Why Does My Dog Smack His Lips?

Dogs smacking their lips once in a while is not unusual; however, there may be something lingering behind it if the action persists. There are several causes why dogs would smack their lips from being overly hungry or trying to remain calm. As the canine owner, you cannot merely guess; you have to watch the pooch closely.

If you can solve the reason behind the lip-smacking, great! If the problem is medically related, then contact your vet for solutions. You can gauge whether it is a big or light problem by understanding some of the common reasons behind dogs smacking their lips as listed below:


When dogs smell food they like, you may see them smacking their lips quite often. If you notice your dog smacking their lips around feeding time or getting excited over the neighbor’s barbecue smells wafting around, you may want to feed them. If the lip-smacking continues after the canine has eaten, then it is probably caused by something else.


Just like humans, dogs get nauseous when they are not feeling well, or they consumed a poisonous substance. When dogs are nauseous, saliva pools in the mouth, causing them to smack their lips. People believe that saliva pooling is a protective measure against stomach acids that damage the mouth when they finally vomit.

It is also possible that acid reflux in dogs spurs nausea in dogs. If nausea signaled by pooling of saliva seems persistent, please consult a doctor for remedies.

Oral Issues

We wish that dogs talked so that we could ask them what is wrong, but unfortunately, this is not the case. We have to rely on their body language to figure out what is going on. If you reside in areas where foxtails are common, that may be the reason behind the lip-smacking. Foxtails have spikelets that can get stuck in the dog’s nose or throat and cause discomfort.

Another issue may stem from an object lodged in between the dog’s teeth or periodontal diseases. If the dog’s mouth stinks and a lot of saliva is pooling in their mouth, consider visiting the vet.


Sickness comes with a certain discomfort that most of us cannot explain. Your dog may be feeling unwell, but they are trying to cope with the pain silently.

Increasingly frequent lip-smacking may be a sign of liver or kidney issues. Usually, the lip-smacking comes accompanied by other actions like pacing around or whining. Monitor the canine’s behavior, and if it completely differs from the usual mannerisms, there is a problem.


Yes, dogs get anxious too. A dog’s anxiety can peek when in unusual environments, socializing with intimidating dogs, thunderstorms, or when they are sick. You can tell if your dog is anxious because they look like they are trying to self-soothe by smacking their lips. The dog’s posture will look timid and their gaze slightly lowered.

In some cases, you may have a traumatized dog with abandonment issues, so they are always anxious. In this type of scenario, you can reduce the frequency of the dog smacking its lips by getting a knowledgeable trainer for the dog. The trainer will identify the anxiety triggers and suggest ways to manage them.


The hot sun can cause your dog to continually smack its lips due to dehydration. Once you give the dog water, you will notice the smacking stop. Apart from lip-smacking, you can confirm the dog is dehydrated by looking at the saliva, which should be thick and pasty. You can also check the skin for loss of elasticity as dehydrated skin does not bounce back to the original position.

Attention Seeking

If your dog is still smacking its lips even after ruling out diseases or behavioral issues at the vet, they may be merely looking for your attention. Dogs are strange creatures, and when they notice the attention has shifted from the owner, they try and get it back by any means necessary.

Give your dog some playtime and observe the lip-smacking frequency. If it reduces, then you will ascertain that your dog just wanted some time with you. Do not condone such attention-seeking behavior for long as the dog will adopt it as the primary way to get your attention


Before getting stressed over your dog’s lip-smacking, take a breather and first observe keenly. Pick up other cues the dog sets apart from the leap smacking and narrow down the cause. Lip-smacking in dogs is not a chronic issue; you can easily manage it once you get to the bottom of it. If you don’t know where to start, seek professional help as it will be faster than guessing.

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