Why does my dog lick his lips excessively?

asked 2015-07-23 13:44:08 -0600

My Boston Terrier simply 'zones out' and is just licking his lips for a few minutes at a time. Is this something that is comforting to him or something I should get checked out?

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This is a cue that he is anxious and or nervous , he may a high energy dog who needs to burn off energy .

Ray M.'s profile image Ray M.  ( 2015-11-09 21:52:15 -0600 ) edit

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answered 2015-07-23 15:23:13 -0600

Lip licking is an appeasement (if the dog is licking another's lips/muzzle) or self-calming behavior (licking their own). Some dogs are more prone to it than others, like people and thumb sucking or nail biting. Often what starts out as a stress response over time becomes habitual, or even compulsive (again, like thumb sucking or nail biting). So your dog may have once responded to things that made him nervous with lip licking, and over time he's come to do it more absentmindedly. If the behavior seems to be bothering him or causing him distress, like if he gets that kind of panicked "what is my tongue doing? I can't seem to make it stop!" look in his eye, then it's probably a compulsive response, and you can distract him with something to do, like give him a chewy or toy to occupy his mouth so he can't lick. If it doesn't seem to bother him, it's probably just habitual, and I wouldn't worry about stopping him unless you want to.

That said, if this is a new behavior and he's never shown any tendency to lick his lips before, or if you are unable to interrupt the behavior while it's happening, then it could indicate some kind of neurological problem that should be investigated.

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Also, he may have some peanut butter on his chin. Dogs can only lick upwards ;)

Pat K.'s profile image Pat K.  ( 2015-10-22 13:47:13 -0600 ) edit
answered 2015-07-23 14:08:22 -0600

I had never heard of lip-licking (toe licking, yes - lip licking, no) so I went online and found this article:


The hypothesis sounds good. The nutshell: everything is ok with your dog. However, it never hurts to get things checked out if you are concerned.

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answered 2015-10-14 13:43:26 -0600

Lip licking as described can be due to various health issues. Before assuming it is stress, anxiety or a calming signal, I would rule out medical disorders. Countless dogs lick their lips when they are nauseous, have reflux or if they have something stuck in their mouth. Sometimes a bad tooth can cause licking. In some cases, dogs develop partial seizures that trigger lip licking and are known as "fly catching" seizures. Sometimes pain can cause the behavior. when my dog developed a torn ACL, she spend night lip licking. Here are covered some main causes of lip licking in dogs.

http://alexadry.hubpages.com/hub/-Why-Dogs-Sometimes-Lick-their-Lips-Excessively (Why is my dog licking his lips?)

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answered 2015-07-25 16:26:44 -0600

Hi, I myself have a Terrior and he licks his lips all the time as well. I think that is just there way of being happy or knowing that they are loved.

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