Why Do Dogs Lick When You Scratch Them

You might have often noticed, every time you give your pup a hug, they will lick the air. Why do dogs lick when you scratch them? There are many reasons, let’s learn about them below.

Dogs love to get attention from their owners, so when you scratch them, they feel good about it and lick the air or show their contentment and happiness

Dogs can not speak and thus have actions to communicate what they are feeling. Read on to find more about why dogs like to lick when you scratch them and the meaning of their behavior. But there are many other reasons why your dog might be licking, and we will discuss all of them in the article below.

Sign of affection

If a dog licks you or itself while you scratch them, it shows its affection towards you. Dogs licking when you are scratching them can be associated with them showing a feeling of contentment and pleasure; however, there can be other possible reasons for it. 

Don’t like invasion of privacy

Some dogs don’t like humans in their personal space and may lick you so that they can get some distance between you and them. Other times a dog may lick at your mouth to try to get away from you as he doesn’t find the scratching pleasant.


If your dog is bored or anxious about something, it will also lick at the air or any object to calm itself.

Getting rid of something on their mouth

It is also possible that your scratching has nothing to do with your dog licking, and it might be to get rid of something that got stuck in its mouth. Another reason for a dog to lick the air, any object, or itself is a canine compulsive disorder.


Licking at things of a dog can be its way to heal itself. Several medical conditions can also be why your dog is excessively licking. A dog suffering from an infection, allergies, digestive issues, or pain can lick itself or any other object excessively to soothe its pain. 

If your dog has an excessive licking problem, it is better to get it checked at a vet to determine the cause.

Why Do Dogs Stick Their Bum In The Air?

It helps release pheromones to mark you. It could also be a sign of affection, happiness, and playfulness.

When dogs stick their bum in the air with their head down then, this pose is considered a playful gesture. This stance of dogs lets the onlookers know that they are in a mood to play and are not going to play nicely. 

A dog in a play bow pose will be aggressive while playing, and if they are out in the open, you need to be alert as they can run past you at high speed, and you may fall if you accidentally come in their way.

If you find your dog with their bum up in the air and ahead down after they wake up, it is to stretch their muscles. Another cause for your dog to stick its bum in the air closer to your face is a way of them demanding attention from you or showing you that they trust you. 

Any dog apprehensive of you won’t ever turn its back on you. By pushing their rear close to you, they are keeping their teeth away from you to show that they meant no harm to you. 

Dogs have glands that release pheromones just below their tails so sticking their bum in the air closer to you is a way of them trying to claim you as their own by leaving their scent on you. 

Why Does My Dog Lick My Armpit?

They might be attracted by the intense odor.

Your dog can choose to lick your armpit as a way to show its affection towards you. Licking is a way for dogs to convey their feelings, and licking your armpit shows how much it adores you. 

Since dogs have a sensitive nose and by using perfumes, deodorants, and sweat accumulation in your armpit, contains an intense smell that is appealing to dogs and might be the reason for your dog to lick your armpit.

Another reason your dog licks your armpit is trying to groom you to its liking. Dogs groom themselves and others by licking, so licking your armpit can be a way to do that.

If you are not wearing any deodorant and your dog licks your armpit, it means the dog is attracted to the smell of your armpit. Dogs often associate their owners with their scents, which is why they are attracted to their owners’ dirty and used socks or underwear. 

Another possible reason for your dog to lick your armpit is that sweat accumulation in your armpit has salt content, and your dog likes the taste of salt. 

Why Does My Dog Lick The Air When I Scratch Him?

Licking has many possible reasons. Most of the time it is just a matter of affection.

When you scratch your dog, it might lick you to show affection towards you. When a puppy is born, a mother dog licks her puppies to clean them, comfort them and show her affection. 

Most of the time, a dog associates licking with showing its affection, which is why they lick the air, themself, or even you to showcase their affection toward you. Licking is a standard behavior associated with a dog, like wagging its tail, and can have several different meanings depending on the situation.

When you scratch your dog, the process is enjoyable. It might lick the air to show that it enjoys the scratching and wants you to continue it. There might be some area on a dog’s body it can’t reach on its own, and when you unintentionally scratch the area, it feels great relief, and licking the air might be to show its satisfaction. 

Another reason for a dog to lick the air is that it can not reach to lick you as they don’t want the scratching to stop.

Dogs with a problematic past may not enjoy being scratched and maybe licking the air to deal with their anxiety. Dogs can be under stress, and licking the air can signify that.

Dogs often lick to ease their pain, and if you accidentally scratch an area on their body with an injury, they can also lick the air. 

If a foreign object is stuck in the mouth or the teeth of a dog, they can also lick the air to try to remove the stuck particle. Sometimes dogs can mistakenly consider some behaviors to please their owners, and licking the air might be one of them. 

If your dog is licking the air excessively even when you are not scratching them, it can also be a canine compulsive disorder. A dog will do certain tasks and can not stop doing them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do dogs lick their lips when you scratch their back?

They like the feeling.

Scratching the back of a dog lets you form a greater bond with the dog, which is something that a dog enjoys. When you scratch the back of a dog, it licks its lips to show contentment. 

So, licking their lips is a sign from the dog that whatever you are doing to them is pleasurable for them. Also, licking lips can sometimes be associated with them trying to appease a person or another dog they see as a threat, and it is their way of letting them know that they are not looking for a fight.

Why do dogs lick you when you pet them?

It’s a way of showing their love.

The main reason for a dog to lick you while you pet them is that they feel comfortable and safe with you and show their affection towards you. However, there can be several other reasons for a dog to lick you, one of them being their need for personal space. 

Dogs notice that when they start to lick people, they get their face away from the dog, and they unintentionally start thinking that licking someone is a way to get some space between the human and themself. Another reason for your dog to lick you is that they are craving some salt and human sweat contains salt.

Why do dogs lick their legs when you scratch them?

They like the feeling and licking is a way to show that they want more of it.

When you scratch a dog, it is pleasurable to them, and they lick themselves or you to show that they are happy. Sometimes a dog’s licking itself while you pet it, scratch it, or give it a belly rub has no deeper meaning other than that your action is pleasurable for it, and it wants you to continue. 

However, if you find your dog’s licking behavior extreme, it might be due to some medical issues.

Why does my dog lick where I scratch myself?

It might be their way to clean your wounds.
Dogs have an instinct to lick their wounds and injuries to aid healing. If you scratch yourself in the presence of your dog, it might associate your scratching with a cut or injury, and that is why it licks where you scratched yourself. 

Several antimicrobial and antibacterial properties in a dog’s saliva help with healing. Also, licking the wound can help remove any dirt or dead cells, which speeds up the healing process.

Final Words

Licking is typical behavior in dogs that can represent anything from affection to hunger, depending on the circumstance. A dog licking air while giving them a scratch can mean they feel happy with all the attention you are giving them.

While normal to moderate licking is okay in dogs, if you see them licking excessively, there might be some medical problems associated with it, and it is better to get them checked out at the vet.

Thank you for reading the article, we hope that it could answer all your questions. You might also like to read: Why Do Dogs Lick Their Balls? And My Dog Moans When I Scratch His Ears