Have you ever heard your dog smacking lips while you were in deep sleep? Are you getting annoyed with that sound? Are you confused with the question, “why is my dog smacking its lips in the middle of the night?”
Let us talk about what basically smacking or licking lips is.
Literally, smacking is basically the movement of the lips and mouth that makes a noise. It’s annoying and worrisome at the same time.
The important thing is to know the cause of the annoying sound while putting your reaction aside. After all, the sound rings alarming bells in our ears, No?
Why is my dog smacking lips at night?
Before we move forward, let me tell you that it can be voluntary as well as involuntary. In most cases, it may be a sign of hunger. And hunger pangs strike at odd hours. Isn’t that right? On the other side, it could also be because of nervousness or apprehension.
Some of the main causes of dog smacking are described below.
DEHYDRATION OR DRY MOUTH
Dehydration or dryness of the mouth can also be known as “Xerostomia”. It’s very uncomfortable for dogs and annoys them. The reason for lip licking in xerostomia is that your dog is trying to produce enough saliva to wet his lips and to feel comfortable. And I guess that’s pretty much the same case with humans. No?
However, a good way to assess xerostomia or mouth dryness is to lift the skin over the dog’s shoulder blades or on their back. Notice, if the immediately returns to normal, this states that your dog is in a normal hydration state or their hydration level is well enough. But, if it doesn’t spring back to it’s an original position or there is a delay, it means your dog NEEDS WATER. Get the thirsty doggo some water!
Moving on, treatment regarding mouth dryness depends upon the severity of dehydration. For instance, you can administer them through extra fluid either orally, intravenously, or subcutaneously. You may also through hydrate their mouth with mouthwashes.
ANTICIPATION OF FOOD
Have you heart of the phrase mouthwatering food? Do you salivate at the smell, site or just illusion of food? Same is the case with your four legged companion. Your dog can salivate too when he smells food just like other mammals and excessive salivation can lead to lip drooling.
Dog reacts to the smell of food, sounds of cooking, and thoughts of being fed with delicious food and treats. At times just when the clock strikes their eating hour, they began to salivate profusely.
Additionally, in response to these thoughts, they start smacking along with jumping up and down in excitement. That’s just their way of letting you know that they’re super ready for the having the meal.
However, this is a normal behavior and will be fine once the dog is well fed.
Oral hygiene is VERY IMPRTANT FOR DOGS. I cannot lay enough stress on this point. Brushing teeth must be a routine, at least twice a week. And so is visiting an oral health expert on annual basis.
Many dogs smack their lips occasionally without any reason. Let’s say a bad habit? But sometimes, making sounds with lips can be linked with mouth or teeth illness.
If you observe that your dog often shows this behavior, you must inspect his mouth closely. If you find something unusual, rush him to the veterinarian.
Gum disease is very common in dogs and unfortunately, many dog owners don’t consider it seriously.
SOMETHING SCATTERED IN ITS MOUTH
A good place to start inspection is from the mouth. Maybe a piece of any bone, peanut, or anything else is scattered in its mouth which leads him to lick his lips over and over again.
Sometimes a piece of stick or wood can also make your dog to smack its lips at night. Moreover, any sort of infection as well as use of bitter antibiotics can cause lip drooling.
If you’re not able to inspect your pet’s mouth properly, then surely visit the vet.
STRESS OR FEAR
I usually bite my lower lip when I am stressed. I have also seen people smacking their lips when they are anxious. And well quite frankly, you dogs can show the same sign when they are scared of something.
In an uneasy or fearful condition your pet will flip his tongue continuously. There is a high chance that it’s related to some past experience, maybe the night reminds the dog of it?
Thus, such behavior can be reduced by adequate therapies including exercise and rewrads for calm behavior.
NAUSEA OR ABDOMINAL DISCOMFORT
Whenever dog feels nauseated, he starts producing more saliva due to over-activation of its salivary glands. Thus, this in turn, it will cause the poor fluffyboy to smack his lips.
Moreover, other causes of lip licking due to nausea are vomiting, loss of appetite, grass-eating, or any gastro-intestinal tract disease like inflammatory bowel disease. This might amaze you but serious illnesses like, liver illness and pancreatic intestinal cancer can also lead to excessive licking of lips.
Hence, in most severe cases, you have to visit the veterinarian and ask them to start medications such as antacids.
NERVOUS SYSTEM DISORDER OR SEIZURES
Dogs like to smell things and immediately gulp or chew it. And man most of us are sick of this behavior. Aren’t we? If your doggo ingests something poisonous or toxic, it might affect his nervous system which leaves him licking his lips more than usual. Example is an exposure to toad poisoning.
Furthermore, partial or complete seizures due to any cause can also be a reason for lip smacking. And other times interaction with any bitter substance can make a dog smack his lips at night again and again.
REINFORCED BEHAVIOR OR ATTENTION SEEKING BEHAVIOR
Smacking or licking not always related to a medical illness, it may occur when your pet wants to seek your attention, and desires of some extra petting.
A dog owner is the entire world for the dog. They’d literally do anything for attention, love and some playing time. If the dogs feel that smacking lips seeks them your attention, well you know that’s the reason they are doing it.
Besides, this behavior usually observed in those dogs who are socially deprived and spend most of the day wandering lonely.
DISCOMFORT OR PAIN
Licking lips with a twitchy sound can be a subtle sign of uneasiness that poor doggo is showing to describe his pain. Dogs have limited ways to showing how they feel, and this is one of them.
There is a chance, it suffering from any liver, kidney ailment, or an orthopedic issue. It is quite difficult to exactly locate the pin position of the originating pain. Again, your vet may be able to resolve this issue.
Lip smacking or licking before, during, and after sleep is a very common behavior of dogs. If you’ve ruled the above-mentioned possible causes, then you can finally help your dog with this issue.
WAYS TO MANAGE LIP LICKING AT NIGHT
Licking lips can be normal or abnormal due to any diseased condition. Before it gets worse, let’s give you a bunch of useful advices.
- Provide your pet with first aid as soon as possible.
- Give him ample amount of water to drink.
- Take a look at his teeth and rush him to a dentist.
- Take him to vet if it gets serious and the doggo looks in pain.
- If the vet says, the dog has no underlying health condition; it’s now time to take him to a behaviorist. The behaviorist will let you know if he’s smacking lips at night due an attention deficit or just some stress or fear.
It can be safely concluded that dog smacking lips at night, may or may not be related to a health condition. In either case, excessive lip licking is not normal. In order to solve this, notice the situation and timings when your dog shows such behavior. At last, the take home message is, never stop caring about your dog!