Dog Constantly Swallows And Smacks His Lips: 5 Dangerous Causes

The fact that a dog constantly licks, swallows or smacks its snout is not always just a sign that it was allowed to eat liverwurst.

It can also be a serious sign of stress or your dog may have Licky Fits Syndrome.

In this article you will find out how you differentiate between these and what your dog needs if he is constantly munching and swallowing.

In a nutshell: Why does my dog ​​swallow, smack and lick so much?

If your dog is constantly smacking his lips and swallowing loudly, this can indicate serious health problems. Dogs in particular can only show pain through such stress symptoms.

But serious problems of the gastrointestinal tract from poisoning to stomach torsion can also trigger licking if the dog feels sick or even tries to vomit.

5 reasons why your dog has to swallow all the time

In the most harmless case, the fact that your dog smacks his lips can only be a sign of boredom.

However, if the behavior persists or you can’t get him out of it with a distraction, it’s worth taking a closer look.

1. Poisoning

When dogs eat substances that are toxic to them, they produce a lot of saliva to flush them out. This is often associated with choking and vomiting.

The increased saliva automatically ensures that your dog constantly swallows, smacks his lips and licks his snout.

2. Gastrointestinal complaints

Nausea and vomiting can also indicate gastrointestinal problems. Your dog will salivate excessively to either prevent or encourage vomiting.

Here, too, this salivation ensures swallowing, licking and smacking.

Dogs cannot directly indicate pain in the abdominal tract. He shows his stress with loud, fast panting and a lot of licking.

3. Heartburn

Heartburn occurs when the contents of the stomach run back up into the esophagus and cause minor injuries from the stomach acid.

In dogs, this is usually associated with regurgitation of white mucus and profuse salivation.

Staying hydrated is very important for dogs with heartburn. They need to be treated by the vet, as only drug therapy is effective against heartburn.

4. Licky Fits Syndrome

With Licky Fits Syndrome, your dog is constantly swallowing and gagging with profuse salivation. He is restless or even panicky and starts licking floors and walls. He usually eats uncontrollably and frantically.

The causes vary, but are usually due to a gastrointestinal problem. Over- or under-production of gastric acid, reflux or poor diet disrupt the digestive process and cause belching or nausea.

Licky Fits Syndrome can also occur as a side effect of medication. Then it usually subsides when the medicine is stopped.

If you have any signs of Licky Fits Syndrome, you should definitely see a vet. Because in the worst case, it can indicate an incipient torsion of the stomach.

5. Toothache

Toothache occurs when gums become inflamed, teeth break off, foreign objects get caught in the gums, or tartar builds up.

Your dog tries to locate and relieve this pain through touch. Then he licks his snout and is restless. He salivates a lot and probably won’t eat anymore.

You can recognize dental problems by reddened and swollen gums and changed bad breath.


Be careful, because if the pain is severe, your dog can also react aggressively to touching the mouth.

When do I have to go to the vet?

If your dog is showing severe pain or is licking, munching, and swallowing excessively, a visit to the vet is advisable. Even if you don’t interrupt your dog’s swallowing and munching when you distract him is a worrying sign.

In the worst case, the symptoms can indicate the onset of gastric torsion. Then you need an emergency appointment with your vet.

How can I support my dog?

When your dog swallows and eats grass, he is trying to solve his stomach problems himself. You can allow this in moderation, but it should not get out of hand.

You can remove foreign bodies in the mouth such as splinters or leftover food yourself with long tweezers. But make sure that you don’t hurt your dog and, if in doubt, let your vet do it for you.

Firm chewing toys and regular tooth cleaning can help against dental problems. You can get tips on dental hygiene from your veterinarian.

If the smacking and licking is caused by problematic feeding, dividing the food into several smaller portions is often very helpful. As a result, less air is swallowed even when rolling.


Dogs lick their snouts when they are stressed. So it’s a serious sign if your dog keeps gulping or munching and yawning.

Even if it is sometimes just a harmless quirk if your dog smacks and swallows a lot, you should make sure that the cause has been clarified by a veterinarian.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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