Why Does My Dog Lick My Armpit? [Sweaty Secrets]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

You know that moment when you’re lounging on the couch, minding your own business, and suddenly your dog dives in for a good ol’ armpit lick?

Why does my dog lick my armpit? It’s a head-scratching, laughter-inducing, and somewhat odoriferous situation.

As a fellow dog parent and armpit-licking victim, I must say, this is downright hilarious, but at the same time, the vet tech in me is asking what’s causing this behavior.

Hold onto your deodorant, folks! Up next: decoding the secret language of dog armpit licks!

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7 Reasons for My Dog Licking My Armpit

7 Reasons for My Dog Licking My Armpit

Don’t worry though, it’s not always gross! Your dog might’ve several reasons for licking your armpit.

It varies from the simple attraction towards your smell to the complicated dog anxiety.

I’m a dog parent myself so I’ve got some “thoughts” of what your dog might be thinking whenever he licks your armpit.

If you wanna know about it all, you gotta read what I’m about to share.

1. Your dog likes the taste and smell of your sweat

Your dog licks your armpit because he likes the taste and smell of your sweat.

Now, don’t call your fur baby disgusting and weird!

Dogs have a very keen sense of smell, and they’re particularly attracted to strong scents.

If your armpit is sweaty, your dog can smell that a few feet away from you which makes him wanna lick it.

The saltiness of your sweat in the armpit is like a green light for your doggy to lick from time to time.

It doesn’t really mean that your dog is practicing poor hygiene, only that he likes the smell and taste.

2. Your dog is showing affection

It’s possible that the reason why your dog licks your armpit is that it’s showing affection.

They lick, brush, kiss, or even bark just to express how much they adore you.

Licking your armpit might sound kinda off to you, but what can you say if that’s the love language your pup chose?

Dogs aren’t as intelligent as humans, hence they develop alternatives just to express their emotions.

3. Your dog is trying to communicate with you

Your dog, just like any other pet, might already sense that he can’t speak to you as other people do.

Thus, your dog tries to communicate with you by licking you in your armpit.

He might be telling you that he is sick, and in need of immediate attention.

You can tell that he is trying to communicate something with you when his licking turns persistent and almost frantic. 

4. Your dog is just being curious

Dogs are curious animals that always wanna check whatever catches their attention.

If your dog caught a whiff of your armpit’s scent, then he is probably curious about what is under your arm.

He’ll be smelling, nudging, and licking your armpit just to discover what’s in your armpit.

I gotta say that your dog’s behavior isn’t always cryptic.

Sometimes, he just really wants to feed his curiosity.

5. Your dog is being submissive

Dogs are hierarchical creatures and they believe in dominance and submission.

You are taking care of your dog. You give him food, you shower him with affection, and you treat him kindly.

Those treatments make your dog assume that you’re the alpha of the pack, hence he should express his submissive act towards you.

When your dog licks your armpit, it could be a sign that he’s recognizing your power and he is already being submissive.

6. Your dog is bored or anxious

Boredom or anxiety can make any dog exhibit weird behavior such as licking your armpit.

When your dog is bored, he makes sure he gets to do something to keep him occupied.

He’ll run around the house, he’ll want to be as close to you as possible, and he can even try to play with you by licking your armpit 

But if he’s anxious, he’ll try to get as close to you as possible because he sees you as his comfort zone.

He’ll try to get physically close to you by licking your armpit, which is just one of the many ways he can express his anxiety.

7. Your dog likes your deodorant

If you’re using a strong deodorant, your dog can smell that even when he’s not sitting next to you.

Your dog might develop a liking towards the smell of your deodorant hence he’ll lick your armpit, thinking that the deodorant is somehow food.

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What if My Dog Licks the Deodorant on My Armpit?

If your dog licks the deodorant on your armpit, nothing bad will happen.

A few swipes are not going to do much to it, but you have a different problem if it somehow got the whole stick (that’s a topic for another article).

It’s true that some deodorants have xylitol, which is toxic to dogs, but your dog won’t be sick with such a small amount.

What to Do if My Dog Licks Deodorant?

A few licks of deodorant won’t cause anything to your dog.

However, just to be sure, it’s best to monitor your dog if he licks deodorant in case he shows gastrointestinal issues like vomiting.

Give him lots of water too to get rid of the taste and smell on their tongue.

If your dog shows serious vomiting or diarrhea after licking deodorant, it’s best to bring him to the vet.

After all, dogs vary from one another.

One may not react to deodorants, while another may react badly to them.

Should You Let Your Dog Lick Your Armpit?

I personally feel that you shouldn’t let your dog lick your armpit.

Just the feeling of the warm and wet tongue of your dog on your armpit should already give you an ick.

It’s very unsanitary, and will only encourage your dog to behave adversely and indulge in undesirable behavior. After all, our dogs need discipline!

Your dog can still express his affection, boredom, anxiety, and other things through different behavior that doesn’t involve armpit licking.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: How to stop your dog from licking other dogs privates

How to Train Your Dog Not to Lick Your Armpits

It can be tricky to train your dog not to lick your armpit because licking is almost natural among dogs.

However, training your dog what a firm NO means can bring you closer to no-licking armpit scenarios.

You can do this by firmly saying “NO” whenever your dog gets close to licking your armpit.

Do that all the time he tries to come for a lick and reward him each time he obeys. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it normal for dogs to lick human armpits?

It’s normal for dogs to lick human armpits since they have sensitive smelling senses that detect strong scents. However, it doesn’t mean that you’ll have to encourage your dog to keep licking your armpit.

Can excessive armpit licking be a sign of anxiety in dogs?

Yes, repetitive behavior like excessive armpit licking can be a sign of anxiety in dogs. Your dog might be trying to communicate with you what he is feeling, hence he keeps licking your armpit to get your attention.

Could my dog be licking my armpit because of a medical issue?

Yes, it is possible that your dog might be experiencing medical issues, although it’s not as likely as other reasons. Dogs may lick their human’s skin in an attempt to communicate discomfort or to draw attention to a potential health problem.

What does it mean when a dog licks your sweat?

When a dog licks your sweat, it could be due to the salty taste, attraction to your scent and pheromones, affection and bonding, grooming, or as a calming mechanism.

Why is my dog smelling my armpit?

Dogs smell armpits due to their keen sense of smell and curiosity. Armpits produce sweat with pheromones, odor, and salt, which dogs find intriguing. The scent offers information about your health and emotions, helping your dog to understand you better. Smelling your armpit can also be a display of affection and bonding.

In Conclusion: Why Does My Dog Lick My Armpit?

While it may be easy to dismiss this quirky behavior as simply a dog being a dog, it’s important to remember that our furry friends are complex creatures with unique personalities and their own ways of communicating.

So, the next time you find yourself on the receiving end of an armpit licking, take a moment to consider the deeper meaning behind it.

Is Fido trying to tell you something important or simply expressing love in their own peculiar way?

Ready for more head-scratching dog behavior? Check these out too:

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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