My Dachshund, a spayed female, 16 months old, is exhibiting a behavior that I wonder at. Our previous dog, a Labrador/Doberman mix, never did it, as far as we can recall (we had him his whole life, 17years.)

Most of the time, she keeps her mouth shut (barring tasting, biting, eating, etc.) But every once and a while, it's like she gets a dry mouth. She'll start smacking her lips, and licking them. It's not too much saliva, as she doesn't drool at all. We try to put her next to her water dishes, but most of the time she doesn't drink. She did this behavior again last night, and promptly up-chucked a nice pile.

We just had her at the vet, for an all day comprehensive check up and vaccination update. They didn't notice anything, so she either didn't do it, or they didn't think it was worth mentioning. (My wife dropped her off and picked her up, and I forgot to ask her to ask them.)

Does anyone know why she might be doing this? Or know if it is "normal" behavior in a very vertically-challenged dog?

3 Answers 3


Like rlb.usa, I think it might be a appeasing behavior. Better known as calming signals, this array of signs (from licking lips to yawning) are used by dogs to convey concern or try to calm other dogs or humans.

You may notice a dog licking his chops when approaching another dog, or when things are moving quickly (dogs take most things moving fast as a threat). When you notice your dog performing a calming signal, try to see if there is anything nearby that could be threatening or concerning to your dog. Also, you said that he threw up soon after performing this action. This could also be a sign of stress. My dog throws up sometimes when she is stressed.

Try seeing a dog trainer about it. Sometimes it is a behavior that can be corrected if you find what is stressing your fluff ball out. Some dogs go through fear periods, especially puppies. So it may be something that goes away after a few weeks. Keep in mind, I am not saying that this is definitely nervous behavior, but I am saying that it could well be.

For more information about calming signals, see this pdf.


Licking the lips is also an appeasing behavior in dogs, so I wonder if she's doing it more because she notices you are worried and wants you to be happy, instead.


It sounds different from what you're describing, but when my dog smacks her lips, it invariably means that she was chewing on something - usually plastic, rubber, or wood - and got a piece wedged between her front teeth. The smacking is her way of trying to get the object out of her teeth.

I doubt that this is what's going on with your dog, but I figured that it was worth a shot.

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