Reasons Why A Dog Licks Its Lips

Why do dogs lick their lips a lot? When we find a dog licking its lips, then we think it would be surely eating something or drooling. But what if there was no food around, but still your dog is licking? Then what do you mean by lip licking? Here are some facts that you must be aware of them.

What do you mean by Lip Licking in Dogs?

Lip Licking is something like dogs licking lips. If you find a dog doing such activity, then that means he might be trying to send a message to you.

why do dogs lick their lips a lotWhy do dogs lick their lips a lot?

Lip licking is a calming signal by dogs, which is referred to as an appeasement gesture. Dogs show many behaviors and actions when they are generally under stress or feel uncomfortable. If something does not go around them, then they think it as a threat. Licking of lips by dogs shows that they are worried.

Dogs generally do this to soothe and appease a person they find a threat to them. When a dog gets scolding from its owner, it does not calm down. He feels the owner be a threat to him. The owner might yell at him, and thus, a dog might have offered an appeasement gesture. It is a way that a dog might be saying that he is not a threat to a person who is angry at him.

Read: Reasons Why A Dog Runs Away From Home

why do dogs lick their lips a lotAlso, dogs may develop such gestures when they feel confused and frustrated. This generally happens when dogs are under training session. Do not force him to do anything as it could be a trouble for you. Give some space to your dog alone when you notice gestures like yawning, lip licking, scratching, or ground sniffing. A dog cannot get into its mind when he feels stressed. Thus do not force anything on him as it can be a threat for you itself.

What to do when a dog is licking its lips?

First of all, you need to understand why do dogs lick their lips a lot.  Lip licking is a submissive gesture that means to prevent aggression from escalating. It shows that a dog is under stress and might be uncomfortable in certain situations. Dog shows this gesture to let get rid of the fear, threat, or to let the owner stop showing his aggression at him. However, in such cases, the dog would not become defensive for itself. It will turn aggressive if its calm gesture turns unsuccessful.

why do dogs lick their lips a lot


Back off, if a dog is licking its lips, allow your dog to feel comfortable and give him a little space. Try to remove the source of dog’s threats if it is possible in anyways. This will keep you safe from a bite from the dog who would try to defend itself with this. Try to redirect your dog to a positive manner when he feels nervous at some unknown place. Keep rewarding him at that place by asking him to trick over something. However, remember not to comfort a dog when it is uneasy because it will reinforce his anxiety and fear.


If your dog licks his lips during some training session, then it is best to end on a positive note. Break down the behavior in some small segments such that it becomes easy for you to learn. Thus it is, however, called shaping behavior. You need to investigate further if you find a dog licking lips when there is no food around and no threat to him. There must be surely something in the environment that must be making your dog uncomfortable. Find the source and let your dog get rid of it.