Why do dogs lick each other’s ears?

Dogs are known for all sorts of strange behaviors, including licking each other’s ears.

Learning about the social behaviors of your pet will allow you to understand and appreciate it even more. There are numerous explanations for this particular behavior that you’ll want to know about.

Grooming

One of the most common reasons that dogs lick each other’s ears is because they are grooming each other. This tends to happen quite a bit with dogs that live in the same space. It is basically them taking care of a pack member. The mutual licking ensures that both dogs’ needs are taken care of. 

The more of this grooming your dog receives, the less work you will have to do as its owner. It is important to keep your dog’s ears clean, and this is one way of doing that. That being said, you might also want to clean their ears when you give them the occasional bath. This will help prevent ear infections, which can be painful for your pooch.

You can think of this behavior as being like when monkeys go through each other’s fur to pick out ticks and other types of parasites.

They Enjoy the Taste

Some dogs will lick another one’s ears if they enjoy the taste of their earwax. While it might seem pretty disgusting to us, a lot of dogs actually like it quite a bit. The inner ear is fairly salty, which could be another reason why they keep licking them.

huskey licking

It’s Just Curiosity

There is also a possibility that your dog’s licking is due to plain old curiosity. These animals do all sorts of things for this reason. It is why they are always sniffing and poking their noses into anything that seems interesting. 

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Dogs don’t have hands that they can explore things with like we do, so they often use their mouth. This could be nothing more than your dog being curious about a fellow canine. It is perfectly harmless behavior.

Affection

Another common reason that dogs lick each other’s ears is because they are showing affection. It could just be your dog’s way of expressing their enjoyment of another’s company. They might also lick their face or all over their body for this reason. It is also a sign of respect among these animals. 

Again, it is fairly common with dogs that live with each other. Once they establish a deep bond, they begin exhibiting these types of behaviors. This means that they get along really well, which is something you should be happy about.

Submissive Behavior

When a dog is around others of its own kind, it may exhibit submissive behaviors like allowing its ears to be licked. This occurs when a dog submits to another one that has established itself as the pack leader. It is why this behavior is not uncommon with people who own multiple dogs. Allowing the other dog to lick their ears is a sign of respect to be sure. It also means that it trusts and feels comfortable with them.

french licking

Ear Infection

If your dog has an ear infection, there could be yeast accumulating in its outer ear. Another dog could be attracted to the scent and/or taste, which is why they are licking it. 

Dogs have an incredibly powerful sense of smell. They are the first ones to detect an ear infection, even though they don’t realize what it actually is. If you notice one of your dogs licking another’s ears a lot, you should keep this in mind.

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Some of the other signs of an ear infection include:

  • Scratching their own ear frequently
  • Yellow or blood discharge coming from the ear
  • Hair loss surrounding the ear
  • Shaking or tilting their head oddly
  • Rubbing their ear against the floor

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to get your dog to the veterinarian as soon as possible. While most ear infections are not immediately dangerous, they shouldn’t be allowed to go untreated. Your dog is most likely in at least some pain, and it will only get worse if you don’t get it taken care of.

Anxiety

Dogs tend to lick things when they get anxious or they are stressed. This might happen if you have more than one dog at home and there is a thunderstorm or fireworks are being set off outside. It is a dog’s way of coping with anxiety.

If your dog is compulsively licking another dog’s ears without any apparent cause, they could have an anxiety disorder (yes, dogs can have those). You should take your pet to the veterinarian to see what they have to say about it.

Dogs that lick due to anxiety are usually pretty indiscriminate—they will look like the floor, furniture and just about anything else. This is something to keep in mind when trying to decide if you should take action.

When Should I be Concerned?

Ear licking is typically not a big deal amongst dogs, but it can be if it begins causing irritation. Keep eye on your dog’s ears to make sure that this isn’t happening. If you notice any redness, swelling or irritation, you shouldn’t allow this behavior to continue. It is also a good idea to have them looked at by a vet if the irritation doesn’t go away on its own.

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Final Thoughts

It is perfectly normal for a dog to lick another one’s ears. There are at least several reasons for this behavior, most of which are no reason to be concerned. Just make sure that you are aware that your dog could have an ear infection if it is getting its ears licked. You’ll want to be on the lookout for the signs that are listed above. 

This is usually just a way of dogs to show their affection towards each other. If you’ve had two sibling dogs in your home since they were puppies, they are probably going to do this at some point.

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