Why Does My Dog Keep Licking His Lips?

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Do you have a dog that can't seem to stop licking his lips?

If so, you may be wondering what it means.

Is he thirsty? Hungry? In pain?

There are a number of reasons why your dog might be licking his lips, and each one requires a different approach.

In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the most common reasons dogs lick their lips and what you can do about it.


Anxiety and Stress


One of the most common reasons dogs lick their lips is because they are feeling anxious or stressed.

If your dog seems to be licking his lips more than normal, it might be a sign that he is feeling overwhelmed or uncomfortable.

Remember that dogs have a very wide range of non-verbal ways of showing their emotions. In this case, you will need to try and find out what is causing him stress and work to eliminate it.

Some common causes of anxiety in dogs include loud noises, unfamiliar environments, and being away from their owner. Any of these could potentially lead your dog to lick his lips excessively, too.

This can also happen if your dog meets another dog that thinks your dog might be a threat.

We also tend to see this behavior at vet offices or at the groomers, where they believe something bad may happen to them.


Nausea


Another common reason dogs lick their lips is because they are feeling nauseous.

If your dog has just eaten or been around food that he doesn't like or is bad for him, he may start licking his lips as a way of trying to get rid of the taste.

Similarly, if your dog has been vomiting or has diarrhea, he may start licking his lips as a way of soothing his upset stomach.

A sure sign of your dog being nauseous is when your If you see your dog keeps licking lips and drooling.

If your dog keeps licking lips and throwing up, it could be a sign of something more serious.

In either case, it's important to take your dog to the vet so that he can be properly diagnosed and treated.


Bloated tummy


Another reason dog licks lips is because it has a bloated tummy.

This usually follows eating too much or eating something that doesn't agree with dog's stomach, similarly to feeling nauseous.

It tends to get a little more serious if your dog licks their lips and refuses any food after - it's quite likely that they may feel bloated.

If you think your dog has a bloated tummy, don't give him any food and take him to the vet.


Calming signal


Licking one's lips can also be seen as a calming signal, similar to yawning or scratching.

If your dog is licking his lips for no apparent reason, it might be because he is trying to calm down.

In this case, you should try and provide him with a safe and relaxing environment where he feels comfortable enough to stop licking his lips.

Some ways of doing this include providing him with a soft bed to sleep on, playing soothing music, and giving him plenty of love and attention.


Discomfort in the mouth


Dogs may lick their lips if they are experiencing discomfort in their mouth.

This could be a sign of tooth decay, gum disease, or something else wrong with the dog's mouth. If this is the case, it could also be a good time to start learning how to clean your dog's teeth.

It could also be that your dog bit something and it's still in their mouth - for example, a cactus spike or something of the sort.


If your dog is licking his lips excessively and it doesn't seem to be due to any of the reasons listed above, you should take him to the vet for a check-up.

The vet will be able to diagnose the problem and provide your dog with the necessary treatment.


Licked something poisonous, irritating, or toxic


If dog ingested something poisonous, irritating or toxic it will lick lips to soothe mouth.

This one is a bit more difficult as you have to watch dog carefully and see what he ate/licked.

Vomiting and diarrhea usually follow ingestion of such items.

If this is the case get dog to vet immediately!

Another symptom is also if your dog keeps licking lips and drooling - it could be that the irritant has numbed parts of their mouth and they're unable to control the drooling.

Either way, bring them to the vet as soon as possible!


Swallowed something and lodged in the throat (i.e. foxtail)


Similarly to licking an irritant or a toxic substance, if dog has swallowed something, it will lick lips to moisten and soothe it's mouth.

Depending on what dog has swallowed, symptoms can vary from vomiting and diarrhea to lethargy and fever.

For example, it's not unheard of for a dog to swallow a foxtail - those are nasty and will lodge themselves in your dog.

This can cause a whole bunch of symptoms, and of course, your dog will excessively lick its lips to try and soothe the pain.

If you think your dog has swallowed something, take it to the vet immediately!


Dehydration


Dogs may lick lips excessively when dehydrated. This is pretty common for working dogs out in the hot sun all day.

Thirsty dog will lap up any water available but if dog doesn't have access to water, it will lick anything moist including grass, dirt, other dog's saliva etc.

If you think your dog is dehydrated from excessive lip licking, give him small amounts of water and take him to vet if condition worsens.


So as you can see, there are a number of reasons why your dog might be licking his lips.

It's important to pay attention to your dog's behavior and look out for any changes so that you can get him the help he needs. Thanks for reading!


Overheating


Another possible reason your dog is licking his lips a lot is that he's overheating.

What you'll see is your dog keeps licking lips and drooling, similarly to many of the symptoms above.


If you think your dog is overheating, take him to a cool place and pour water over his body.

Never give your dog ice water as it will cause him to become even more hypothermic.

Once he's cooled down, make sure to bring him inside or somewhere shady so that he doesn't get too hot.

Once he's cooled down, see if he's still licking his lips a lot. If he still is, it's better to bring him to a vet as soon as possible.


Your dog is hungry


If dog is licking lips because it's hungry, it will usually eat any food available.

However, some dogs are fussy eaters and may not want to eat anything.


If dog is licking lips because it's hungry, give it small amounts of food and see if that stops the lip licking.

If you think your dog might be a fussy eater, try different kinds of dog food to see what he likes.

You can also mix wet and dry dog food together to make a more palatable meal too.


BUT, if your dog won't eat or if he's been licking his lips a lot after eating, take him to vet for check-up.


Attention seeking behavior


Lastly, some dogs may lick their lips as an attention seeking behavior.

If your dog is constantly licking its lips and there doesn't seem to be any other underlying reason, it might be doing this in order to get your attention.

In this case, you should try and ignore the dog as much as possible until it stops licking its lips.

This will take patience and consistency, but eventually the dog will learn that licking its lips isn't going to get it what it wants.


Conclusion


There are many reasons why dogs lick their lips, but it's hard to know exactly what is going on without a dog’s perspective.

If your dog is licking his lips more than normal, take him to the vet for a check-up.

The vet will be able to diagnose the problem and provide your dog with the necessary treatment.


about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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