My Dog Keeps Licking Its Lips, What Should I Do?

Is your dog licking his lips? Does he do this frequently, or only sometimes? Are you worried about what it might mean?

 

Dog lip licking behavior is different than the same type of behavior found in humans, although it also has some similarities. By learning what your dog means when he licks his lips, you can better understand how to react and what to do for your pet, too. Read through the information below to get a better idea of what lip licking may mean in your pet.

Dog Licking Lips

 

 

Stress

One of the most common causes of lip licking behavior in dogs is stress. If your dog is stressed, scared, or nervous about something, he may lick his lips to indicate that he is feeling uncomfortable. This behavior may also be related to self-soothing in some dogs.

 

When the source of your dog’s stress is no longer present, he will likely stop licking his lips. If your dog is excessively anxious a lot of the time, you may need to talk to your vet or to a dog trainer to help with this issue.

 

 

Submissive Behavior

Dogs also lick their lips to show submission or appeasement. If a dog perceives something or someone else as a threat, he will lick his lips to show that he does not intend to fight the threat. He will likely also look away from the threat while doing this.

 

Dogs may lick their lips as appeasement when they are in trouble for something they shouldn’t. They may also lick their lips as submissive behavior when approached by a larger or more aggressive dog, or when they meet a new dog for the first time.

 

 

Confusion

If you notice your dog licking his lips most often when you’re trying to work on training with him, this may indicate that he’s feeling confused or overwhelmed by the training session. He may not know what you want him to do, and he may become stressed as he tries to figure it out.

 

This type of lip licking usually means it’s time to take a break from training. Your dog may be overtired or could just need to come back to the training exercise at a different time. Either way, you should practice a few tricks or commands he knows very well to build his confidence back up, and then stop for the day.

 

 

Nausea

Nausea may sometimes cause a dog to lick his lips frequently. This lip licking behavior may be commonly seen in dogs who get sick when riding in the car. You may notice your dog licking his lips shortly before he vomits from car sickness, for example.

 

If your dog is licking his lips and vomiting without any known cause, you should take him to the vet to find out what’s the issue might be. He may need medication to treat an infection, a parasite, or some other potential problem.

 

 

Dental or Mouth Pain

Lip licking is often associated with dental and mouth pain in dogs as well. Dogs who have severe gingivitis, rotten teeth, broken teeth, tumors, abscesses in the mouth, and other types of dental damage can be seen licking their lips frequently in an attempt to ease the pain.

 

Your dog may also drool significantly if he has a dental disease or some other issue like this inside his mouth. If you suspect your dog has dental issues, take him to the vet. He may need professional veterinary dental care to help recover from the problem.

 

 

Dog Food

Finally, there is always a chance your dog is simply licking his lips over food! It’s easy to tell when dogs lick their lips because of the presence of food. You may be cooking something, or you may be about to feed your dog his supper. You could be holding a treat, or you could be walking together past a restaurant that smells good.

In any of these situations, it’s not uncommon to see your dog lick his lips a few time because he wants to eat the food in question. This is perfectly normal behavior and is nothing to worry about in your dog.

French bulldog licking his lips

 

 

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many underlying causes of lip licking behavior in dogs. It’s important to think about what may be causing your dog to perform this behavior by watching other signs and body language clues, too. The more you focus on your dog’s behavioral changes, the easier it will be to recognize when lip licking is a cause for concern.

 

If you have any further questions or you’re worried about your dog’s lip licking, talk to your vet for more information. Your vet can examine your specific dog and determine if there are any other potential causes for this behavior that are individual to your pet.

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Cute kitten with big eyes walking over a meadow looking curious to the grass

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Obedient dachshund dog sits in blue pet carrier in public place and waits the owner. Safe travel with animals by plane or train. Customs quarantine before or after transporting animals across border

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About The Village Vets

The Village Vets is a network of animal hospitals based in Atlanta, GA and the surrounding area. We offer honest, excellent service to our clients in a comfortable, friendly atmosphere. To learn more about our locations and how we can better serve you and your pet, click the button below.