Why Does My Dog Keep Licking Lips and Swallowing at Night

Are you worried about your dog’s peculiar behavior of incessantly licking its lips and swallowing at night? You’re not alone. Before you wonder “why does my dog keep licking lips and swallowing at night”, you should know that it can also be a symptom of an underlying health issue.

In this article, I will shed some light on this puzzling behavior and help you learn the potential cause & insight. As a responsible dog owner, you should understand the underlying reasons behind this unusual behavior, as it might indicate something amiss or require medical intervention.

Therefore, without wasting any further time, let’s take a quick look at three possible reasons ‘why my dog keeps licking their lips and swallowing at night.’

This article aims to illuminate this puzzling behavior, exploring its potential causes and providing insights for concerned dog owners. Understanding the underlying reasons behind this behavior is crucial for ensuring the well-being and health of your furry friend. This article will delve into various factors that may contribute to excessive lip licking and swallowing in dogs.

Why Does My Dog Keep Licking Lips and Swallowing at Night? ( 3 Reasons)

Why Does My Dog Keep Licking Lips and Swallowing at Night? ( 3 Reasons)  

Before I tell you why your dog keeps licking its lips and Swallowing at night, you should familiarise yourself with the normal behavior of dogs and their communication skills. You should know that dogs use different types of body language and a range of vocalizations to express their needs and emotions.

As such, salvation and swallowing are also natural processes in dogs that helps them assist with the digestion of food as well as maintain oral health. However, it would help if you differentiated between normal lip licking and excessive swallowing or abnormal behavior.

There can be several factors that can contribute to excessive liping and swallowing in dogs ranging from physical health issues to behavioral health issues. Therefore, look at three possible causes of this unusual behavior in dogs.

Dry Mouth and Thirst-related Issues

Your dog needs to get more water. Dehydration can also cause your dog excessive lip linked as well as swallowing. Like us, dogs also need adequate water intake to maintain their hydration and daily activities.

As per PetHelpful, dehydration can increase salivation and lip licking in dogs as their bodies attempt to compensate for the lack of moisture. If your area experiences dry weather conditions or indoor heating during the night, it can exacerbate the problem. You must provide your dog with easy access to fresh water daily and a suitable environment with appropriate humidity levels to alleviate this issue.

Dental & Oral Health Problems

There is a huge chance that your dog is excessively lip-licking and swallowing at night due to dental disease or oral health problems. If your dog is suffering from periodontal disease or oral infection, t might cause discomfort and pain in dogs.

To alleviate this pain, your dog may excessively lip licking and swallow. American Veterinary Dental College found that dental problems are very common in dogs, with over 80% of dogs over three experiencing some form of dental disease.

That’s why I always recommend paying an occasional visit to the nearest veterinary care for regular dental checkups & proper oral hygiene practices. It would help if you also considered brushing your dog’s teeth and providing them with appropriate chew toys to maintain their oral health better.

Gastrointestinal Issues

In addition to dental issues, a few other health issues can manifest in your dog and result in accessive liping and swallowing. Certain gastrointestinal conditions like heartburn or acid reflux may cause extreme discomfort in your dog’s throat and esophagus, leading to increased salivation and swallowing.

Also, note that Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other digestive disorders may lead to this unusual behavior. You must consult your veterinarian if you think your dog might be suffering from any gastrointestinal or digestive issues. This can also happen if your Dog Swallowed Baby Rabbit Whole.

You should call them and let them know the current situation to determine the appropriate action. Your vet may call you in its clinic with your dog for the diagnosis and treatment.

3 Behavioral & Emotional Factors

In addition to physical health issues, behavioral and emotional factors can contribute to excessive lip licking and swallowing in dogs. Let’s explore some of these factors:

Anxiety, Stress, and Fear

Dogs, just like us, can also experience anxiety, stress, and fear. Suppose your dog is suffering from any of these emotional states. It can manifest in various ways, including excessive lip licking and swallowing to self-soothe or alleviate anxious feelings.

A study published in the My Pet Nutritionist found that anxious dogs were likelier to engage in repetitive behaviors, such as excessive licking. If you notice that your dog’s lip licking and swallowing occur during situations that cause stress or anxiety, you must address the underlying emotional issues. It would help if you also avoid any triggers that may make your dog anxious or fearful.

Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviours

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) can also contribute to excessive lip licking and swallowing in dogs. OCD in dogs is characterized by repetitive and compulsive behaviors that serve no apparent purpose.

These behaviors can include excessive licking, chewing, or swallowing. An article published in the Pets Best Insurance state a correlation between obsessive-compulsive behaviors and excessive licking in dogs.

If you suspect your dog may be exhibiting OCD-like behaviors, consult a veterinary behaviorist for a proper diagnosis and management of the condition.

Boredom and Lack of Mental Stimulation

Maybe your dog is bored, which is why it is developing repetitive behavior, including excessive lip licking and swallowing. Since they are known to be very smart animals that need frequent mental stimulation and engagement to thrive, they can quickly develop repetitive behaviors if you don’t provide them with proper activities, attention, and playtime.

A dog may continuously lick its lips while swallowing to alleviate boredom or frustration. If this is the case, you must give your dog plenty of mental and physical exercise. Also, ensure you offer them interactive toys and engage with them in interactive play sessions.

You can also provide them with treat-dispensing or puzzle toys requiring problem-solving. Or, consider enrolling your dog in nearby training classes or activities like scent work or agility. These ideas can help you keep your dog engaged and mentally stimulated and prevent it from developing repetitive behavior.

3 Environmental Triggers

Apart from behavioral and emotional factors, some environmental triggers can cause excessive lip licking and swallowing in dogs. Let’s explore a couple of common environmental triggers:

Allergies and Sensitivities

Maybe your dog is allergic to some food items or may be experiencing environmental allergens that are known to cause discomfort, leading to excessive lip licking and swallowing.

According to a study published in the journal Veterinary Dermatology, you should know that Food allergies are estimated to affect around 10% of dogs. Therefore, it is important to identify and eliminate any potential allergens from your dog’s diet that might be triggering repetitive behavior.

Environmental allergens, including Pollen and dust mites, can contribute to this behavior. To know more about this, you can consider consulting with your veterinarian to conduct an appropriate allergy test and develop an appropriate management plan.

Toxins and Irritants

Sometimes a, dog also does this behavior when they accidentally ingest or come into contact with certain household chemicals, cleaning products, or plants that can be toxic or irritating to dogs. Ingesting or coming into contact with these substances can cause discomfort and lead to excessive lip licking and swallowing as a response.

If you want to know more about this, consider checking the recent article American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), where you’ll find a comprehensive list of plants that are toxic to dogs.

You must ensure a safe environment for your dog by preventing any access to harmful substances that might be present in your household to minimize the occurrence of this behavior.

Suppose you think that your dog has ingested any toxic substances or toxins. In that case, you should call your veterinarian immediately or get your dog checked for proper diagnosis and treatment at the nearest veterinary care. 

Airborne Irritants and Pollutants

Apart from irritants and toxins, other environmental factors like pollutants can cause discomfort and trigger excessive lip licking and swallowing in dogs. Your dog may feel discomfort around smoke or a strong odor.

Dogs tend to have a very sensitive sense of smell compared to us. Certain scent or chemical fumes can irritate their respiratory system, leading to repetitive behavior of excessive lip licking and swallowing in dogs.

You should know that air pollution always hurts human and animal health. Also, it would help if you kept your dog protected from cigarette smoke or heavily industrialized area. It would help to avoid using any chemical cleaning product or air freshener in areas where your dog spends most of their time.

It’s best to offer them a well-ventilated area and clean living environment to reduce the incidence of excessive lip licking and swallowing often associated with airborne irritants & pollutants.

5 Home Remedies & Management Techniques

While addressing the root cause is essential, there are some home remedies and management techniques that can help alleviate the symptoms:

  • Hydration And Providing Fresh Water: Ensure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times to prevent dehydration and dry mouth.
  • Dental Care And Oral Hygiene Practices: You should brush your dog’s teeth regularly. Also, you need to provide appropriate chew toys to maintain good oral health.
  • Dietary Adjustments And Food Trials: If you think something is wrong with the food or diet you are feeding your dog, you should consult your veterinarian to determine if dietary changes or elimination trials can help identify & address any food-related triggers.
  • Reducing Stress And Anxiety: You must create a calm and safe environment for your dog by implementing positive reinforcement training techniques. You can also consider natural remedies or pheromone diffusers to reduce anxiety.
  • Training And Behavior Modification Techniques: You need to work with a professional dog trainer or veterinary behaviorist to address any underlying behavioral issues that might contribute to excessive lip licking and swallowing.


After reading this article, I hope you know why my dog keeps licking his lips and swallowing at night. To address this behavior effectively, you should consider all the factors mentioned in the above section, including physical health issues, environmental triggers, and behavioral and emotional factors.

It would help if you remembered that a veterinarian would be the best person to help you with the best course of action. Whatever your concerns, you can also consider consulting with an animal behaviorist.

In some cases, Veterinary assistance will be required for necessary testing and developing a tailored treatment plan that can help your furry friend some relief. You should always take a holistic approach and address the root cause of this behavior to help your dog lead a happier and healthy life.

Check out our other helpful guide on dog eating and swallowing problems with solutions. See you in the next post, till then, take care and goodbye.

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