Why Do Dogs Lick Ears?

by Vivian Gomez
    One of the reasons dogs may lick each other's ears may be to show affection.

    One of the reasons dogs may lick each other's ears may be to show affection.

    Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Dogs are beacons of constant communication. They use facial expressions and body language to convey any number of messages. One of the methods in which dogs communicate with each other, and with us, is by engaging in ear-licking. Ear-licking generally is benign and often a gesture of affection, even if it seems a but unsavory for us.

    Grooming

    When a dog licks another dog's ears, it may be simply an act of grooming. Two dogs who live side by side and consider each other part of one pack will feel comfortable grooming each other. Since a dog cannot lick his own ears to clean them, another in his pack will do so. While ear-licking might stave off ear mites, too much licking, especially deeper in the ear canal, might cause irritation. Your pooch may end up with an ear infection, so check your dog's ears often and clean them.

    Tasty Ear Wax

    It is possible that your dog is licking another dog's ears because he likes the taste of ear wax. Your dog simply may be savoring the saltiness in the ear or may be curious about it. Dogs experience the world with their mouths, just as babies do when they are learning about the world around them.

    A Show of Affection

    When two dogs lick each other's ears, it is a show of affection and an expression of the friendship bond that exists between them. They are showing each other respect as pack mates who are close. A dog who licks his human's ears is showing that human affection and respect, and communicating the bond he feels with his human.

    Submission

    Licking ears sometimes is a dog's way of demonstrating he is submissive to the person or dog receiving the ear-licking. The dog who is getting his ears licked is the dominant dog, and the pack mate doing the licking is showing him respect.

    Photo Credits

    • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Vivian Gomez contributes to Retailing Today, the Daily Puppy, Paw Nation and other websites. She's covered the New York Comic Con for NonProductive since 2009 and writes about everything from responsible pet ownership to comic books to the manner in which smart phones are changing the way people shop. Gomez received her Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Pace University.

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