Dog Mouth Quivers After Licking? [Bizarre Truths]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Remember that time your fur-baby spent an odd moment quivering after a good lick session? Did it have you momentarily concerned?

It’s a curious behavior indeed, and as a devoted dog parent, it’s natural to fret over these small anomalous behaviors.

Let’s uncover the reasons behind this behavior and learn how you can deal with it the right way.

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Why Do Dogs Mouths Quiver After Licking Themselves? 7 Possible Reasons

Why Do Dogs Mouths Quiver After Licking Themselves

When dogs finish grooming themselves, you may notice their mouths quivering.

What could be causing this?

Let’s find out the reasons here.

1. Flehmen response

Dogs have a specialized behavior called the Flehmen response.

This can be seen when they curl back their upper lips and inhale deeply after licking themselves. 

What this behavior does is help them direct scents to a specialized organ in their mouths called Jacobson’s organ.

This body part helps them gather more information about the scent they are investigating.

So, if you see your pet’s lip curling back, it could just be because they’re trying to learn more about the new scent they’ve acquired.

2. Nervous system stimulation

Licking can stimulate the nerves in a dog’s mouth.

This stimulation can be pleasurable for some dogs and may result in a quivering response.

3. Tasting or savoring residual flavors

Dogs have a keen sense of taste, and after licking themselves, they may experience lingering flavors on their tongues. 

The quivering could be a way for them to savor or process these tastes.

4. Cleaning and grooming behavior

Our furry pals are natural groomers, and licking is a part of their cleaning routine. 

The quivering could be a result of their meticulous grooming efforts, helping them clean their fur or remove dirt and debris from their bodies.

5. Itch relief

Dogs may lick certain areas of their bodies to alleviate itching or irritation. 

The quivering mouth could be a response to the relief they experience from the act of licking.

Much like what you feel when you’re able to successfully scratch an itch.

6. Dislodging debris or foreign objects

Sometimes, dogs lick themselves to dislodge foreign objects, such as food particles or small debris, from their fur or skin. 

The quivering mouth could be a way to help shake off these objects.

7. Instinctual behavior

Licking is a natural behavior for dogs, rooted in their instincts and what they observe other dogs do. 

The quivering mouth after licking might be a residual response that reflects their innate behaviors and social doggy cues.

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Should I Be Worried About This Behavior?

In most cases, occasional mouth quivering after licking is not something to worry about.

It’s often a normal behavior that dogs display for various reasons. 

However, if the quivering is accompanied by excessive drooling, struggling to eat or drink, or showing a loss of appetite, you might need to give your pet’s vet a call. 

These symptoms are not typical and may indicate more serious health issues that require professional attention.

Does Lip Licking Always Mean a Dog is Nervous?

No, the act of licking their lips doesn’t automatically mean that your pet is nervous. Your furry pal may lick their lips for other reasons besides anxiety. 

They may do so to clean their mouths, alleviate dryness, or even as a way of communicating with their humans or other dogs. 

It’s important to check the situation and your pet’s body language to find out the actual reason for the behavior. 

For example, if your pet is in a tense situation, like being approached by a strange dog, lip licking along with other signs like a lowered body posture or pinned ears can indicate nervousness.

On the other hand, if a dog is relaxed, actively engaged in a pleasant activity, or has just finished eating, lip licking may simply be a way to clean their mouth.

How to Calm a Nervous Dog?

If the lip licking and mouth quivering your furry pal exhibits is a result of being nervous, here are some tips you can try to calm them down.

First, create a safe space where your pet can retreat whenever they feel anxious. It has to be quiet and away from the bustle of the household.

Add a comfortable bed, their favorite toy, and some soothing music in the background to make the environment truly calming.

It will also help if you stick to a routine. Dogs thrive in having a consistent daily schedule for feeding, exercise, and rest.

Always reward relaxed behavior with praise, treats, or gentle petting. Avoid scolding your nervous pet as this can make the anxiety worse.

Work on desensitizing them to the things that trigger the anxiety. Low-intensity and gradual exposure is the key. Don’t forget to reward them for calm behavior.

Don’t underestimate the effects of mental and physical stimulation. Tire them out physically and give them activities that challenge their minds.

Sufficient stimulation allows your pet to burn off the excess nervous energy and leaves them in a more relaxed state.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why does my dog keep licking and twitching?

Dogs may lick and twitch due to various reasons, including dehydration, allergies, skin irritation, anxiety, or even as a grooming behavior. It’s best to observe their overall health and behavior and consult with a veterinarian to determine the actual cause of the licking and twitching.

Why does my dog’s mouth quiver after licking blood?

A dog’s mouth may quiver after licking blood due to the taste, texture, or smell of the blood. It can also be a response to the stimulation of taste buds or the nervous system. It could also be because their hunting instinct has gotten triggered, causing them to be excited.

Why do male dogs’ mouths quiver after licking a female dog?

Male dogs’ mouths may quiver after licking a female dog due to pheromone detection. This behavior is often related to mating instincts and could be a sign that the male dog is getting excited over the possibility of mating.

Why does my dog’s mouth quiver after smelling something?

A dog’s mouth may quiver after smelling something due to a combination of factors, including stimulation of their senses, excitement, or anticipation. Dogs have highly sensitive noses, and the quivering can be their normal response to an interesting scent.

In Conclusion: Dog Mouth Quivers After Licking?

So, whether it’s heightened senses or some tasty treat that causes your puppy’s mouth to quiver, remember it’s all part of their charming canine biology.

What’s most important is that you also learned how to calm a nervous dog too, which might come in very handy one fine day!

Learn more about other dog behaviors here too:

You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

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