Cats and dogs get lots of “lickings” when they are young. So licking us can mean they’re secure with us as a part of their family—they’re keeping us clean and claiming us as their own! For dogs, it might also be a gesture of submission, saying we’re the leaders of the pack.
They’re marking us by adding their scent. Cats in particular lick each other as a form of social bonding. Licking is their way of petting, so the next time you’re covered in dog slime or roughed up by a cat’s sandpaper tongue, consider yourself loved.
It’s important to note though that excessive licking of themselves by either a dog or cat can be an indication of a medical/ behavioral issue. If your pet is losing fur in the area being licked, seek assistance from your veterinarian.