Why Does My Dog Lick His Lips Before Sleeping

Why Does My Dog Lick His Lips Before Sleeping?

If you have ever observed your dog before going to sleep, you may have noticed them licking their lips. While this behavior may seem curious, there are several reasons why dogs engage in this action before bedtime.

One common reason for dogs licking their lips before sleeping is to clean their mouths. Dogs are known to be fastidious groomers, and licking their lips helps remove any food particles or debris that may be stuck between their teeth or gums. It is their way of maintaining oral hygiene.

Another reason for lip licking is to alleviate stress or anxiety. Dogs may feel uneasy or nervous before falling asleep, especially if they have had a particularly eventful day. Licking their lips can help calm them down and provide a sense of comfort, similar to how humans may bite their nails or fidget when feeling anxious.

Additionally, dogs may lick their lips as a way of signaling submission. Just like other signals such as avoiding eye contact or lowering their tails, lip licking can be a gesture of appeasement. If your dog feels insecure or wants to communicate their non-threatening intentions to you or other dogs, they may lick their lips as a way to defuse any potential tension.


1. Is it normal for dogs to lick their lips before sleeping?
Yes, it is a common behavior among dogs and is usually nothing to be concerned about.

2. Should I be worried if my dog excessively licks his lips before sleeping?
Excessive or obsessive lip licking could indicate an underlying medical condition or anxiety issue. If you notice this behavior persistently, it is best to consult with a veterinarian.

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3. Can lip licking be a sign of dehydration?
Yes, excessive lip licking can sometimes indicate dehydration. Ensure that your dog has access to fresh water at all times and consult a veterinarian if you suspect dehydration.

4. How can I help my dog if they are licking their lips due to stress or anxiety?
Creating a calm and secure environment for your dog can help alleviate stress. Consider using calming aids, such as a comfortable bed or soothing music, or consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

5. Are there other signs of stress or anxiety I should look out for?
Yes, other signs may include pacing, excessive panting, trembling, or hiding. If you notice any of these behaviors, it is important to address the underlying cause.

6. Can lip licking be a sign of a dental problem?
Yes, if your dog is experiencing dental issues such as gum disease or tooth decay, they may lick their lips more frequently. Regular dental check-ups are essential for maintaining your dog’s oral health.

7. Can I train my dog to stop licking their lips excessively?
Yes, with positive reinforcement training, you can redirect your dog’s behavior to more desirable actions. Seek guidance from a professional dog trainer for effective techniques.

In conclusion, dogs licking their lips before sleeping can have various reasons, including cleaning their mouths, alleviating stress, or signaling submission. While it is generally normal, excessive lip licking may require further attention. By understanding the reasons behind this behavior, you can ensure your dog’s well-being and provide them with the necessary support.

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