Why is my dog is salivating and licking at her mouth?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra, I have a 4-year-old Labrador Retriever. It appears she has been overly salivating (she constantly is licking her mouth). Also, her nose is room temp to the touch…. I don't know if this is an old wives' tale about the nose thing but I thought I would mention it. Her breathing seems a bit quicker than normal, not laboring though.


Stephanie Steitz


Hi – thanks for your email Stephanie. You wrote that your Labrador retriever is hyper-salivating and licking at her mouth. Without examining her, I can't tell you for sure what is going on but I'll give you my thoughts.

The most common reason dogs lick at their mouths combined with hypersalivating is nausea. Most dogs that are nauseated will drool then lick at their mouths before they vomit.

Other reasons dogs may acutely start licking their mouths is due to a bad or loose tooth, a funny taste in their mouth (such as they licked something that tastes different), or they have something caught in their mouth (such as a bone or stick). When they have something caught in their mouths – they often paw at their mouths as well.

Dogs will also drool if they lick something they shouldn't, have a bad tooth or have something caught in their mouths.

My best guess is your dog is nauseated. The next question is…why?

An article that might be helpful to you is Vomiting in Dogs.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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