide you a reliable source to clear all your doubts.

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