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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 14865
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Why is my dog constantly licking his lips for past several hours?

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My dog has been constantly licking his lips for the past several hours. Otherwise he is acting normally (ate dinner and evening treats, drank normal amount of water, eliminated normally on evening walk).

Dr Kara :

Hello, I'm sorry to hear about your pup.

Lip licking can indicate nausea. It can also indicate nervousness or something caught in the mouth, especially across the hard palate on the top of the mouth or between teeth.

JACUSTOMER-zdupfs4a- :

Ok - I've tried checking the top of his mouth and do not feel anything. Am going to try to look at it with a mirror.

Dr Kara :

Ok, sometimes it can even be a splinter of something caught between the teeth or lodged in the gums.
Because Jazz is eating well, nausea is less likely but still possible. To ease nausea and stomach irritation, you can give him acid reducers - either:
1) Pepcid-ac (famotidine) at one 10mg tab per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 12 hours
OR

2) Prilosec (omeprazole) at one 10mg tab per 20 to 40 pounds of body weight every 24 hours.
Both are quite safe and can be used for several days if need be. If he improves then you know his lip licking is likely related to nausea.

JACUSTOMER-zdupfs4a- :

Wouldn't the nausea cause him to vomit. He is reacting positively to some of the normal calming activities I use with him.

Dr Kara :

Not necessarily. If he just has some reflux he'll just feel like he has to repeatedly swallow, it depends upon how bad the nausea is.

But because he is eating well, a foreign body is high on my suspicion list. They can be really hard to find in an awake dog. They can be up under his soft palate too, in his pharynx which he won't let you see as it would gag an awake dog.

JACUSTOMER-zdupfs4a- :

Ok - thank you for your responses. He seems to have calmed down at this point, and I think I'll just continue with the calming tricks as needed. He's currently at the peak of his spring shed cycle, and I did leave for a bit late this afternoon - wonder if he has some of his own hair stuck in his mouth; would assume that would not be a choke risk, but could you confirm, please. He's now dozed off, and I think I'm going to let things be rather than wake him with any more poking and prodding.

Dr Kara :

That sounds like a good plan, and yes you are absolutely right that a chunk of hair could cause these symptoms.
No worries about a choking hazard, he would be constantly coughing, gagging and his color would be poor with a true choking hazard. This sounds more like an irritant.

JACUSTOMER-zdupfs4a- :

Again - thank you for your time.

Dr Kara :

By poor color I mean blue or grey gums (mucous membranes) because of poor oxygenation.

Very welcome, best of luck with your fellow.

Thank you.

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