Why Do Dogs Lick Each Other’s Eyes (7 Reasons)

I love my dogs but sometimes they do some odd things. For example, my male dog will stare at me for long periods of time. I’ll be minding my own business and suddenly I’ll feel this intense gaze and realize that my dog has been staring at me for who knows how long.

Don’t even get me started on their fascination with rolling in stinky things! Yuck! Sometimes, though, dogs do weird things as a way to communicate with us or each other.

For instance, a dog might bark to let us know that there’s someone at the door. Or, a dog might yip and wag its tail when it’s happy. In short, dogs have their own way of communicating with us and with each other.

But what about licking each other’s eyes? Why do dogs lick each other’s eyes? The top reasons are:

  • Grooming
  • Submissiveness
  • Affection
  • Bonding
  • Being Motherly
  • Wound Cleaning
  • Good Taste

It’s Normal For Dogs To Lick Another Dog’s Eyes

Dogs live in a different social world than we do. They communicate differently, form relationships differently, and have their own set of rules and etiquette.

It can be fascinating to observe how dogs interact with each other and with us humans. To understand which reason a dog is licking another dog’s eyes, we need to see the big picture.

As you read through, don’t forget to take a dog’s other behaviors and body language into account.

Grooming Each Other

Dogs lick each other’s eyes as a way to groom one another. This is probably the most common reason dogs do this.

When dogs lick each other’s eyes, they are cleaning them by removing that gunky eye discharge dogs have as well as any other dirt or debris that may be in the area.

Dogs can’t lick their own eyes, so this is a great way to give and get a much-needed quid-quo-pro cleaning.

Submissive Behavior

When dogs lick another dog’s eyes, it can be a sign of submission. Dogs will often do this when they meet a new dog or when they are around a dog that they view as being higher up in the pack hierarchy.

By licking the other dog’s eyes, they are essentially saying “I’m not a threat, I’m submissive to you.”

A lot of times, this licking behavior is seen in puppies when they meet an adult dog for the first time. It’s also common among rescue dogs who may have come from an abusive home or a shelter.

Being Affectionate

Sometimes, dogs will lick another dog’s eyes as a way to show affection. This is most common among dogs who are friends or live with the same family.

Dogs who are licking each other’s eyes in this way are usually trying to communicate that they care about the other dog and want to show them some love.

Bonding With Each Other

Dogs who lick each other’s eyes may also be trying to bond with the other dog. This is common among dogs who are new to each other and are still in the process of getting to know one another.

By licking each other’s eyes, they are essentially saying “I want to be friends with you.”

This behavior is also common among puppies who are trying to bond with their littermates.

Being Motherly

Mother dogs will often lick their puppies’ eyes as a way to clean them and keep them healthy. This is an important part of being a mother dog and helps to ensure that the puppies’ eyes are free of any dirt or debris.

Newborn pups are essentially blind, with their eyelids shut tightly for the first week or two of their lives. This is because the eyes are still developing so the mother must take extra care to keep them safe.

Wound Cleaning

Dogs will also lick another dog’s eyes as a way to clean any wounds that may be present in or near the eye. While not always the best thing, dogs instinctively lick wounds as a way to clean them and promote healing. So, it could be that the dog is just trying to help out and play nurse for the other dog.


Dogs have a very different idea of what tastes good than you and I.

For dogs, licking another dog’s eyes is probably not about the taste. But, some dogs may enjoy the taste of eye discharge or even just the salty tears that are present in the eye.

Is It Bad When Dogs Lick Each Other’s Eyes?

Generally speaking, no. Dogs licking each other’s eyes is pretty normal behavior and is nothing to be concerned about.

However, there are a few things you should keep an eye out for.

If you notice that your dog is excessively licking another dog’s eyes or if they seem to be doing it in a rough way, then it’s probably time to intervene.

You should also keep an eye out for any redness, swelling, or discharge in the area around the eyes. If you notice any of these things, it’s best to take your dog to the vet to get checked out.

Finally, if your dog is licking another dog’s eyes and the other dog doesn’t seem to like it, then you should stop them.

Even though licking another dog’s eyes is pretty normal behavior, not all dogs enjoy it. If the other dog is trying to pull away or looks uncomfortable, then it’s best to stop your dog from doing it.

Summary: Why Does My Dog Lick My Other Dog’s Eyes?

With all their silliness, dogs certainly make our world an interesting place. Figuring out why dogs do what they do can be a challenge. But it is important to understand your best friend as much as possible.

Why does my dog lick my other dog’s eyes? It could be for one or more of the reasons we went into above. Remember, you’ll need to take into account the whole interaction between the two dogs when trying to understand what is going on.

Whatever the reason, it’s safe to say that licking another dog’s eyes is perfectly normal behavior for our furry friends. So, if you see your dog doing it, don’t be alarmed.

However, it’s always best to keep an eye on things to make sure that everything is okay. And, if you have any concerns, it’s always best to talk to your vet.

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