Why Does My Dog Lick Their Mouth?

Jul 30, 2023

Have you ever noticed your furry friend licking their lips for what seems like no reason? Well, it turns out that there are actually several different reasons why dogs might do this.

In this blog post, we'll explore the various explanations for why dogs lick their lips and what it could mean for their health and behaviour.

So, grab a lip smacking treat for your pup (or yourself) and let's dive in!

Dogs licking their chops: the most obvious reason

Licking lips is a form of communication for dogs and it's up to us to read their body language.

The most obvious reason for our dogs smacking their lips together is because something smells good! Have you ever noticed how your dog stares at you when you're enjoying your dinner? Your dog is smelling something tasty, their mouth starts watering, just like our saliva production increases when we're about to eat, and they start licking their lips in anticipation.

If you notice your dog always licking lips close to meal times, food anticipation is likely the reason why.

Dogs licking lips as a sign of anxiety and submission

What happens when there is no food in sight and your dog is still licking their chops?

If you notice your dog licking their lips when you’re out for a walk, other dogs are around, you're in an unfamiliar place, the TV is playing loudly, or you have guests over, chances are your pup is feeling anxious. 

Dogs will often give their lips a lick when they are being disciplined. No one likes to be reprimanded and dogs are no exception. Most times, they don't understand why you're telling them off. They're just recognising your body language and tone of voice and are licking their lips as a way to appease you.

Often, dogs will do this as a sign of submission, in front of you to say "I'm sorry" or in front of other dogs if they feel threatened and anxious.

Your dog might nervously flick their tongue across the mouth when you pet them too. This means they want you to stop.

Should I be worried that my dog is licking their lips constantly?

For any behaviour that becomes repetitive, you may want to talk to your vet  about your dog's licking problem. 

There could be an underlying reason for this behaviour or a health issue such as:

  • toothache, broken tooth, oral discomfort.
  • nausea or vomiting. Your pet will tend to lick their lips when they feel nauseous.
  • neurological issues: lip licking can precede seizures.
  • cognitive dysfunction: in older dogs who feel anxious and disoriented.

If the reason is behavioural, try to redirect the licking and be patient and calm.


Does your dog often lick their lips?


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The Doggy Grub blog is dedicated to helping dogs and their owners achieve happier, healthier lives, changing the way we feed our dogs one bowl at a time! If you would like to know more about our fresh food head to Doggy Grub




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