Dogs are always up to something, and as a dog parent, you get to notice and experience something or the other about your furry friend every day. But no matter how much you think you know about your pet, there are always some things that you’re not aware of. It’s not entirely your fault. That is why we are always here to help you out. Keep reading on to find out the reasons why your dog is probably smacking their lip in the middle of the night.
12 Reasons Why Dog a Smacks its Lips in the Middle of Night?
Have you ever woken up to your dog making some strange noises, and on inspecting, you figured that all this while they have been smacking their lips? You might wonder why dogs smack their lips most often at night. One of the primary reasons your dog might be smacking their lips at night is that their mouth is dry. However, there are many reasons that could possibly make your dog smack their lips at night. We are going to explore a few here.
#1. They Could be Hungry
Hunger pangs can be a significant reason, which can make your beloved pet smack their lips, even in the middle of the night. This happens especially when your dog is unwell, skipped the regular dinner, or has eaten lesser portions. This may make them hungry, and apart from low growling or wailing, you will notice that they will end up smacking their lips, accompanied by occasional drooling. This indicates that your furry friend needs some snack or treats to munch on, and they shall calm down once their belly is full.
#2. They Could be Thirsty
This could be a way your dog tells you at the dead of night that they are thirsty and would like you to fetch them some water. You can consider investing in a dog fountain that will ensure your dog has an ample supply of fresh drinking water day in and day out.
It could also be the opposite situation where excellent dog training has ensured that your dog is trying to signify something to you. Perhaps, the full bladder situation is getting him to whine at night. If your dog is whiny and trying to let you know that they need to go to the bathroom, you should be proud of yourself and pat yourself on the back for ensuring amazing dog training.
#3. They Could be Trying to Tell You Something
Dogs are highly social animals and have always tried to communicate with their owners. Especially, breeds like Huskies or Alaskan Malamutes are known for being loud and talkative. So, most dog breeds trying to integrate within the family, and smacking their lips, is a way of communicating with their owners. Dogs are often quirky, and they often learn and repeat certain actions, which denotes something to them. This learning phase depends on how you trained your dog. So, your dog may have to learn to smack their lips if they want to play fetch with you or to indicate that they have spotted your neighbor’s cat. So, depending on their individual ways of communication, they may also smack their lips while trying to tell you something important.
#4. They Could be Bored
Sometimes when dogs are bored, they like to seek attention, and would involve you in something they like doing. It could also be that your dog is used to being taken out for a walk at night, or it is expecting you to indulge in a fun activity. This is probably a way of seeking your attention and reminding you that it is time to take them out. In which case, you should try to stick to a regular walking/playing schedule so that your dog knows when to expect a walk.
#5. They Could be Anxious
You might be surprised to know that dogs feel almost all the emotions that a human being is capable of feeling and experiencing. In fact, this is why there are support dogs for patients suffering from serious medical conditions like autism or epilepsy. Similarly, dogs are also vulnerable to suffering and having anxiety themselves. They often suffer from abandonment that not only develops trust issues in them but also creates panic attacks. They are also able to understand the grimness of any situation, which can trigger anxiety attacks in them. Smacking their lips can be an indication of the same, and it is better to look out for them smacking their lips, especially at the dead of the night.
#6. They Could be in Pain
Smacking their lips does not always indicate temporary and everyday issues like hunger or thirst. Many dogs tend to communicate in their own way, and if you find your dog smacking its lips, especially at odd hours, like the middle of the night, this might indicate that they are not feeling well. This could be a way through which they try to inform you about the same. This smacking may also be accompanied by moanful wailing, and they try to raise their paws to gain your attention. Therefore, if you see such symptoms, immediately take your dog to your veterinarian.
#7. They Could be Experiencing an Allergic Reaction
Like us, dogs suffer from allergic reactions. Many dogs develop some kind of allergies from certain kinds of foods, especially fruits. Being unaware and you have fed something from your platter that causes allergic reactions, your dog will smack its lips. The food you have fed may be causing itching inside your dog’s mouth. If the pattern continues, consult your vet, who will be able to determine the source of the allergy, which you can then obliterate from their meals.
#8. They Could be Teething
Teething is one of the most important chapters in a dog’s life. They begin teething when they are around three weeks old, and they are initially uncomfortable with the teething process. Your cute puppy may initially fail to understand the whole process, and they try to bite and chew whatever they find in front of them. That’s why it is advised to keep toys for them, especially when they are teething. Apart from chewing, pups often smack their lips when they are teething. So, if you find your pups smacking their lips, be sure that they are not hungry. Just give them something to chew on, and it shall soothe them down.
#9. They could have something caught in their teeth
There is a possibility that your dog ate right before going to bed, and something got stuck on to their teeth. This is not such a major issue, but if a fibrous meal gets stuck between your dog’s teeth, it could become irritating. Despite many efforts, when dogs find it hard to get rid of the food or what they ate at night, they tend to lick their lips and teeth; they could be found smacking their lips.
#10. They Could be Dreaming
Dogs tend to dream and are just like us. You shall be easily able to understand when they are dreaming as they tend to move or shake in their sleep. Apart from that, pups or even adult dogs may smack their lips in their dreams. They may also drool along with smacking. If you find your dog smacking their lips in their dreams, lightly wake them up, and they shall stop doing so.
#11. They Could Have a Medical Condition
Dogs always try to communicate with their owners, especially if they face any physical discomfort. Lip-smacking could be a sign that your dog is not feeling well and maybe experiencing some sort of gastrointestinal issue. If your dog is making unusual noises in the middle of the night, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any potential health concerns.
You May Also Read: 8 Dog Licking Paws Remedies To Try At Home
#12. They Could be Seeking Comfort or Trying to Self-Soothe
Every dog is unique, and they develop their habits according to the nature of their parents and the kind of environment they grow up in. Not all dogs have the opportunity to live with their human owners throughout their lives. So, if the owners are a working couple, dogs tend to develop a habit of soothing themselves down to sleep when in distress. The physical sign of this can often be lip-smacking. So, if your dog is smacking its lips, it may imply that it is trying to comfort or soothe itself against some discomfort that it is currently experiencing.
Is it Harmful to Dogs if They Smack Their Lips at Night?
However, if your dog is smacking its lips excessively or for long periods, it could be a sign of a more serious underlying medical condition. If you’re concerned about your dog’s lip-smacking, it’s best to take it to the vet for a quick check-up and be aware of the reason why your dog was licking their lips unusually.
What can I do to stop My dog from smacking its Lips at Night?
There’s no hard and fast rule or a laid technique to keep a dog from licking its lips in the middle of the night. If you believe your dog’s lip-smacking is caused by anxiety or stress, there are a few things you may do to help him relax. Play some soothing music or give your dog a chew toy. You can also use positive reinforcement to teach your dog to equate smacking lips with something on a positive note.
The Final Verdict
As dog parents, we tend to worry a lot about dogs’ little problems. Most of the time, these problems can be avoided without a second thought, but in some cases, it is important to take immediate action. Dogs have a tendency to give and take love, and they avoid creating unnecessary havoc: that too in the middle of the night. So, you can measure the seriousness of the situation and act upon it accordingly. Hope you enjoyed reading about dogs and their lip-smacking and would find it helpful the next time.
Hi, I’m Walter,
I live in Oklahoma City, USA, and have extensive dog caring and grooming expertise. In addition, I provide dog training tips and tricks through my blogs in Canine Weekly. I have a Dog Behavior and Training diploma and have previously worked as a Dog Trainer at ROC Animal Training and Behavior and Tip Top K9 of OKC Dog Training.
Apart from writing on Canine Weekly, I share my views on Twitter and Linkedin.