10 Reasons Why do Golden Retrievers Lick So Much

It is actually common for dogs like the Golden Retrievers to lick you or other things around him. However, most dog owners and new pet parents do not have a full understanding of the real meaning of this doggy behavior. If you have a Goldies and he’s consistently doing this, there would be a significant reason behind that. But, why do Golden Retrievers lick so much?

In this blog post, we will reveal the truth behind the licking behavior of the Golden Retrievers. We will also decode the meaning of this doggy behavior. Dogs usually lick themselves, their pack members, and even their owners for so many reasons. And ruling out this canine’s behavior generally required a full understanding of the cause.

So, if you are ready to discover the answers about why do Golden Retrievers lick so much, come and read along with us until the end.

Various Reasons Why do Golden Retrievers Lick So Much

Canines including the Golden Retrievers have behaviors that are very hard for us to understand. However, behind those behaviors are reasons that would help us to trace its root cause. Actually, why do Golden Retrievers lick so much accompanies too many reasons that need the owners’ comprehension. Let’s try to understand the meaning behind Goldies’ licking behavior.

1-Human owners taste good

Most of the time, the Golden Retrievers really like to lick us. Well, the reason behind that licking behavior of the Goldies is because they like our taste. Actually, sometimes there are small food particles left on our skin that only our Goldies can able to find. And for them that tastes so good.

Moreover, humans’ skin is a little bit salty because we have natural salt in it in which the Golden Retrievers lick so much. So, if you will observe your Goldies licking your face and hands especially right after eating, they may probably like the salty taste in it.

2-Part of grooming

One reason why do Golden Retrievers lick so much is because of their grooming needs. Just like the felines, a great way for them to groom themselves naturally is to lick their skin and fur. Commonly, the paw is their favorite part of their body in which the Golden Retrievers lick so much. Most of the time, you will observe that the Goldies will lick their paws after being outside because they want to remove the dirt they acquire from roaming around.

That’s why you need to give extra attention to the amount the Goldies is licking his self. Keep in mind that moderate licking is a normal behavior not only by the Golden Retriever but also by all canines. Yet, too much licking may be due to underlying medical problems. One example is the continuous licking of the anal area. This generally means that the glands of the doggy are needed to be expressed.

Golden Retrievers Licking Their Private Area so Much

Actually, it is less appealing and generally annoying when the Golden Retrievers lick their private areas. But, as we have mentioned, moderate licking of that area is normal behavior. Male and female Goldies will have to lick their genitals right after urinating in order to clean their penis or vulva. In case the licking of this area is not persistent, that would be directly related to elimination in which a quick lick to the area will do the job.

However, licking the anal area after the process of elimination by the dog is actually not a usual thing for them. Yet, if there would be a presence of sticky or watery stool, the Golden Retriever may want to clean up quite a little. Always remember that the normal result of elimination for dogs is firm bowel movements which is not succeeded by Golden Retrievers too much licking.

*When to consult the vet when Golden Retrievers lick so much?

Once the Golden Retrievers lick so much especially on their genital area, it is a strong indication that there is an existing medical condition. In case you see any of the following signs, immediately consult the veterinarian:

  • Discharge coming from the penis or vulva
  • Foul odor between eliminations
  • Rubbing the rectal area on the floor
  • Skin discoloration
  • Strain during urination
  • Swelling and redness of the urogenital area
  • There are pustules or red bumps on the skin around the genital area of the doggy
  • There is an increased amount of urination
*Underlying conditions associated with too much licking of the genital area

Golden Retrievers licking so much on their genital or anal area are connected to some medical conditions. Here are the following:


Right after urinating, the Golden Retrievers may lick their penis or vulva for a longer period of time if they have stones or an infection on their bladder. Frequent urination or straining upon urinating may be experienced by the Goldies. Most of the time, the dog may have an urge to urinate but there will too little urine that comes out. The bladder infection in dogs is commonly due to bacteria that respond to antibiotic treatment.


Another reason why do Golden Retrievers lick so much especially on their genital area is the itching over that private part. Usually, itching of the genitals occurs in case the Goldies has an environmental or food allergy. Unfortunately, the dog may suffer from all-year-long genital itching when the Golden Retriever has a food allergy. Environmental allergy may not cause that much itching because it may be seasonal depending on the pollinating plants.


It is actually normal for dogs to have bacterial or yeast infections. The infection normally occurs if the bacteria or yeast present in it are too much, have an unhealthy skin barrier, or dogs are immunocompromised. Infection of the genital area due to bacteria and yeast may result in itchiness thus the Goldies may elicit constant licking behavior.


The anal glands of dogs are located close to the rectum and it also has remnants of scent glands that have smelly fluid. Usually, it empties itself as soon as there is pressure over the rectal muscles when a bowel movement is performed. Normal anal glands of the Golden Retrievers are not usually noticeable.

But, impacted ones release unwanted odors and there is a possibility of swelling and irritation. The reason why do Golden Retrievers lick so much especially their genital area is due to the response to that irritation.

3-Way of healing

Most canines including the Golden Retrievers usually lick their wounds so much. This is because of their natural instinct with themselves and with their owners. It is normal for dogs to lick wounds of any kind such as cuts or grazes as long as it is painful and irritated. But, the question is why do they do that in an excessive manner?

Basically, the saliva of canines includes antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It generally helps in battling again different types of bacteria. Removing dead tissue and cleaning the dirt surrounding the wounds are also a benefit that the Golden Retrievers may get from licking their wounds so much.

However, don’t get surprised if your Goldies may lick your wounds as well. Remember, licking cuts and grazes is a natural instinct of the dogs. So, if they do this to you, they would just help in cleaning your wound. Thus, doing that may also aid in speeding up the process of wound healing.

Golden Retrievers licking to wounds may also give a number of benefits. However, doing so in excess there would be too many risks at hand that could generally outweigh the benefits. There is a high possibility that the mouth of your Goldies has infection-causing bacteria. So, instead of punishing your Golden Retriever because of so much licking, it is better not to encourage this behavior.

why do golden retrievers lick so much


Another reason behind too much licking of the Golden Retriever is just the dog is trying to calm himself. For dogs, licking is a healthy way of relieving stress but doing it too much generally encourages anxiety and worsens the problem.

5-Way of communication

Dogs generally have their way of communicating with humans. Unfortunately, we may generally find it hard to interpret what our Goldies really want to tell us. Licking so much is one way of communication of the dog to us. Most of the time, the Goldies want to tell us that they are already hungry or they want to be friends with us.

Well, as a pet owner, it is very important to respond back once our Goldies are communicating with us. So, it is better to observe your surroundings once the Golden Retrievers are licking so much. There would be a high probability that the dog has something to ask for when the Golden Retrievers lick so much.

6-Showing affection

Basically, one of the common reasons behind the behavior of the Golden Retrievers of licking so much is they’re trying to show affection. During their puppyhood, dogs are being licked by their mothers. As they grow old, the Goldies’ way of kissing their human friends is through licking. They lick you so much because they want to tell you how much they really love you.

However, there will come a point that too much licking or kissing by your Goldies would become excessive. In case this happens, try to ignore your doggo by transferring to another room. That way, you will teach your pooch that the licking may give you a reason to leave him.

7- Seeking for attention

Golden Retrievers do lick so much because you are not paying your attention to him. Another thing is that you give more of your attention to your Goldies.

8-Exploring around

Dogs generally want to explore the world around them. In order to discover the outside world, the Golden Retrievers use their tongues just prior to the opening of their eyes. More often, the licking behavior of the dog may eventually become a habit. And it will progress until they grow into adulthood. With that, the Golden Retriever may lick the things around them naturally.


Once the Golden Retrievers start licking so much especially on the floor, on its lips, or wet things around, it is a sign that he is dehydrated. That’s why always make sure that the Goldies have an access to the water.

10-The dog is still young

During puppyhood, canines tend to be more excited and curious that’s why they may lick more. As he grows, the puppy will able to calm down but training them to behave is actually crucial. So, invest more time on that.

Ways to Stop the Goldies from Licking So Much

why do golden retrievers lick so much

Now that you have an idea about the reasons why do Golden Retrievers lick so much, it is already time to make ways that can prevent them from doing so. Check below for ways that can help you from stopping the licking behavior of the Golden Retriever.

*Avoid rewarding your dog for such behavior

A great option of stopping the Golden Retrievers from licking so much is not to reward it when he does that behavior. That way, you will able to teach the Goldies that licking you or the things around him may not give him all the things that he wants. It is actually better to turn away once the dog is eliciting such behavior. You will generally prevent focusing your attention on him until such time that he calms down.

*Reward the Goldies if he does not lick

Once the Golden Retriever does not lick so much, reward him as much as possible. Doing so may also be a big help and it is also a great way to prevent rewarding the dog once he licks. Moreover, this will also teach the Goldies that not licking you will lead him to get the things that he wants.

*Present some toys

Try to offer some toys to your Golden Retriever so that he may be distracted. This is very much applicable when your pooch seems that licking so much is an excitable behavior.

*Provide plenty of exercise

Golden Retrievers actually require plenty of exercises every day. Exercise is a big help for the Goldies to be fully stimulated. The recommended time for the Golden Retriever to have a daily exercise is at least one hour per day.

*Go to the vet

As a general rule, when the licking behavior becomes persistent, done frequently, or the dog starts showing signs of underlying conditions, immediately take him to the veterinarian. They are the ones knowledgeable of tailoring the behavior of your Golden Retriever. Moreover, they will give you detailed instructions on how to properly rule out the behavior or the underlying condition associated with it.

*Bring more patience

Basically, training your pooch also needs more patience on hand. Keep in mind that it would be very impossible to immediately change the behavior with just one training completed. The key here is to be consistent so that you will be able to get better results for weeklong of course training.


Remember some of the important key points below. These will generally be of big help when you want to reduce the licking behavior of your pooch.

Don’t allow the Golden Retriever to lick your face

Generally, the tongue of the Goldies and even all of the other canines may have germs in it, do not let them lick your face as much as possible.

Try to call for help

Okay, if you are already tired of stopping the licking behavior of your Goldies but you can’t able to do it on your own; the best thing to do is to ask for help. A professional dog trainer, dog behaviorist, or veterinarian would better assist you on this. They will help you in dealing with the situation and stop your dog’s behavior in a secure and safe way.

Final Thoughts

There are actually many reasons behind the licking behavior of the Golden Retrievers. Moderate licking is actually a norm for canines. But, doing so frequently and excessively could already be connected with some more serious problems. Ignoring such doggy behavior is one of the best ways to stop the licking of your Goldies. However, don’t forget to ask for a vet’s help once it becomes persistent and you can’t able to reduce the severity of the behavior yourself.

Do you have a Golden Retriever that constantly licks you or other things so much? What do you observe about him? Is one of the reasons stated above addresses your Goldies licking behavior? Please share your thoughts with us!

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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