Why Dogs Smack Their Lips? Six Surprising Reasons

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In our human society, the act of licking our lips is something that we do whenever we open and shut our mouths to signal the desire to consume something we enjoy, however in the world of dogs lip-smacking is performed for different reasons. Certain dog owners might be concerned when a dog rubs his lips frequently, whereas others might find it infuriating. If you’re terribly irritated by the lip-smacking sounds your dog produces, you suffer from a condition called “misophonia” which literally means “hatred of sound” and may involve particular sounds made when someone eats or yawns or when dogs rub their lips.

1) Anticipation of Food:

Like humans, dogs’ mouths might swell when he comes across food, smells food, or even is thinking about food. The accumulation of saliva inside a dog’s mouth could make him snore which is typically observed in dogs who have large cheeks. However, sometimes dogs just gently lick their lips in order to collect the excessive saliva which collects laterally, preventing it from leaking out.

In this scenario, the lip-smacking behavior occurs when there’s something happening in the dog’s surroundings that has to do with food. It is likely that you will see your dog’s lips being smacked as you cook or when you’re preparing your dog’s food.

2) A Bout of Nausea:

Before dogs and humans vomit, saliva is accumulated in the mouth. This can trigger lip-smacking dogs, drooling, and frequent swallowing in humans.

The reason why this saliva builds up in the mouth after vomiting isn’t completely evident, however in the opinion of Science Focus, there is the possibility that it is an attempt to protect the mouth, throat, and teeth hurt due to the acidic stomach contents once they’re brought up.

Thankfully, the majority of instances of dog lips smacking due to nausea subside when the dog vomits and urinated, however, nausea can persist for a while and the dog could be constantly gulping down saliva.

3) A Mouth Problem:

If we suffer from teeth or mouth pain, we might look into the medicine cabinet in order to relieve the issue and schedule appointments with the dentist. Dogs are unable to let us know about their discomfort, other than manifesting signs of discomfort, like lip smacking or eating, drooling, dropping food after they eat, or pawing the mouth.

The causes of problems that affect the mouth of a dog or its teeth could be caused by periodontal disease and objects that have been inserted into the dog’s mouth or issues related to the glands of saliva. If you live in a region with foxtails be aware that these ugly awns might have got inside the dog’s throat or mouth which can cause pain and drooling lip smacking and gags.

4) A Sign of Pain/Illness:

We are a species that is reliant on vocalizations and words, we humans tend to assume that dogs express their discomfort through whistles, whimpers, and yells however, it’s not always the case. There are many dogs who exhibit subtle signs of pain that are not noticed by pet owners or attributed to other factors other than the pain. In addition to vomiting, lip-smacking may be an indication of pain.

5) A Calming Signal:

For dogs, the act of licking their lips is the kind of behavior Roger Abrantes calls a “pacifying behavior.” Dogs typically use this method to dispel any perceived threat by using the lip-smacking gesture as a signal of appeasement. It is evident in dogs that are anxious, stressed, or anxious about an encounter or when there is a kind of conflict taking place.

Some dogs will lick their lips when being photographed (it causes some dogs to be anxious) or when a pet owner slips on them. Similar to other behaviors such as smacking your lips, it’s crucial to pay attention to the context because things can become blurred at moments. It is possible that people think the dog is rubbing its lips in a state of nervousness prior to beginning a session of training however it could be a sign that the dog is anticipating sweets. Patrica McConnell on her blog offers a method to differentiate between the two.

6) Attention Seeking Behavior:

Last but not least the lip-smacking behavior could occur from time to time because the dog is aware that it is attracting the attention of the owner. After determining any medical reasons the behavior could be the case if, each when your dog is able to smack your lips you gaze at the dog or even talk to him.

The lip-smacking behavior gets its roots in the fact that it was consciously encouraged by the dog’s owner. Dogs who seek attention are typically dogs that are not socialized and spend the majority of their time in solitude and are always seeking any kind of attention whenever the owner gets home.

Similar to other behaviors it’s essential to consider its context. If the behavior is only observed with the owner present then it’s probably a sign of attention-seeking. If one records the dog’s behavior when the owner is not present you can possibly determine the possibility that it’s seeking attention or for some other reason.

Related Article: Overweight in dogs: Tips for controlling dog weight!

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