Dog Upset Stomach Licking Lips Excessively: many dog owners know their dog has an upset stomach and will be likely vomiting as soon as their dog starts licking their lips excessively and making loud lip smacking noises. However, licking lips can also be a symptom of other problems, so it’s important to have the dog see the vet if this is a recurrent problem. What causes lip licking in dogs in the first place? In dogs with an upset stomach, there is an interesting explanation.
Excessive Production of Saliva
In dogs who lick their lips and act restless, the behavior is often due to an upset stomach and nausea. Nausea triggers the overproduction of saliva which causes the dog to instinctively lick their lips in order to remove the excess and some dog will also gulp the excess saliva down. The medical term for a dog that produces too much saliva is “hypersalivation” or “ptyalism.” Dogs who have pendulous lips by conformation, or who do not lick their lips as much, may visibly drool as the saliva is given a chance to accumulate and seep through the lips.
Important Protective Measure
When a dog has nausea, the sudden influx of saliva is there for a reason. Vomit contains potent stomach acids which are really meant to stay within the stomach, but when the body detects something as potentially toxic or harmful, it triggers vomiting. While the stomach has protective layers that protect the stomach’s lining from acid, the dog’s throat, mouth and teeth are vulnerable. To protect the dog’s throat, teeth and mouth, the influx of saliva dilutes the acid and, on top of that, since saliva is slightly alkaline, it helps neutralize the acidity of the vomit, according to Science Focus.
Other Accompanying Symptoms
Dogs who are licking lips from nausea and upset stomach may also develop other accompanying symptoms. Some dogs may become restless as they lick and gulp down saliva. Because these dogs are nauseous, they may start looking for grass to ingest. If let out in the yard, these dogs may start frantically eating grass, in hopes that the grass would irritate the stomach enough to induce them to vomit. When there’s no access to grass, affected dogs may start licking floors and carpets. Other accompanying symptoms may include gurgling stomach noises and gas.
Several Digestive Issues
There are several possible causes of dog upset stomach that cause nausea and lip licking behaviors in dogs. Gastroesophageal reflux, abrupt dietary changes or other more serious issues such as an intestinal obstruction or a bout of pancreatitis can be culprits. Veterinarian Dr. Susan further adds that sometimes a dog may develop nausea and vomiting secondary to other conditions such as liver disease, kidney disease or Addison’s disease.
Other Potential Causes
As previously mentioned, lip licking can also be a symptom of several other conditions other than an upset stomach in dogs. It could be your dog has a lesion in the mouth, a splinter stuck between the teeth or a tooth root abscess. Another possibility can be that the dog may have been bitten by a bug in the mouth or he may have mouthed something that has a bad flavor such as bitter apple spray, a lemon or a species of plant known as Dieffenbachia, suggests veterinarian Dr. Fiona. Additionally, some dogs may lick their lips when they are nervous, anxious or in pain. If your dog is licking his lips repeatedly, see your vet to determine the exact cause and initiate proper treatment.