Why Boston Terriers Lick So Much?

At one time or another, all Boston Terrier parents may worry that their pup is broken. You may assume his tongue is permanently an external fixture that can never go back into his mouth. While Boston’s constant licking may seem involuntary, he has many reasons why he does it.

Most of us don’t mind the occasional good morning lick on the hand, but sometimes it can become overwhelming. Understanding the reasons behind your Boston Terrier’s licking may help you to curb the behavior when he seems to treat the world like his own personal lollipop.

Why Boston Terriers Lick So Much? Boston Terrier Society
Bella licking Emily in the face.

Why Do Boston Terriers Lick So Much?

Boston Terrier’s lick for several reasons outside of just communication and exploring her world. Also, your Boston Terrier may be licking you for these reasons; affection, submission, feed me, taste good, obsessive-compulsive, and medical concerns.

Why your Boston Terrier licks explained

Here is an in-depth look as to why your Boston Terrier licks.


If you watch dogs interact with each other, you’ll notice a lot of licking, especially of the face. Mother dogs lick their puppies to clean them, and dogs often lick each other as a form of greeting. Your Boston may lick you to show you that you’re part of his pack and that he loves you!


All dog packs have a hierarchy with alphas and betas. Consider yourself as part of the pack and licking from your Boston Terrier may signify that he thinks you’re number one and ruler of his world.

Feed me, please

In the wild, wolves and other canines feed their pups by bringing back meat that they killed away from the den. When the parents return to feed them, the puppies often lick the parents’ faces to let them know that they are hungry and ready for dinner. Though your Boston doesn’t expect a fresh kill when he licks you, he may be asking for a quick snack.

They like the flavor

When seeing and touching isn’t enough, some curious or adventurous pups use their tongues to explore their environment. They might find that they actually enjoy your flavor, especially if you’ve been sweating, or appreciate the texture of the carpet.

Obsessive Compulsive

Boston’s can be very energetic dogs, and if they aren’t allowed to blow off some of that steam, they will focus that energy elsewhere. Compulsive licking of themselves, others, or inanimate objects may be due to boredom and anxiety.

Medical concerns

Since our Boston Terriers can’t tell us that something is wrong so that we will take them to the veterinarian, they may try to ease pain and discomfort by licking the area. They may also lick if their skin if it is itchy from dryness or allergies.

Why Your Boston Terrier’s Licking Might be a Problem?

Most of us don’t mind a friendly ‘hello’ lick after a long day of work or mind that their Boston cleans the floor after dinner, but sometimes licking can be worrisome. Not all of us enjoy being a human ice cream cone first thing in the morning or want to worry about stepping on our little friends because they’re busy licking the leg of our jeans.

Your Boston’s licking desires may start to become an annoyance and actually interfere with your regular bonding and playtime. It may also become a rift between your Boston and other pets. Most cats aren’t going to take kindly to licking, and it might scare the hamster half to death!

Licking Harmful Things

Boston Terrier licks can also become an issue when they start to lick things that aren’t safe. For example, your pup might develop a taste for dirt and actually lick enough to cause an intestinal blockage.

You also don’t want them licking up foods off the floor that could be toxic like chocolate. Licking your shoes or clothes after you’ve been in contact with other dogs. This random licking can possibly transmit diseases without your pup ever coming in connection with the sick dog.

Medical Reasons For Licking

Any medical condition that causes your Boston to lick should be looked at immediately.  Dogs suffering from arthritis may lick at their feet and legs to try to ease the pain.

Food or environmental allergies may cause your pup to lick his belly or feet as well.

As your dog friend ages, you may notice a difference in their behaviors that can include licking.  Usually, this isn’t the only change that you will see, but it is one that you shouldn’t ignore. If licking hasn’t always been your Boston terrier’s forte but has suddenly increased in frequency, it’s time to see your vet.

Final thoughts…

Your Boston’s licking should be viewed as love towards you. I know sometimes it may be annoying. I have at times freaked out because of Bella’s licks, but she does it out of love.

If you think your Boston’s licking may be due to a medical condition, ask your vet what can be done.

How often does your Boston lick you? Please leave a comment below.

Donnie Gardner

Donnie Gardner is the owner of the Boston Terrier Society. He has been raising Bella the Boston since 2010. He resides in Kansas with his wife, daughter, and Bella. His favorite activities are hanging out with family, traveling, running (but has bad knees), and reading non-fiction books.

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