Why Does My Dog Lick Their Lips? Should I Worry?

Why Does My Dog Lick Their Lips? Should I Worry?

Author WDF Staff


If you notice your dog is constantly licking their lips, you might assume they're hungry or that they've had a particularly tasty meal. Licking lips is only one of the ways that dogs use body language to communicate. As dog owners, we all want to know what our four-legged best friends are trying to tell us with constant lip licking.

This question necessitates a consideration of the surrounding circumstances. You should keep an eye out for when, how, and why your dog engages in this behavior. There are many reasons dogs lick their lips, and we'll look into the most common ones below. We'll also examine when it's time to get concerned and look for veterinary assistance.

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What is lip licking in dogs?

As you can probably imagine, lip licking involves a dog licking its lips. A dog licking its lips when there is no food involved indicates that it is trying to communicate something.

What causes my dog's constant lip-licking?

Dogs might lick their lips for all sorts of reasons, including the expectation of a tasty treat or to remove something that irritates them, like sand, from their mouths. On the other hand, constant lip licking may be an indication of a more serious medical or behavioral problem.

english-cocker-spaniel licking lips

Find out the reason behing your dog's lip licking, how to stop them from doing so, and when to seek veterinary assistance. Here are the most common reasons dogs might lick their lips.

Something smells good

When you see your dog is licking their lips, it's usually because they've caught a whiff of something tasty. Opening a can of your dog's favorite food or preparing a tasty treat for yourself can cause them to do this. It makes them salivate, and their mouths will water.

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Aside from the fact that saliva production is a natural response to the anticipation of a meal, saliva production also aids in chewing and digestion. Humans experience the same physiological response.


Dogs often start to lick their lips when feeling threatened by another animal or a person. The lip-licking gesture says, "I am not a threat." When you reprimand your dog for something they did, such as urinating indoors, you may notice them licking their lips.

german-wire-haired-pointer licking lips

When you reprimand your dog for their bad behavior, they don't understand what you're saying. As a result, your dog displays submissive behavior because your body language, stance, and voice communicate a threat. It's important to remember that if dogs feel threatened, their submissive behavior may become defensive. Ensure your dog doesn't feel threatened or cornered when you're reprimanding them for misbehavior.

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While walking your dog, you may notice them licking their lips. The same thing can happen if the TV is loud or you have unfamiliar guests over. This can be a sign that your dog is feeling anxious. However, comforting them can make them more anxious, so make sure you know how to approach them.

Scolding your dog for misbehaving is basically giving them attention. That can send the message to your dog that they'll be rewarded with attention from you if they display anxiety. As an alternative, you can say a command and make them sit or shake. You'll reward them for completing your command rather than rewarding their anxiety.

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Medical concern

When dogs have a dental issue or a mouth infection, they may lick their lips to soothe the discomfort. It's time to take your dog to the vet if they've lost their appetite and frequently licking its lips. Your dog may have a toothache or a wound on its gums. Lip licking can also be a symptom of nausea.

dog licking lips

If your dog has been vomiting, has diarrhea, or shows signs of constipation, you should visit your vet to ensure there are no gastrointestinal issues. Also, watch out for lethargy and a lack of hunger.

What to do if you notice your dog licking its lips?

You should keep the following in mind: If licking lips occurs while you're preparing their food, lip-licking is nothing to be concerned about. Your dog is looking for a snack, and they're counting on you to drop something.

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You should remove your dog from an unsettling environment if they're licking their lips, so they can calm down and relax. The licking of lips points to nervousness, or they could be displaying a form of appeasement.

If you can't figure out what's causing your lip licking in your dog their lips and there's no food involved or reason for being nervous, you should call your vet and schedule an appointment.

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Lip licking is common for dogs, but it could also indicate a medical problem. As dog owners, it's our responsibility to figure out what's going on with our pets. Ask a professional for advice if you're unsure.

World Dog Finder team

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