Why Do Dogs Lick Each Other's Ears?

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, getting licked too much by an over enthusiastic grooming partner might cause irritation. Your pooch may also end up with an ear infection, so check and clean your dog's ears often.

Mmmm. Ear Wax.

As gross as it may sound, it's possible that your dog is licking another dog's ears because he likes the taste of ear wax! After all, dogs have been known to acquire a taste for far stranger stuff. Your dog also may be savoring the saltiness in the ear, or he may simply be curious about ears and wants to explore them. 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 may be a show of affection and an expression of the friendship bond that exists between them. Similarly, when a dog licks his human's ears, he may be 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.

By Vivian Gomez

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References:

WebMD: Dog Body Language
Pet People's Place: Why Does My Dog Lick My Ears?
Responsible Pet Ownership Blog: Why Do Dogs Lick Us?

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.