Why Do Dogs Flick Their Tongue?

Why Do Dogs Flick Their Tongue

Have you ever given your dog peanut butter and laughed at how incessantly it will lick its lips until there is not a speck left.

Some dogs exhibit this behavior even if they don’t have anything on their lips.

It is often a way for them to express how they are feeling.

They may even begin to lick objects or the floor.


The majority of the time when your dog is flicking their tongue it is to moisten their nose which can enhance their sense of smell. Other times it can be because something is stuck in their mouth that they are trying to dislodge.


All of these instances are normal for dogs, but it can quickly change to being a different kind of sign.

Problems arise when your dog is constantly flicking their tongue.

It changes from being a way to enhance their sense of smell to a plea for help.


Causes of Incessant Tongue Flicking

dog flicks tongue

  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • A signal of appeasement
  • Something is stuck in their mouth
  • Sign of pain
  • Bloating
  • Unpleasant taste
  • A serious health problem
  • Attention Seeking Behavior


Explanations and Examples

 Here are some more in-depth explanations of how these things could be causing your dog to flick their tongue more often.



Your dog will be attempting to wet their gums and nose to compensate for a lack of water.

It is always best to make sure your dog has access to a clean source of water throughout the day.



This could be caused because your dog ate something they shouldn’t have.

Your dog will also probably eat grass when this is the cause because the extra fiber will help quell their upset stomach.


A signal of appeasement

Lip licking is a sign that your dog wants to avoid confrontation.

It is done around other animals or even you the owner.

Tongue flicking or lip licking can be a sign that your dog is stressed, fearful, or anxious.



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Something is stuck in their mouth

This can be a toy that they chewed apart or a different object from around the house or yard.

Also, it could be a sign that your dog ate something like a seed that can work its way into your dog’s nasal passage instead of into their stomach.


Sign of Pain

Many dogs will yelp at sudden pains or whine if they have something stuck in their paw. Other dogs are more subtle and won’t vocally alert you that they are in pain. It is best to learn what your dog’s signals are and how to fix them.



Your dog may continuously flick its tongue if it is experiencing any gastrointestinal discomfort.

This will often be accompanied by excessive drooling, vomiting, or retching.

Bloat is a serious issue for dogs and can turn fatal very quickly.

If your dog might be experiencing bloat contact your vet as soon as possible.


Unpleasant Taste

A dogs’ main sense they rely on is its sense of smell and just like humans, its tongue plays a vital role in this.

They will often lick something that they are curious about and this can lead them to have an unpleasant taste on their tongue that they will try and remove by flicking it out or licking different objects.


A serious health problem

The main thing that could be causing this is a partial focal seizure.

Your dog will most likely be fully conscious and responsive but is constantly flicking its tongue or snapping its mouth.

Afterward, your dog may seem lethargic or depressed. If you notice these signs immediately contact your veterinarian.


Attention-Seeking Behavior

This is the last thing you to investigate when it comes to your dog’s tongue flicking.

Once you have ruled out all of the medical causes of it, this is most likely the answer.

Your dog has learned that it gets the attention it wants when it flicks its tongue.


Dogs That Are Prone to Tongue Flicking

puppy flick its tongue

There are no breeds of dogs that are more likely to flick their tongue or exhibit other similar tendencies.

Often time it will be dogs that are prone to being nervous or anxious.

Dogs that have recently experienced a form of trauma are more likely to flick their tongue or lick the air repeatedly.

It can be used as a way to self-soothe.

Dogs that are calm and confident will normally avoid tongue flicking since it is associated with being submissive.

So if your normally confident dog is acting differently, try and analyze the cause.


When You Should Contact Your Vet?

1. If you think your dog has eaten or come in contact with a toxic substance.

This can be a household cleaner or even a toad in the yard


2. Your dog has been consistently eating grass and vomiting.

If they do this once it is normal behavior if they are nauseous or having stomach behavior, but if it happens more than once contact your vet.


3. A recent uptick in tongue-flicking. Your dog is incessantly flicking its tongue or licking its lips.

Humans will often not notice how often their dog flicks its tongue until it becomes a problem.


4. If none of the reasons stated above seem to be the cause it is best to reach out to your veterinarian.


5. You notice your dog’s energy level has changed after experiencing an episode of near-constant tongue flicking.


Key Takeaways

Your dog uses their tongue for so many more things than people do.

They use them to wet their nose so that they can smell better.

They will also use them to explore their surrounding since taste is a much more important sense to them.


Finally, they could be flicking their tongue in response to their environment changing.

This could be because other animals and are making a submissive display to avoid confrontation.

It could also be caused by a change in their environment.


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A pet owner who loves to share useful facts and information about a variety of animals.