Why Your Dog Constantly Swallows Saliva and Licks His Lips

A dog that is constantly licking his lips and swallowing most often has some type of medical issue going on. It’s not always a serious situation however, but it can be concerning to watch. If you’ve noticed your dog displaying this behavior, you might want to learn about the most common reasons why this is happening. There are also some things you can do if you notice your dog continuing the swallowing and licking.

1. Your Dog May Have Dental Problems

Several different dental issues might present itself by causing your dog to constantly swallow. Dental issues such as an abscess or tumor could be behind your dog constantly swallowing. Other issues such as burns inside of the mouth, often due to biting on something with an electrical current, also might be to blame.

Gum disease or gingivitis could explain the symptoms, especially if there is a build up of plaque or tartar and inflammation around the gums. There could also be neurological disorders going on or it could be an upper-respiratory infection causing issues. Foreign bodies within the mouth or in the throat could cause these symptoms, which could include ingesting a piece of a poisonous plant or a sharp object.

2. Your Dog is Suffering from Nausea

If you have ever been nauseous before, then you know that wet feeling you get in your mouth where you just want to keep swallowing to make it go away. Your dog might be swallowing often and licking his lips because he’s about to throw up and is nauseous.

Most content in the stomach is acidic and the acidity could damage not only the esophagus, but also the mouth and teeth. The production of excessive saliva is important to help dilute the content of the stomach that is about to come back up. This is why you will see your dog swallowing a lot, because there is excessive saliva due to simple nausea.

3. Your Dog Has Ptyalism

If your dog is licking his lips excessively and swallowing, it could be the result of ptyalism. You’ve probably heard of this before as the simple term hypersalivation. This is when there is just excessive saliva flowing,and there can be many medical reasons for ptyalism to occur. Central nervous system disorders or oral cavity disorders can cause this excessive flow of saliva. It could be stomach, pharynx, or esophageal diseases or disorders causing the problem.

There are also several physical malformations in dogs that could lead to an appearance of ptyalism, such as an abnormality with the mouth or jaw area. This condition can also happen as a result of ingesting a foreign body or something toxic.

What to Do if Dog Keeps Swallowing?

You should pay close attention if your dog keeps swallowing and licking his lips to see if there is a specific environmental trigger causing this behavior. A dog could do this if they feel threatened or cornered, such as by a small child. Sometimes your dog will do this behavior, throw up, and then be perfectly fine without other instances of excessive swallowing.

If you are unaware of any issues in the environment causing the excessive swallowing, then you should take your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you can. A complete workup will happen where the veterinarian looks at the mouth, gums, teeth, and throat to see if something is going on.

The veterinarian will want to get a lot of information from you, such as vaccine history, any possibility of toxin exposure, how long this has been going on, among many other pieces of information.

Disclaimer: The content on MyPetChild.com is for informational purpose only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian when in doubt.
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  1. Tara Mizell July 28, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    My dog eats grass about every other day and he swallows all the time and I’m just worried

  2. Tara Mizell July 28, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    My dog eats grass quite often and he swallows extra and I’m just worried about him

  3. Tara Mizell July 28, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    My dog won’t eat dog food he only eats dog bones he will not eat no dry dog food or wet dog food

  4. Carol Harris September 27, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    My dog keeps swolling all the while she has been doing this for a very long time I am so worried about her sometimes she so tired she could do with someone looking down her throat why she a sleep but this can cost a lot of money which I can’t afford

    • B Davies October 27, 2021 at 11:14 am

      If you can’t afford to look after your dog and take him/her to the vets when needed you should consider giving them up for adoption. Most vets don’t charge for a checkup- its only if they administer something you might be charged and even then they will work with you to come up with a payment plan. Don’t let your dog suffer- call your vet.

      • Mike Ash May 26, 2022 at 12:36 pm

        B Davies, that was an incredibly rude and insensitive answer. Someone came here looking for advice because they’re concerned about their pet and you can only respond by insinuating that they can’t look after their pet. I don’t know where you live but in the U.K. (where she lives – since she mentions pounds), you have to pay for check ups. Even routine ones can cost £70 which is around USD90. So maybe consider answering the question rather than pontificating.

  5. mrs c harris March 2, 2022 at 11:18 pm

    how dare you i can look after my dog i have took her to the vets a lot of times but they dont have the items they that they have to use i have had all this explained to me it will cost over 3000 poundsand i cant take insurance out because of her health issues the cheek telling me to give my dog up for adoption i look after her more then myself and i do not let her suffer

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