sad woman hugging dog that is licking her

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Have you ever noticed your dog licks your face eagerly when tears start to flow? It’s a moment that can turn a frown into a smile, leaving many pet owners wondering why their loyal pups choose this particular time for affectionate kisses.

If you’ve found yourself puzzling over your dog’s tender behavior while wiping away those salty droplets, rest assured you’re not alone. Understanding the “whys” behind our canine friends’ actions is part of the joy—and sometimes mystery—of being a devoted dog owner.

It turns out there’s science behind these slobbery shows of love; research suggests dogs really can sense human emotions and often react in ways they think will help. Our article dives into the heartwarming reasons why your four-legged friend may lavish you with licks during an emotional moment.

We’ll share insights on canine behavior that might just change how you see those wet-nosed nuzzles forever. Ready to unravel the affectionate mystery? Keep reading for some enlightening answers!

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs lick humans when they cry as a way of comforting them because they sense emotional distress.
  • The taste of tears can attract dogs, causing them to lick because they enjoy the salty flavor which triggers endorphins in their brain.
  • Canines are empathetic and can read human emotions through various cues like voice tone and facial expressions; this allows them to respond appropriately when their owner is sad or anxious.
  • Dogs may also lick when feeling stressed or anxious themselves, using the action as a means of self – soothing and stress relief.
  • Recognizing and responding positively to your dog’s licking behavior during emotional times can reinforce the loving bond between you and your pet.

Understanding Your Dog’s Behavior

Dogs communicate through actions much like they did as wild dogs, and licking is a prime example of this behavior. It’s not just about taste or habit; it’s deeply rooted in their DNA to lick for various reasons, ranging from affection to hierarchy establishment.

Observing your dog licking can give you insights into their emotional state and needs – whether they’re seeking comfort or offering it, trying to understand your sadness, or simply responding to the taste of your tears.

This natural behavior sheds light on how dogs perceive us and want to interact with our world. As pet owners delve deeper into why their furry friends choose to lick them when they cry, one must consider the comforting aspect of this act not only for humans but also for the dogs themselves.

dog licking womans face on bed

Main Reasons Why Dogs Lick Humans When They Cry

Your dog is trying to comfort you

Imagine your puppy starts licking your face when tears begin to stream down your cheeks. This tender behavior is their instinctual way of offering comfort. Dogs have a natural inclination to nurture those they love, especially when they sense upset emotions.

As they lick you, endorphins release in their brain which not only soothes them but also aims to make you feel better.

Your dog may lick your face during moments of sadness because they are hardwired to respond with affection and care. They’re letting you know that you’re not alone and that they’re by your side, ready to offer support just as they would within their own canine family units where licking is a common gesture of solidarity and tenderness.

So the next time your loyal companion begins showering you with affectionate licks at a tearful moment, understand it’s part of being a dog who simply wants to help ease your distress.

Your dog likes the taste the taste of your tears

While your dog may want to comfort you by licking your face, another reason they are drawn to you when crying could be the salty flavor of your tears. Your furry friend has taste buds that react positively to the saltiness, similar to their interest in other salty things like snacks or skin after a workout.

It’s not just about liking the taste; this natural behavior can also trigger a release of endorphins in their brain, creating a pleasurable experience for them.

Licking salty tears for dogs is akin to indulging in a treat and it provides them with sensory enjoyment. Moreover, this action helps strengthen the bond between you as they engage in an activity that makes them feel good.

Next time your dog licks those tears away, remember it could be part affection and part attraction to the unique taste that comes naturally from your sadness.

Your dogs is feeling stressed or anxious

When dogs are feeling stressed or anxious, they may exhibit behaviors like excessive licking to self-soothe and alleviate their emotional distress. Excessive licking in dogs has been linked to anxiety and stress release, indicating a strong connection between emotional turmoil and this behavior.

As a pet owner, it’s important to recognize the signs of stress or anxiety in your dog, such as obsessive licking or other unusual behaviors, and take appropriate steps to help them feel more secure and comfortable.

By addressing your dog’s stress or anxiety through training techniques, creating a calm environment, providing mental stimulation, or seeking professional veterinary advice if needed, you can help your furry friend cope with their emotions effectively.

dog licking sad woman on couch

Dogs and Human Emotions

Dogs are incredibly intuitive animals and can often sense when their humans are feeling sad or anxious, leading them to respond with comforting behavior like licking. If you want to understand more about how your dog may be responding to your emotions, keep reading!

Can Dogs Read Human Emotions?

Dogs possess an impressive ability to pick up on human emotions. Through their keen sense of smell and sensitivity to body language, they can detect changes in our mood, responding with empathy and support.

Research suggests that dogs can recognize human emotions using cues such as voice intonation and facial expressions. Their strong emotional connection to humans enables them to comfort us when we are feeling sad or anxious.

It’s fascinating how dogs use their natural instincts to comprehend our feelings, making them attentive companions during times of distress. The hormone oxytocin contributes to their understanding of love and affection, creating a bond that allows them to respond sensitively to our emotional states.

Do Dogs Care When Humans Are Sad or Anxious?

Dogs have the remarkable ability to sense and respond to human emotions, including sadness and anxiety. Research indicates that dogs can detect stress in humans through their sense of smell, leading them to provide comfort and support when they see their owners in distress.

Moreover, studies show that dogs not only feel distress when they see their owners sad but also exhibit behaviors that show empathy aimed at helping, such as offering physical affection like licking or nuzzling.

Canine empathy is a real phenomenon; it’s not just a pet owner’s impression. Dogs have been found to pick up on chemical and physiological cues from people, allowing our moods to become contagious.

This means that when you’re feeling down or anxious, your dog may genuinely care about your emotional state and try to offer comfort in their own unique way.

small dog licking womans face


Understanding why your dog licks you when you cry can strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend. Recognizing that dogs may lick to show affection or provide comfort during distressing times is crucial for pet owners.

By acknowledging this behavior, you can respond with patience and care. Remember, by reciprocating love and attention, you are reinforcing positive behaviors in your beloved canine companion.

Lastly, being attuned to your dog’s signals of support allows for a deeper connection, creating a harmonious relationship built on mutual understanding and empathy.

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Written by Tom Cashman

I have grown up with pets for almost fifty years. My family has strong ties to the animal shelter community in Chicago. Currently I have two cats: an orange tabby named Zelda, and a gray mixed named Zander. Like all of my pets, they were adopted from a local animal shelter. Pet Zone represents my passion for sharing with the pet community.

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Why Does My Dog Lick Me When I Cry?

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