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Why is My Dog Licking His Lips?

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Why is My Dog Licking His Lips?
Why is My Dog Licking His Lips? | Innovet Pet

My dog keeps licking lips, why? Dogs do many usual things. While the majority of behaviors are harmless, some might seem out of place, as well as raise concern. Dog licking lips is among those behaviors. While it may be very normal for your pet to lick his paws, all excessive licking always should be assessed a little closer.

You may notice your pup lick at the air, lick at the ground, and even drool when licking. He may seem anxious or uncomfortable, as well. However, as you inspect the dog’s mouth, everything seems to be fine. You cannot see anything visible; therefore, you assume he simply has a hair stuck on his tongue, or something along these lines. Granted, their behavior seems a bit odd, yet will you know if it is something more? Here in this post, Innovet Pet Products clears up the question, “why does my dog lick his lips,” for you.

Although there might be nothing noticeable to see inside the dog’s mouth, he actually may be attempting to communicate something by licking his lips. While the occasional stray hair on his tongue is not unheard of, this behavior might come from a more severe problem and it is up to you to crack that code.

Why Does My Pet Keep Licking His Lips?

My dog keeps licking his lips, why? Normal lip licking happens as a dog’s lips feel dry, as he gets something lodged inside his mouth, or when he is hungry and about to eat. As it’ll come to your pup licking his lips when he is hungry, canines have salivation glands which get activated before a meal. Excessive saliva might trigger your pet to lick his lips. Sometimes food does not even need to be present for this to occur. Occasionally all it’ll take is you shaking a bag of food or cracking open a can and the dog is licking his lips, as well as salivating.

But there are many cases in which lip licking might be less normal and more of a cause to worry.

Dog Keeps Licking His Lips: Your Pet is Nervous

Occasionally a canine will lick his lips out of canine anxiety and stress. Maybe he is feeling frustrated or confused, or he is attempting to communicate that he is scared of something within his environment. For instance, your pup may avoid eye contact and lick his lips as another canine comes close. If your pet is scared of the other dog, those behaviors are his way of saying he isn’t any threat. They allow the other dog to know he does not want to fight. As a pup licks his lips out of fear or nervousness, it is occasionally called an “appeasement gesture.”

But the dog psychology professionals usually think that a pup licking at the air or a pup licking his lips is more of a pacifying behavior, maybe a remaining vestige of self-soothing mechanisms that are leftover from being a puppy. This unusual behavior is especially prevalent as a dog is within a state of emotional distress or trapped inside some other type of negative feeling.

Dog Licking Lips Excessively: Your Pet is Dehydrated

Why is My Dog Licking His Lips? | Innovet Pet

There are various medical-associated conditions that may cause your pet to frequently licks his lips. Dehydration is a common problem, even when it is a mild case. If your pet has accompanying symptoms such as canine diarrhea or vomiting, it might be a warning that the dog has something else going on, like a virus or stomach bug. Dehydration, whatever the reason, will make the dog’s mouth and lips feel a lot drier than normal. To fight the dryness, your pup will instinctively lick as a method of stimulating the generation of more saliva.

Dog Licking Lips A Lot: Your Pet Has Been Injured

The dog also may lick his lips due to some type of trauma. Canines may be wounded in all types of ways. They may get hit by vehicles, get into fights with other dogs, get injured by youngsters that do not know how they should act around canines, and much more. If your pet accidentally pierces or cuts his lip somehow, or his mouth becomes wounded in some way, it’ll probably lick his lips trying to alleviate any pain. Because it is so simple to spread infection, wounds, and injuries inside the mouth may be a problem and never should be ignored.

My Dog Licks His Lips Constantly: Your Pet Was Bitten

The dog may lick his lips because he has been bitten by some type of insect or bug. Common insect bites dogs fall victim to involve horse flies and mosquitoes, bee stings, wasps, and spiders. The dog even could be bitten by a snake, particularly if the dog spends lots of time outside and in spaces that snakes are prevalent. One big concern with snake bites is that you might not recognize that the dog was bitten immediately. This may delay treatment and boost your dog’s opportunities of an unfavorable result. Keep a close eye out for lip licking if you believe your pup might’ve been bitten by another dog.

Why Do Dogs Lick Their Lips: Your Pet Has Something Foreign Inside His Mouth

Occasionally your pup might lick his lips because he has a foreign object trapped inside his mouth some place. Foxtails in dogs especially may easily be picked up inside the yard and cause major pain. They may be harmful because they’re difficult to remove. They’re made to pierce the surface of a target, as well as burrow deep. A foxtail burrowing inside your pet’s mouth may be uncomfortable. They even can be life-threatening, if the pet swallows one and it burrows into his windpipe or throat. Dogs also may get bits of bone, sticks, fibers from a chew toy, and plastic lodged inside his mouth, all of which may trigger lip licking.

Why Does My Dog Keep Licking His Mouth: Your Pet Feels Sick

Lip licking sometimes may be a sign of some other health problem, such as dog nausea. If your pup is feeling sick, he might lick his lips, as well as salivate before he begins vomiting. You also may see your dog consuming grass (more on that below). If your pet is eating grass, vomiting, and licking his lips, it is likely those symptoms are related. If symptoms grow worse or do not subside within twenty-four hours, you ought to visit a vet. It’s always best to be safe and prevent potential dehydration.

Why Do Dogs Consume Grass?

Why is My Dog Licking His Lips? | Innovet Pet

As human beings, oftentimes our pet’s behavior may be a little bit of a mystery. Likely one of the most baffling and mysterious behaviors a dog may exhibit is consuming grass then vomiting. Yuck. It actually isn’t as common as you may think for a canine to consume grass then throw up, even though consuming grass alone seems to be normal behavior.

Then you may be asking, “Why does my pet eat grass then immediately vomit it up?” The intriguing thing is that not every dog even seems to be sick before consuming grass. Which usually blows the theory that they are consuming grass because of an upset tummy directly out of the water.

There are, of course, people on both sides of the divide. A few say canines consume grass because they have an upset tummy and the grass aids them in vomiting up whatever virus is making them feel bad.

Experts, for the most part, tend to agree that in the majority of cases, irrespective of why they do it, canines that periodically consume grass then throw it back up is fairly normal behavior.

But, if it seems as if the dog is consuming grass and other substances in reaction to an upset tummy and it becomes a habit, it might not be as normal as you initially thought. Some veterinarians compare this type of behavior to the pica disorder humans may suffer from.

Pica is where humans consume material that is not food, like paper or glue. Professionals believe it is possible that canines may also suffer with pica disorder. If you think your pup may be experiencing pica disorder, you ought to visit the vet to talk over your options.

Here’s the good news: so long as the dog is not consuming toxic chemicals in conjunction with his grass, he ought to be fairly safe.

However, in case you were actually wondering, here are some reasons your pet might like to eat greenery.

Dogs Consume Grass Because It’s Tasty

Truthfully, some dogs just love how the grass tastes. The majority of dogs are tiny scavengers which get into everything that seems enticing. As a matter of fact, scavenging is a natural instinct for dogs. There might be something about that grass they’re consuming that tastes good.

Dogs Consume Grass Because They Require More Fiber

Occasionally, dogs will consume grass and throw up because they’re lacking nutrition, like fiber, digestive enzymes, or minerals. You might try to add foods to their diet which offer them more nutrients and fiber and check if the change assists in curbing their behavior.

Dogs Consume Grass to Force Themselves to Vomit 

Although it isn’t normal for a canine to consume grass then throw up, some dogs will. As they do, it’s believed that it might be because he consumed the grass too rapidly without completely chewing it. This generates a result like that sick feeling a person gets when they consume something too quickly and do not properly chew. The theory is that this behavior might be made to aid in inducing vomit in a canine. If this is the case, professionals still can’t prove it.

Dogs Consume Grass for Stomach Relief

It’s believed that some canines consume grass because their stomachs might be upset. Maybe they have gas, or perhaps they’re feeling bloated or nauseous. Or it might be a way for canines to improve their digestion naturally.

While the majority of professionals agree they do not believe a canine is smart enough to consume grass on purpose for health purposes, they do believe it might be a behavior passed down from their ancestors. But, again, not every dog appears to be sick before they consume grass then vomit; therefore, whether or not that theory is a fact remains a question.

If you believe your canine is consuming grass to induce vomiting because his tummy is upset, you might try to offer him other alleviation measures for an upset tummy and check if that stops the behavior.

Why Does My Dog Lick His Lips When I Pet Him: Your Pet is Bloated

Dog bloat is another health problem that may produce lip licking. Additional symptoms which also may be present might include retching, yawning, and drooling. You also may notice your pet’s stomach feels and looks distended or bloated. Bloating in a dog may be deadly. You ought to immediately see the vet if you suspect this issue, particularly if you have one of those broad chested breeds which are more prone to bloating.

Your Pet has a Dental Disease

The dog might lick his lips due to dental disease. Canine periodontal disease, in particular, is among the most common problems among dogs. In the instance of dental disease, you might see accompanying symptoms such as broken teeth, a loss of teeth, gum inflammation, and foul smells from your pup’s mouth. Occasionally a dog might develop mouth ulcers. These may be associated with dental issues, mouth infections, or something seemingly unassociated, like dog kidney disease.

Your Pet Ate Something He Should Not Have

Your pet sometimes can develop mouth ulcers because he has eaten some type of caustic, toxic substance. Laundry pods and dish detergent are popular culprits. By ingesting those harsh substances, unfortunately, your pet may give himself some uncomfortable burns inside the mouth and down his esophagus. In turn, you also might see him licking his lips a lot.

Your Pet is Experiencing Seizures

One other more severe health problem that may cause lip licking in your pet is dog seizures. While specific kinds of seizures will present with more visible symptoms, dogs also can have partial, smaller seizures which do not fit the classic signs or mold. In some instances, an owner might not even recognize their dog is experiencing a seizure, whatsoever.

Your Pet Wants Attention

And lastly, some canines involve themselves in lip licking behaviors because it has been accidentally reinforced by you as a method for your pet to get your attention. Attention-seeking behaviors happen more frequently in dogs which are left home alone for lengthy time periods. Your best bet is to ignore the dog’s licking behavior in order for you not to reinforce it.

What to Do When Your Pet Keeps on Licking His Lips?

Why is My Dog Licking His Lips? | Innovet Pet

Step one includes determining why the dog is licking his lips. If it is a benign reason, like his lips being dry, or he is doing it as a gesture of appeasement, you likely do not need to be overly concerned about it.

But, if you believe that your pup is very anxious or having feelings of fear, these negative feelings quickly can escalate into outright aggression. It’s particular problematic if your pup feels threatened in some way. It’s possible to try and distract your pet with a treat or toy.

Alternatively, if you realize there’s something in particular that’s making your pet feel nervous or stressed, like a person he does not feel at ease around, or another animal or dog that he does not get along with, you ought to take measures to take him away from the stressful environment. Attempt to decrease his proximity to whatever’s causing him to feel nervous or anxious so that the scenario does not escalate.

Treating Your Pet’s Lip Licking Issue

If you think your pet is licking his lips due to an underlying health problem, or because of a foreign object stuck inside his mouth or trauma, you ought to visit a vet ASAP for treatment and help. The vet may order extra tests if they suspect something severe, such as kidney disease or seizures.

Be ready to give your vet an in-depth history for your pet’s health, which includes eating habits and appetite, and whether you’ve seen any other symptoms like canine weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, or dehydration.

The vet will likely conduct a full physical exam to inspect the dog’s mouth. They’ll look for proof of soft tissue injury, insect or snake bites, and any foreign bodies that might be lodged in the dog’s mouth or lip. If the vet discovers something, extra care might be needed, which includes giving anesthesia to safely extract the object.

The vet also may inspect the dog’s teeth and mouth and provide you a basic evaluation on whether his dental health might be part of the licking issue. If the vet suspects dental problems may be one of the reasons your pet keeps licking his lips, you might be referred to a vet dentist specializing in dog teeth.


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