Dog licking and smacking lips
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Thread: Dog licking and smacking lips

  1. #1
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    Dog licking and smacking lips

    My 5ish year old pit/lab mix smacks and licks his mouth/lips a lot, most often at night. Sometimes this is accompanied by growling if the other dogs come near. He's not a sloppy dog at all, but he's over-salivated a few times, generally before puking. The vet says he's doing all this to try NOT to puke. (He's always had a sensitive stomach.)

    He hasn't thrown up in several weeks, but he's still doing the licking/smacking/swallowing thing. Lymph nodes are normal and there are no other outward signs of anything wrong -- regular appetite, regular energy level, nothing abnormal in his mouth, throat not inflamed. Any ideas? He definitely seems uncomfortable when he does it. I'm about to take him to a different vet but I wanted to see if anyone has experienced a similar situation with their dog.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member MegaMuttMom's Avatar
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    Re: Dog licking and smacking lips

    Smacking and licking lips can be a calming signal and a sign that your dog is stressed. Combine that with the growling to keep other dogs away, I would think about what your dog is saying. Does he have a place to go to where he won't be bothered when he is trying to rest? Here is something to read that may help you decide if this is what is going on. http://www.wagntrain.com/BodyLanguage2.htm
    Sometimes dogs look silly when they sleep

  4. #3
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    Re: Dog licking and smacking lips

    That's a great article -- thank you! I was thinking this could be part of it, but he also does it when he's perfectly safe and not bothered by the other dogs, such as when he's in his bed and the other dogs are in their crates. I'll keep researching the behavior angle though -- I would rather it be something like that than a physical problem!

  5. #4
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    Re: Dog licking and smacking lips

    Hi, I am new in this forum. I realize that my response is way delayed, but I am posting it anyway in the hope that it may help somebody else.

    I recently adopted a little Shih Tzu from a city dog pound. At night he smacks his lips, swallows constantly, licks his face and sometimes makes little noises that I cannot identify (sounds like Chewbaca [?]. He also moves a lot, as if he is unable to find a comfortable spot. I was looking in the Internet for "smacking lips" just to confirm something I read in a book I just bought. My search brought me to this site. My book, written by a vet, states that lip-smacking may be a sign of various problems: 1) nausea, 2) a problem with his/her mouth, 3) liver and kidney disease, 4) dehydration and last, but not least 5) pain. If the dog is in pain, the lip smacking may be accompanied by panting and/or repetitive swallowing. My dog has a bit of arthritis and terrible hot spots. I am in the process of taking care of the hot spots. If after that problem is solved the lip-smacking, swallowing, etc., continues, I will take him to the vet again.

    In short, maybe your dog was nauseated or was in some kind of pain.

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