Ask a Vet Archive

When it comes to your pet's health, there's no such thing as a dumb question. Search questions real clients have submitted to our popular Ask a Vet Q&A series, and then submit a question of your own.

  • I have a dog that licks you a lot if you've been sweating. Can someone explain why? Is it the salt in the sweat? I've also heard they might be lacking something in their dog food.

    Sweat is mainly water, lactate, and urea combined with a variety of mineral such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium etc. The levels of these minerals is typically low and varies on the individual person and environment.

    Most people realize that sweat tastes salty. Sweat is also acidic. Dogs have 5 different taste receptors on their tongue; these include both a salt taste receptor and an acid taste receptor. Hence it is likely that the dog is tasting and responding to either or both the sodium and/or the acid sensation of sweat.

    This is clearly a pleasurable reaction for the dog, just as tasting something sweet like candy is a pleasurable reaction for most humans. It is not an indication of something lacking in the dog food.


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Behavior