What Does It Mean When Dogs Lick Their Lips

Dogs have been man’s best friend for centuries, and it is not hard to see why. They are loyal, loving, and endlessly entertaining. One of the most endearing things about dogs is their ability to communicate with us in so many ways. From wagging their tails to barking, they always find a way to let us know what is on their minds. However, there is one behavior that can be a little confusing: lip licking.

At first glance, lip licking might seem like a harmless and insignificant behavior. After all, we humans lick our lips all the time without thinking twice about it. But when it comes to dogs, there may be more going on than meets the eye. In fact, lip licking can indicate a variety of things, from anxiety and stress to hunger or even illness.

So what does it mean when dogs lick their lips? Let’s take a closer look.

Anxiety and Stress

One of the most common reasons why dogs lick their lips is because they are feeling anxious or stressed. This could be due to a variety of factors, such as loud noises like thunderstorms or fireworks, being left alone for long periods of time, or meeting new people or animals.

When a dog is feeling anxious or stressed, they may start panting heavily and licking their lips repeatedly. This behavior is often accompanied by other signs of stress, such as yawning excessively or pacing back and forth.

If you notice your dog exhibiting these behaviors frequently, it may be a sign that they are experiencing chronic stress or anxiety. In this case, it is important to work with your veterinarian or a professional dog trainer to help them feel more comfortable and relaxed in their environment.

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Another reason why dogs may lick their lips is because they are hungry. Just like humans, dogs can get pretty excited about mealtime! When your dog starts salivating and licking their lips while staring at their food bowl, it’s a pretty good indication that they are ready to eat.

However, it’s important to note that excessive lip licking and drooling can also be a sign of a medical issue such as dental problems or gastrointestinal issues. If you notice your dog exhibiting these behaviors frequently, it may be worth scheduling a visit with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health concerns.


Speaking of health concerns, lip licking can also be a sign that your dog is feeling under the weather. Some illnesses and medical conditions can cause dogs to lick their lips excessively, including nausea, dehydration, and even certain types of cancer.

If you notice your dog exhibiting other symptoms along with excessive lip licking, such as vomiting or diarrhea, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away.

Other Reasons for Lip Licking

Of course, not all instances of lip licking are tied to anxiety, hunger, or illness. Sometimes dogs just lick their lips because they are happy or excited! For example, if you come home after being away for a while, your dog may jump up and start licking your face and lips as a way of showing affection.

Additionally, some dogs may simply have a habit of licking their lips without any particular reason at all. Just like humans might bite their nails or twirl their hair absentmindedly, dogs can develop habits that are hard to break.

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In conclusion, there are many reasons why dogs might lick their lips. While it’s normal for dogs to do this from time to time, excessive lip licking could be a sign of an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Whether it’s anxiety or illness-related, it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s behavior and seek veterinary care if needed.

So the next time you see your furry friend licking their lips, take a moment to consider what they might be trying to tell you. With a little bit of observation and attention, you can better understand your dog’s needs and provide them with the care and attention they deserve.