Dogs possess strange but common behaviors that always leave their owners perplexed. They do weird things such as tail-chasing, sniffing other dogs behind, walking in circles, and even eating other animals’ feces.
Some of these are instinctive, while others might have started in puppyhood and become habits over time. We need to familiarize ourselves with these behaviors to better understand our furry friends and ensure they don’t cause them any harm.
Here, we will help pet owners understand why their four-legged friends lick other dogs’ pee. Additionally, we will determine if this behavior can cause any harm to the dog’s health.
Without delay, let’s dive in!
Before we answer the question, "Why does my dog lick other dogs' pee?" you need to learn about the vomeronasal organ or Jacobson's organ. Located in the vomer bone, in-between the dog's nose and mouth, Jacobson's organ is responsible for this weird dog behavior.
The organ works to analyze large molecules like bacteria, pheromones, and other compounds and transmit the information to the dog’s brain. This comes in handy in mating, social interactions, environmental perception, and even hunting.
If you observe your dog while he’s licking other dogs’ pee, you will notice he somehow tilts his snout up and press the tongue against the top part of his mouth. Other breeds will curl up their tongue and freeze in place.
What the dog is trying to do is to get the urine near the vomer bone. As a result, the urine molecules can be more accessible to the vomeronasal organ, and the canine can decipher information related to the other dog.
A dog’s pee comprises several components, including:
By licking the urine, your dog can identify which food the other animal consumes, the estrous cycle, and infections or illnesses. The pheromones can help the dog determine the dog’s gender and heat availability.
Also, your dog might lick other canines’ urine because it contains traces of sugar, especially if the animal that peed before has diabetes or glycosuria.
Smelling and licking urine come naturally in dogs. As disgusting as it might be, there's no need to scold your pooch—the habit results from their canine instincts.
Canines have ancestral guts with more microbial activity than humans. That’s why they can eat feces, bones, decaying food, and lick pee without getting sick. So, you don’t have to worry when your dog smells or licks another dog’s urine.
Keep in mind that licking pee is one of the survival instincts in canines. Furthermore, your dog’s immune system can shield him from bacteria and pathogens even better than some pharmaceutical drugs.
That said, there’s a slim chance your pooch can get leptospirosis, a bacterial infection caused by spirochetes, which your friend can get by licking other dogs’ urine or stagnant water.
The signs of the disease vary from one dog to another. Some dogs might display mild symptoms and recover quickly from the illness, while in others, the disease can advance to a chronic stage and kill the animal. What's even worse, the disease can infect humans, leading to flu-like symptoms and sometimes kidney or liver damage. The sign and symptoms of the disease in dogs include:
Thankfully, Leptospirosis is preventable and also treatable via antibiotics and supportive care. If you suspect your dog has the disease, consult your vet so he can get a proper diagnosis and treatment.
If you have had more than a few dogs in your life, chances are you've noticed neutered male pups like to react more to licking urine. The reason for this is simply reproduction. Unneutered males are in the quest to find mating partners. By smelling and licking urine, they can identify females in heat.
Neutered males and spayed females don’t exhibit this habit. And if they do lick urine from other dogs, it’s because they’re trying to get some digestive enzymes or glucose.
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that licking pee in dogs is normal. It’s their natural canine instinct and not a subject of worry. The best thing is to let the dog lick the urine in peace. There’s no need to yell at him because you will only make your dog feel bad.
But as we have said, there's a slim chance that your dog might get sick if he licks pee from a dog infected with Leptospirosis. To prevent such issues, follow the tips below:
Besides that, always prevent your dog from drinking stagnant water. The spirochetes bacteria live mostly in stagnant water. When ingested by a dog, they can cause Leptospirosis. Also, never let your dog lick you after licking another dog's pee.
A dog uses his nose and tongue as translation devices. These two senses of organs make it easier for the dog to understand the world via the vomeronasal organ. That’s why it’s normal for dogs to sniff and lick each other.
If your pooch licks another dog’s pee, don’t get weirded out because this is an instinctive behavior in all canines, domesticated and wild. It’s their way of finding mating partners and getting information about other canines. We can compare pee liking to gossiping in humans, minus the verbal cues.
Lastly, your dog will remain healthy after licking another dog’s pee, especially if he’s dewormed and vaccinated. However, if your four-legged friend’s immune system is weak, there’s a reason to get concerned. You might need the help of a behaviorist to help your dog stop licking other dogs’ urine.
Here are some other common questions about dogs that may also be helpful:Why Does My Dog Scratch My Bed Sheets? Why Does My Dog Bury His Head in Me? Why Does My Dog Lay His Head on Me? Why Does My Dog Sleep Between My Legs? Why Does My Dog Lick My Pillow? Why Does My Dog Stand Over Me? Why Does My Dog Stretch So Much? Why Does My Dog Put His Butt on Me? Why Does My Dog Sleep With His Tongue Out? Why Does My Dog Lay On My Clothes? Why Does My Dog Nibble My Ear? Why Does My Dog Hump the Air? Why Does My Dog Push Against Me? Why Does My Dog Lick My Legs? Why Does My Dog Lick My Eyes? Do Dogs Get Tired Of Barking? and if you are after our pet portraits, you can see themhere.