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Petitioners cry as a veterinary technician explains why dogs like to lick their owners right before bed

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A beagle owner has revealed the touching reason why pet owners should probably allow their dogs to dish out a few affectionate licks.

In a video posted to her pet pooch's TikTok account, @winston_thebeagle, Gabby, a veterinary technician from Indiana, offered up an explanation for the divisive habit.

Plenty of pet owners will attest that dogs provide an important source of comfort and support through the difficult times in life.

In a survey of 2,000 U.S. pet owners conducted by OnePoll on behalf of natural pet food brand Stella & Chewy's, 72 percent of respondents said having a pet helped them to reduce stress, anxiety and/or depression, while a further 62 percent were encouraged to exercise more through having a four-legged friend.

Winston the Beagle licks his owner's hand.
Winston the Beagle licks his owner's hand. The dog owner has urged others to indulge this particular habit. winston_thebeagle

Given what our dogs, cats and other pets do for us, it would be nice to return the favor and take steps to boost their mood outside the usual mix of walks and treats. That's what makes Gabby's video of her beagle Winston so interesting.

Gabby came to Winston's aid when he needed her most, having suffered cruel rejection as a young puppy. "Winston is a 5-year-old beagle bulldog mix and I adopted him when he was 8 weeks old," she told Newsweek. "He was put up for adoption by a breeder because he didn't look more like an English bulldog so he relinquished him to an animal shelter."

Winston has always been appreciative of the love and care Gabby gives him. She used to think he showed her that appreciation by licking her. However, over time, and since working as a veterinary technician for the past seven years, she's begun to realize the licking meant something else.

Writing in a caption accompanying a TikTok video she posted of Winston licking her hand, she explained that the next time someone gets "annoyed" at their dog for licking them, it's worth remembering what that lick actually signifies to the canine involved.

According to Gabby, the act of licking "releases endorphins" that can help soothe a dog to sleep. She said it also provides the pooch involved with a "sense of security" while also reminding them of "puppyhood" and being "groomed" by their moms.

Gabby added that it is also their "natural way" of expressing affection and "thanking" their owner for showing them love.

The video, which has already been watched 1.5 million times, had many dog lovers welling up. "I'm crying now," one viewer wrote, with another describing the clip as "yet another reason to weep uncontrollably about my beloved fur child." "I just started crying," a third added, with a fourth writing: "Now I feel bad."

Explaining the reason why she shared the video, Gabby told Newsweek: "I thought the video was cute and was always curious as to why dogs do that. Then I realized over time after working in the field why dogs do that with their owners or the ones they love and it's because it releases endorphins which is very calming for dogs."

She attributed the video's popularity down to the fact "people love dogs and are always looking for a better understanding of their dogs."

However, she was keen to stress that not all licking is of the affectionate kind. "Incessant licking or doing it for long periods of time may be indicative of something else but if your dog wants to give you an occasional lick on your hand then we should oblige as pet owners," she said.

Do you have funny and adorable videos or pictures of your pet you want to share? Send them to [email protected] with some details about your best friend and they could appear in our Pet of the Week lineup.

Uncommon Knowledge

VIDEO: Why Does Your Dog Lick You?
Veterinary Secrets

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.


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