You are sitting in your home, and you see your dog licking his lips excessively. Why does my dog keep licking his lips, you wonder? Well, as always, there are multiple reasons. Below, we are going to explain all of them and help you understand this behaviour better. It is important to understand why your dog does things so you can assist him or take the needed action.
Main Reasons Why Does My Dog Keep Licking His Lips
It Is Calming Signal
This is one of the most common reasons. In fact, dogs will lick their lips when they are scared, anxious or when they are under stress. Why does my dog keep licking his lips? Well, he is trying to calm himself and he is trying to tell another dog or a person that he doesn’t want to deal with him.
This is more common when your dog sees another dog at a park or in the yard. But it is also possible that he licks his lips when you come home. If he made a puddle of pee at some point and you were angry, he is scared that you will react the same way now. In some dogs, lip licking can be the same thing as nail-biting in humans.
He Ate Foxtails
Spiky seeds of a grass called foxtail are another cause here. Your dog may have the seeds in his mouth, nose, between the fingers, and even in the lungs. If this is the case, he will sneeze all the time, lick his lips, swallow, and eat anything he can find. He may also lick the floor or objects. Now is the time to take him to the vet immediately. He will determine which way is best to remove the seed or seeds.
Due To Pain
Dogs will react differently when they are in pain. Most of them will bark, but not all. Some will lick their lips. If you notice dehydration and this behavior, you can tell that your pet is in pain. The most common issues here are related to the kidneys and liver. Yes, you will have to take him to a vet, and he will need severe treatment.
Yes, your pet can be nauseous, and he will lick his lips. He will do this because of excess saliva. He just wants to remove the saliva, and he will swallow it afterward. You can see him doing both actions (licking and swallowing), which is not common in other cases. Your dog will also eat grass. They have been doing this for centuries, and it is used to help them with upset stomachs. If your dog does this for a couple of days, you may want to take him to the vet. He may have eaten something toxic.
Due To Oral Discomfort
It is actually a very common thing here. Dogs who lick their lips all the time may have some sort of oral discomfort. The best examples are tooth decay, periodontal disease, saliva glands that are swollen, and also some objects in the teeth. He is trying to eliminate the discomfort. You can examine his mouth, and if you see something, remove it. If you don’t see it, you may want to take him to a vet to diagnose the issue.
Epilepsy/ Partial Seizures
Dogs can have partial seizures. In most cases, they will look and act perfectly normal. But you can see them licking the air. They are trying to catch imaginary flies, which is the best example here. The cause of this behaviour can be epilepsy or particle seizures that can occur. Your dog needs to be taken to a vet for a detailed examination. He will probably prescribe certain medications that will treat seizures and help your dog.
You can see dogs who pace nervously and try to poop, but they can’t. They will also lick the lips excessively. This is the case with bloating, which happens extremely commonly.
Deep-chested dogs are at a higher risk. You will have to take him to a vet, and your dog will need treatment. This issue can be fatal if you don’t treat it, so you can deduce how severe it is. Causes for bloat can be gasses, food, or anything else that causes an enlarged stomach. Fluid can also increase the stomach, and there are all kinds of additional causes.
If your dog licked a toxic toad he will experience all kinds of symptoms. These will appear within minutes and you need to take him to a vet. The symptoms are drooling, red gums, vomiting, lack of coordination, pawing, foaming, shaking the head, and also rise of the body temperature.
If you notice any of these symptoms, wash his mouth with clean water and take him to the vet. This is not a harmless condition and your dog needs severe help as soon as possible.
Yes, dogs can end up dehydrated, and yes, this happens more commonly than you may believe. It is especially common during the warm months. Lift the skin of the dog by pinching it. Then release it immediately. If the skin returns to the normal position immediately, your dog is fine. If it stays in a tent-like position, he is dehydrated.
He may be dehydrated due to other medical conditions as well. Start by providing him with plenty of water to drink. If he refuses, another condition may be present. Sticky gums, a loss of skin elasticity, and sunken eyes are the most common symptoms here.
How to Respond When Your Dog Keeps Licking His Lips
Responding to your dog’s continuous lip-licking requires a balanced approach of observation, home remedies, and professional consultation. This behavior might be a sign of underlying issues ranging from anxiety to health problems. Below are the steps to effectively respond to this behavior:
- Close Monitoring: Begin by closely observing your dog’s behavior. Note the frequency, triggers, and any patterns associated with the lip licking.
- Associated Symptoms: Look for other symptoms like changes in eating habits, aggression, or lethargy, which could indicate underlying health issues.
2. Home Remedies:
- Anxiety Relief: If the behavior is linked to anxiety, create a safe and calm environment for your dog. Avoid triggers of anxiety where possible.
- Proper Nutrition: Ensure your dog is receiving a balanced diet to rule out nutritional deficiencies.
3. Environmental Adjustments:
- Removing Irritants: Identify and eliminate potential environmental irritants that might be causing discomfort.
- Climate Control: Maintain optimal indoor climate to avoid skin dryness or allergies.
4. Behavioral Training:
- Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement to discourage excessive licking.
- Mental Stimulation: Engage your dog in activities that stimulate their mind and reduce boredom.
5. Professional Consultation:
- Veterinary Visit: If the lip-licking persists or if associated with other symptoms, seek professional veterinary care. This is crucial to identify and treat potential health issues.
- Behavioral Therapist: For persistent behavioral issues, consider seeking help from a professional dog behavioral therapist.
- Implement Recommendations: Follow through with the veterinary recommendations, including medication and lifestyle changes.
- Continuous Monitoring: Keep observing your dog’s behavior to ensure improvement or take additional measures if needed.
It is essential to approach your dog with empathy and patience, understanding that excessive lip-licking is a sign of an underlying issue that requires attention. Balancing at-home care with professional intervention ensures your dog’s well-being and strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend.
The Final Word
Unraveling the mystery of “Why Does My Dog Keep Licking His Lips” can be a journey of understanding and care. It’s an intricate dance of paying attention to behavioral patterns, seeking professional insights, and applying tailored interventions. Every dog is unique, and their reasons for excessive lip licking can span across the physical, emotional, or a combination of both realms.
As a responsible pet owner, your role in identifying, understanding, and addressing this behavior is paramount. By adopting a comprehensive approach that balances immediate care and professional consultation, you not only address the symptom but also contribute to the overall well-being and happiness of your beloved canine companion.