Why Do Dogs Lick Their Lips?

Dogs lick their lips as a way to clean them and satisfy their thirst. Some people think this behavior is weird, but others find it cute. Whether you think dogs licking their lips are weird or cute, it’s a habit you’ll want to watch for in your pet.

Why do dogs lick their lips and how do they do it?

Body language is the means through which our puppies communicate with us given that they are unable to use verbal language. As their pet parents, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves on how to comprehend that language. Patricia McConnell, an animal behaviorist, suggests that there could be a few different explanations for why dogs lick their lips.

These reasons are as follows:

  • In eager expectation of a meal
  • Conciliation (also known as submissive or calming signals)
  • Anxiety
  • Problems with one’s health, such as oral distress or nausea

Let’s take a more in-depth look at the various causes behind why dogs lick their lips, as well as what you should do about it and when you should seek the assistance of a veterinarian.

Your dog scents something appealing

The simple fact that they detect the aroma of something delicious is one of the most typical triggers for a dog to lick his or her lips. It doesn’t matter if you’re cracking open a can of your dog’s favorite food or if you’ve just finished making a mouthwatering treat for yourself; the aroma may prompt your dog to lick its lips. Additionally, it makes the person’s mouth water.

Related: 5 Best Air Purifiers for Removing Pet Hair and Odors at your home

The creation of saliva is not only an automatic response to the expectation of food, but it also assists in preparing the teeth for chewing and the stomach for the digestion of the meal that is about to be consumed. We experience the same physiologic reaction as everyone else.

Your dog is trying to tell you something

Dogs will lick their lips as a display of submission whenever they sense that they are in danger from either a human or another animal.

Because dogs are unable to comprehend what we are saying, they are also unaware that you are correcting them because of the manner in which they have behaved.

Instead, your dog interprets your tense body language and elevated voice as an aggressive challenge, which leads to the dog acting in a subservient manner toward you. It is essential to keep in mind that your dog’s submissive behavior could quickly evolve into a defensive stance if he or she continues to feel threatened. When your dog acts inappropriately, rather than punishing them, try giving them space and time to calm down, and use positive reinforcement instead of punishment.

Your dog feels nervous

If you are out for a walk, the TV is playing loudly, or you have company over, and you see your dog licking their lips, there is a significant probability that your dog is feeling uneasy. In spite of the fact that you want to reassure them, doing so may actually make their fear worse. Your dog will learn that showing signs of worry will earn them attention if you coddle them when they are feeling anxious. This is because scolding your dog when they misbehave is a reward (attention), and coddling them when they are feeling anxious is a reward (attention). Instead, you should attempt to shift their focus by requesting that they sit or shake. When your dog finally gives in, you will be able to praise him for his positive conduct rather than punish him for his anxiousness.

There is an underlying problem with your dog’s health.

When a dog is nauseous or experiencing oral discomfort due to a sore tooth or an infection in the mouth, they will also lick their lips. This behavior is common in dogs. If your dog has lost interest in eating and has started licking their lips regularly, you should take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible. There is a possibility that your dog is suffering from an infected tooth or gums that have ulcerated. A similar symptom of nausea is licking one’s lips frequently.

If your canine companion has been throwing up, experiencing diarrhea, or exhibiting signs of constipation, you should take them to the veterinarian to rule out the possibility of gastrointestinal disorders. Lethargy and a loss of appetite are two other symptoms that you should be on the lookout for.

What should you do if you notice that your dog is licking its lips frequently?

If you notice that your dog is licking its lips frequently, there are a few things you can do to diagnose and treat the problem. First, take your dog to a veterinarian to rule out any medical causes. If the doctor finds no underlying health problems, they may recommend behavioral modification techniques such as obedience training or crate training in order to help keep your dog from licking its lips compulsively. If these techniques don’t work, your vet may prescribe medication to control the behavior.

Here are some possible general causes of Lip Licking in dogs

  • When you’re in the kitchen preparing food: If your canine companion licks their lips while you are cooking, you have absolutely nothing to be concerned about. They are looking for a good reward, and they are hoping that you will drop something on the ground for them to pick up.
  • When it comes to your dog being in a social environment: It is recommended to remove your dog from the environment and give them some time to rest if you notice that they are licking their lips while they are among other people. It’s possible that they’re trying to calm themselves down by licking their lips, but it could also be a sign that they’re agitated.
  • When you can’t find another cause for the behavior: If your dog licks their lips when there’s no food and no reason for them to be worried, it’s never a bad idea to see the vet.

Licking the lips is generally considered to be a typical reaction in dogs, but it could potentially indicate that something is amiss. As dog owners, it is our responsibility to get to the bottom of our canine companions’ behavior. Consult an expert whenever you are unsure of something.


Dogs lick their lips for many reasons- to cool themselves down, to clean their teeth and gums, to lubricate their mouths, and to taste. Whether you’re a dog lover or not, these little habits are adorable, interesting, and downright intriguing! So next time your pup starts licking his chops, take a moment to appreciate the reason why.

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