Skip to Content

Why Does My Dog Lick His Lips So Much [5 Reasons & Solutions]

Your pet dog can show plenty of sudden concerning characteristic traits. These traits can cause severe frustration if you are unsure of their meaning. Licking the lip too much can be among those frustrating characteristic traits.

Why does my dog lick his lips so much?

Constant lips licking is a common trait among dogs. They mostly do this when they are scared, anxious or feel threatened. Also, they might do this while facing health issues such as nausea, allergic reaction or internal pain. If that’s the case, they might use lip-licking as a form of expression. 

Getting Concerned? Don’t worry. I have dedicated a detailed discussion to this. 

So, let’s read along to thoroughly understand your dog’s behaviour and characteristics! 

5 Reasons Behind Excessive Lip Licking

As we’ve discussed earlier, excessive lip licking can happen due to medical conditions. There can be some serious medical problems that your loving puppy might face. 

Also, this behaviour can mean some other things as well. I have listed some of the reasons why your puppy licks his lips excessively; 

Reason 1: Gastrointestinal Disorder

At times dogs tend to steal food without knowing what that food would do to them. Some foods are just too bad such as pretzels for the dogs. They can cause some issues with the dog’s digestive system. 

If unhealthy food is consumed, the dog might have some health conditions. Nausea with excessive salivation can be a major reason for it. Also, lack of appetite and allergic reactions are heavily associated with lip licking. 

These are gastrointestinal disorders that a dog can face. The majority of the dogs suffering from gastrointestinal disorders face delayed gastric emptying. They might even face irritable bowel syndrome. 

Reason 2: Acid Reflux

Again, this relates to the dog’s digestive system problems. We all know some basic biology. If the irritation in the oesophagus increases, the salivary gland also increases productivity. 

As a result, saliva production decreases. That leads the dog to lick its nose more often. 

Saliva production can decrease due to plenty of other reasons. Poor lower sphincter functioning, abnormal esophageal clearance are the main reasons for it. Additionally, altered mucosal resistance and delayed gastric emptying associated with stress are prime incentives. 

Also, allergic reactions and infections such as yoghurt and yeast might cause them to have acid reflux. 

Due to all these gastronomical issues, the acid in the stomach fails to operate properly. Hence, the dog licks their lips to mitigate that. 

Reason 3: In response to Stress

Dog’s lip-licking issue can also be associated with stress as well. Too much stress can cause them to either excessively salivate or to decrease it. 

Activation of the sympathetic nervous system or instinct is the natural function of animals. It is also highly correlated to the function of digestive procedures.    

A dog prepares its body for fight or flight situations when they feel scared or anxious. Then they activate their sympathetic nervous system. Essentially, it decreases saliva generation. 

Also, the event endorses the dog’s lip-licking behaviour. 

Licking can be broadly associated with their motherly instinct as well. Mother dogs lick their offspring for grooming or calming purposes. It also demonstrates a positive response towards something that they are fond of. 

Mother dogs who engage themselves in grooming procedures are more resilient to stress. 

Therefore, they develop a stronger coping mechanism in the form of excessive lip licking. 

Reason 4: To Smell Better

Dogs are very sensitive about their own surroundings. Naturally, they show a tendency to mark their territories to demonstrate dominance. 

Dogs usually use two methods to mark their territories. One is tongue and another is urination. But they mostly use tongues to enhance their sense of smell. 

They leave their unique identity to transfer molecules when they lick a surface.

These molecules are often generated and stored in olfactory receptors. After that these molecules are shared by vomeronasal organs. Due to this, they constantly have to keep their nose wet. 

Dogs want to maintain a lower surface tension. Also, they transfer molecules easily when they have their nose wet. 

Dogs instinctively observe everything in their surroundings. This might lead them to constantly lick their lips. If you observe them carefully, you’ll be able to understand their body language such as this.

Reason 5: Anticipation of food

Dogs lick their lips in anticipation of food as well. The presence of potential food causes them to salivate. 

The presence of food stimulates a reward in a dog’s brain. And to counter that, they have a certain chemical reaction in their brain. The reaction enables them to have a physical response as well.

As a result, they start to lick their lips too often. The physical response to their reward function is the generation of more saliva. It leads to frequent lip licking. 

Should You Be Worried If Your Dog Licks His Lips Frequently?

Licking is often associated with your dog’s discomfort or medical health condition. Older pets tend to be more prone to this behaviour. 

Consult a vet if your dog licks their lips frequently without any obvious signs 

Some older puppies might face lethal problems and this could be their expressing form. 

In other cases, some common abnormal symptoms that the puppy might show are:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Irregularity in sleep
  • Constant drooling
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Or severe weight loss. 

After seeing a vet, you might not find any health related problems. Then this problem can be identified as a behaviour disorder. 

Behavioural disorders can be addressed while working with a professional dog trainer. 

What Should You Do if Your Dog Licks His Lips Too Much

Excessive lip licking may result in a harmful situation for your dog. These issues need to be addressed immediately. Here, we’ve mentioned a few easy solutions for you.

Let’s have a look!

Solution 1: Have Your Dog Thoroughly Examined 

The first thing that you can do is to take your dog to a vet. And have him properly examined. The vet may recommend a blood count, serum chemical panel, urinal analysis and faecal test. 

Also, any sort of digestive examination can be recommended as well. 

Also, they might be recommended with a CT scan and MRI. Dogs with dental issues may need dental cleaning as well. 

Also, if they are facing bloating issues, they might need emergency surgery as well. 

If Intestinal parasites are found then they need to be immediately dewormed.

Solution 2: Taking Precautions 

There are some other precautions as well. Such as, cleaning their dishes and toys in hot water.

Additionally, keep your household flooring clean. Using diluted bleach solution is recommended. This will kill all the bacteria and surviving eggs. 

Solution 3: Addressing their Behavioural Disorder

Dogs Licking their lips can be considered a major health hazard. Or, it might just be a behavioural disorder.

But whatever that case might be. You should always be cautious and keep in contact with your vets. Also, prevent them from getting infected by any germs or bacteria.

FAQs

Question: Why does my dog lick his lips at night?

Answer: Usually dogs lick their lips when they feel uncomfortable or threatened. Dogs may also lick their lips while petting. Petting is considered to be a calming signal to dogs when they are stressed or anxious.

Question: Why won’t my dog stop licking his lips?

Answer: Dogs lick their lips under unusual circumstances. Also, if they are trying to remove something from their face. But excessive lip licking can indicate health hazards and you should seek immediate help.

Question: Why does my dog licking his lips and gulp?

Answer: Lip licking can be considered as an appeasing gesture. It acts as a calming behaviour. Dogs use their body and behaviour to express their emotions. 

ENDNOTE

Here is the descriptive answer to your query: why does my dog lick his lips so much. I hope this clarifies all your questions and confusion. 

Now, you will be able to take better care of your dog with more attention. Also, can address them easily. 

That’s all for today. Until next time, have a beautiful day!