Why Does My Dog Keep Licking And Gagging?

Your dog can lick and gag without any warning.

You might notice this behavior after an accident occurs, but there are other times when your dog will suddenly start doing this.

In some cases, though, the reason behind the behavior may not be clear.

Licking and gagging in dogs is a normal behavioral response to certain situations.

However, if your dog is persistently licking and gagging, it’s best to take them to the vet so that they can determine what’s causing the problem.

In most cases, the cause of the behavior is easy to find.

For example, if your dog is gagging because they have eaten something bad, then it’s likely that they ate something that caused an allergic reaction.

The same goes for if your dog is vomiting or has diarrhea, as well as if they are experiencing an ear infection.

However, there are other potential causes of your dog lapping and gagging that aren’t obvious.

These include:

  • Dogs that are lactose intolerant may experience gastrointestinal (GI) distress when they eat dairy products.
  • Some dogs are prone to salivation, and this can lead to drooling.
  • If your dog is experiencing respiratory discomfort, they may also develop a gag reflex.
  • Some dogs may experience anxiety when they encounter unfamiliar people or new environments.
  • Dogs that exhibit barking or howling behaviors might also lick and gag.

The following sections explain these possible causes in detail.

Why Does My Dog Keep Licking And Gagging

Possible causes of your dog licking and gagging

As mentioned above, there are many possible causes for your dog to lick and gag.

Here are some of the most common ones:

Food poisoning

If your dog has eaten food that was contaminated with bacteria, parasites, or mold, then they could have developed food poisoning (or toxicosis).

This type of illness is quite serious and can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or even death if left untreated.

If your dog is exhibiting these symptoms, contact your vet immediately!

Eating too much

It’s possible that your dog is eating more than they should.

In fact, dogs who eat too much can experience weight loss, lethargy, and vomiting.

If your dog is showing signs of this, talk to your vet about how to manage this situation.

Nausea

Not all dogs love going on walks.

They often prefer to stay inside and snuggle up on the couch.

However, sometimes your dog will feel nauseous while walking.

This can happen because of a number of reasons including motion sickness, overheating, or heartburn.

If your dog is feeling sick while on a walk, consult your vet right away.

A stomach bug is one of the worst things that can happen to your pet.

You don’t want to wait until your dog becomes ill before seeking veterinary care.

Sick people

If your dog is acting strangely around people, especially children, then you need to speak to your doctor about it.

Dogs pick up on emotions like anxiety, fear, and stress just as easily as we do.

This means that your dog might act differently around certain types of people.

Ticks

Dogs can contract Lyme disease from ticks.

The disease can be transmitted through tick bites, so it’s important to check yourself and your pets for ticks regularly.

If your dog starts scratching themselves, you should also check yourselves for ticks.

If you find any ticks on your body, remove them with tweezers or a pair of fine-tipped tweezers.

Allergies

Some dogs develop allergies to certain foods.

These allergies are usually caused by exposure to a foreign protein in the diet, such as wheat or dairy products.

If your dog develops an allergy, they’ll start acting strange around food.

They’ll become aggressive toward food and refuse to eat it.

Choking hazards

Most dogs can choke on small objects.

For example, if your dog doesn’t eat properly, they could swallow a toy or bone.

This happens when the object gets stuck in the throat instead of being passed into the esophagus.

If this happens, your dog will start choking and they’ll turn blue.

Your veterinarian can perform a procedure known as gastric lavage to clean out the swallowed object.

When to seek professional help

If your dog is licking and gagging for no apparent reason, you should consider taking them to the vet for a checkup.

This is especially true if you have noticed any changes in their behavior recently.

For example, if your dog has been acting more aggressive than usual, or if they’ve started showing signs of aggression toward other dogs, this could be an indication of a problem.

If you’re certain that your dog’s licking and gagging is due to illness or injury, don’t hesitate to bring them in right away.

The sooner you see a veterinarian, the better chance you’ll have at getting the treatment they need.

How to stop your dog from licking and gagging

If your dog has started licking and gagging, it’s important to understand what is happening so that you can properly treat the problem.

The following are signs that your dog might have a serious health issue that needs immediate attention by a veterinarian.

  • Licking and gagging when they do not normally do so.
  • Licking and gagging when they are eating.
  • Licking and gagging when they are drinking.

In addition to these symptoms, if your dog starts licking and gagging in a pattern that does not seem normal, then you should contact your vet immediately.

This includes if your dog licks and gags while sleeping, wakes up with a sore throat, vomits, or has a fever.

What to look for at home

At home, you can try several methods to determine whether your dog is having problems that need medical attention.

Tickling

A tickling sensation on the inside of your dog’s nose and mouth can indicate that your pet has swallowed food or liquid that was too hot.

A tickling sensation can also occur if your dog swallows something sharp or a piece of paper.

Bleeding

If you see blood coming out of your dog’s nose or mouth, or if you notice a rash around their nose or mouth, it could mean that your dog has injured themselves.

Soreness

If you notice that your dog is constantly licking and gagging, especially when they eat, drink, or sleep, it could be due to irritation from foreign objects in their stomach.

If this happens regularly, you should make sure that your dog has had a thorough checkup to ensure that nothing is obstructing their digestive tract.

Vomiting

If your dog starts vomiting repeatedly, it could be due to a blocked esophagus, which is usually caused by something irritating the inner lining of the dog’s throat.

You should consult your vet immediately if you observe this behavior.

Home remedies for your dog

If your dog keeps licking and gagging, they may be in pain.

You should never ignore the signs of a problem.

However, if you are unsure whether or not your dog is actually in pain, you can try some home remedies to reduce discomfort.

  • Gargling with water will help loosen up any food stuck in your dogs throat. This is especially helpful if your dog is eating too fast.
  • Holding ice cubes under your dog’s tongue may also provide relief. Just make sure to avoid putting ice directly on your dog’s skin, as this can cause burns.
  • If you have a cat, consider giving your dog an anti-inflammatory like Benadryl or ibuprofen. These medications will help with inflammation and pain.
  • Do not give your dog anything sweet until they have been examined by a vet.
  • If your dog has eaten something that causes them to gag, hold them down on the floor so they cannot move around. Once they calm down, let them go back to normal activities.
  • If your dog is vomiting or having diarrhea, do not allow them access to food for several hours. They need time to recover before eating again.

When to see the vet

If your dog has been repeatedly licking and gagging during the last month or so, then it’s time to have them checked by a veterinarian.

This type of behavior is usually a sign of illness, injury, or discomfort.

In most cases, however, there is no need to panic.

Your dog may just have a little stomach upset, which can happen if they eat something foreign or if they’ve consumed too much water.

You should also keep in mind that dogs don’t always show signs of pain, so if they aren’t vomiting or showing any other signs of discomfort, then you shouldn’t worry about it.

The following are some common causes of your dog licking and gagging:

  • Dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Foreign object stuck in throat
  • Vomiting
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heartworms

What to do if your dog is licking and gagging

There are a number of things you can try at home to help your dog feel better.

One of these methods involves giving them some water mixed with lemon juice.

Another method is to give them some chicken broth.

These two remedies will help hydrate your dog and make them feel more comfortable.

If your dog isn’t drinking anything, then you should put them on a feeding schedule.

Try feeding them every two hours over the course of the day.

You can also offer them small pieces of food while they are eating.

When they finish eating, wipe their lips clean using a wet towel.

Conclusion

In most cases, if your dog is licking and gagging, it’s because there is something in their mouth.

However, there are other possible causes for this behavior.

Licking and gagging due to pain

If your dog is repeatedly licking and gagging, it could mean that they are in extreme pain.

This could be the result of an injury or infection from the inside of their mouth.

If you suspect this is the case, contact your veterinarian immediately.

He or she can perform various tests to determine what is causing the pain.

These include x-rays or blood work to see if there are any infections present.

Licking and gagging due to anxiety

It’s also possible that your dog is constantly licking and gagging because of anxiety.

Anxiety can cause a lot of different behaviors, including biting and urinating on things.

Your dog’s anxiety could be linked to a specific situation, such as going into a new environment, or it could be caused by something else entirely.

If this is the case, it’s important to talk with your vet about how to address these issues so that your dog feels comfortable around you.

If you think your dog is anxious, try to pinpoint exactly what triggers it.

You can do this by talking to your dog and asking questions like “What makes you feel the most anxious?”

Once you have a good idea of what causes your dog’s anxiety, you’ll be able to help them overcome it.

Licking and gagging due to gastrointestinal problems

Another possibility is that your dog is licking and gagging because of an internal problem.

For example, they could have a stomach blockage or a hernia.

If this is the case, your vet should be able to diagnose the issue quickly.

Licking and gagging due to food poisoning

Food poisoning can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

The vomiting and diarrhea can cause your dog to keep licking and gagging.

Sometimes, though, the vomiting and diarrhea happen separately.

If this is the case, your dog will need to go through both processes before he or she stops licking and gagging.

They should also go to the vet if they are still lapping up water even after several days of vomiting and diarrhea.

Licking and gagging due to a foreign object in their throat

Sometimes, your dog will experience vomiting and diarrhea at the same time.

If this happens, they will likely continue to lick and gag until the foreign object falls out of their throat.

If you don’t remove the object yourself, your vet will need to do it during surgery.

If this is the case, make sure that your vet knows about the object before they go ahead with the procedure.

Licking and gagging due to dehydration

Dehydration can cause a number of symptoms, including lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea.

When your dog experiences all three of these symptoms together, they will often lick and gag.

If this is the case, your vet will need to hydrate your dog to stop them from licking and gagging.

Licking and gagging due to a medical condition

There are a number of different medical conditions that can cause your dog to lick and gag.

Some of these include cancer, diabetes, and kidney failure.

If your dog has one of these diseases, it’s best to visit a vet right away to prevent further complications.

The following list includes just a few of the many medical conditions that can cause your dog to lick and gag.

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart disease
  • Hernia
  • Anxiety

Introduction

Dogs have been around for more than 10,000 years.

They were domesticated by humans in order to help with hunting and protecting their homes.

Dogs also became our best friends because we love to spend time with them.

We enjoy playing games with them, making them laugh, and providing them with affection.

However, dogs can also do things that make us cringe.

For example, dogs like to chew on everything they see.

This includes shoes, clothing, and even furniture.

Some dogs also like to bite people when they become excited.

It’s important to understand how dogs behave so that we can avoid behaviors that make us cringe.

In addition, we should know what we can do if our dog exhibits these behaviors.

Possible causes of your dog licking and gagging

There are several possible causes for your dog licking and gagging.

You should never assume that your dog is just being playful or mischievous if they’re constantly licking and gagging.

The following are some of the most common causes for your dog licking and gagging:

They’re in distress

If your dog is in distress, they may be exhibiting signs such as vomiting, having diarrhea, or even urinating on themselves.

These behaviors are common in dogs who have been bitten by another animal, or who have been attacked by a predator.

They’ll also do these things if they’ve ingested something toxic like antifreeze, household cleaners, or pesticides.

They’re stressed

Dogs who are stressed will exhibit a wide range of different behaviors including drooling, pacing, salivating, and chewing their paws.

Your dog could be stressed because of loud noises, strange smells, or even being left alone for long periods of time.

They’re hungry

If your dog has recently eaten, they may feel sick, and will often try to vomit or lick their lips.

This is especially common in puppies, since they haven’t developed the ability to control their bowels yet.

They’re ill

If your dog is showing any symptoms of illness, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or lethargy, they may also lick and gag.

Sometimes, they’ll do this to indicate that they need your attention, or to warn you about something that’s going on inside their body.

They’re teething

Dogs who are teething will often chew on their teeth, which can lead to painful irritation around their mouths and jaws.

They may also experience difficulty breathing, which could cause them to gag or cough.

In extreme cases, they may even choke on their own saliva.

They’re dehydrated

Sometimes, a dog’s tongue will become coated with dried saliva, which can make it difficult for them to swallow food.

If your dog isn’t drinking enough water, they may begin to lick their tongues, which can lead to discomfort and pain.

They’re bored

Dogs who are bored will often display several different behaviors, including whining, circling, pacing, and chewing their paws.

If you leave your dog alone for too long, they may start licking and gagging because they’re bored.

They’re excited

If your dog is getting ready to go outside, they may lick and gag to mask their excitement.

They may also lick and gag if they’re feeling anxious.

If your dog is in heat, they may also lick and gag to mark territory.

They’re upset

Dogs who are upset will often pace back and forth, whine, or bark at nothing in particular.

If your dog is in a situation where they’re uncomfortable, they may lick and gag to calm themselves down.

They’re tired

A tired dog will often yawn, stretch, and lick their lips.

They may also lick and gag when they’re sleeping, which is usually accompanied by rapid eye movement (REM), or dreaming.

When to seek professional help

If your dog is frequently licking and gagging, or if you have noticed a sudden change in behavior, it’s time to talk with your vet about what might be causing this.

There are many possible causes for a dog to keep licking and gagging.

Some of these include digestive problems, dental issues, ear infections, and more.

The good news is that most of these conditions are easily treated by your veterinarian.

The following are common causes of dogs licking and gagging.

  • Dogs who eat too much food or drink large amounts of water often develop stomach bloating. This can lead to vomiting and excessive gas production, which leads to frequent bouts of licking and gagging.
  • Some dogs have sensitive teeth. They might be prone to developing tooth decay due to eating hard foods like bones. When a dog eats something that has been damaged or chewed up, it can cause irritation inside their mouth. This irritation can result in a dog licking and gagging.
  • Ear infections can also contribute to a dog licking and gagging. Dogs typically lick their ears before grooming themselves because it helps them clean their ears. However, they sometimes do this when they’re nervous or anxious. Ear infections can also make it difficult for your dog to breathe properly. This can make them feel nauseous or even vomit.
  • In rare instances, your dog might have an allergy to certain foods. Licking and gagging is one way a dog can let you know if they have an allergy to a particular food.

What to do if your dog licks and gags

If you suspect that your dog is suffering from one of the above-mentioned conditions, it’s important to see your vet as soon as possible.

Your vet can perform tests and procedures to determine exactly what your dog needs.

Once the problem is identified, your vet can prescribe medication to treat it.

Treatment for each condition varies depending on the specific symptoms your dog experiences.

If you don’t visit your vet regularly or if you wait until the issue becomes severe, your pet could suffer serious health complications.

How to stop your dog from licking and gagging

If your dog starts licking and/or gagging repeatedly, it’s important to seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

A serious condition, such as food poisoning, can cause vomiting and diarrhea, which often leads to dehydration.

This can result in kidney failure, brain damage, or even death if left untreated.

The same goes for dogs who have ingested toxic substances, such as cleaning chemicals.

Home remedies for your dog

If your dog starts licking and gagging, it’s important to find out what’s causing it so you can treat it as soon as possible.

1. Check if your dog has eaten something bad

Sometimes your dog will do this just because they ate something that was on the floor.

You should check whether your dog has swallowed anything that could cause nausea.

  • Lick and gag: It’s usually caused by something in your dog’s stomach. They have ingested something that causes severe pain, and they’re trying to remove it from their system.
  • Vomit: This is similar to a lick and gag, but it’s more likely to happen with vomiting.
  • Diarrhea: Your dog might have diarrhea, which makes them feel nauseous and causes them to vomit. Diarrhea is often accompanied by a change in appetite, which means they want less food.
  • Heartburn: Heartburn is another condition that can make your dog feel nauseous and make them want to vomit.
  • Constipation: Constipation can also cause these symptoms, but it can also happen in dogs who eat too much fiber.
  • Excessive drinking: Excessive drinking is another common cause of nausea and vomiting in pets.
  • Stress: Stress is a huge cause of vomiting and nausea in dogs. If your dog is stressed, then it’s very likely that they’ll experience these symptoms.
  • Food poisoning: Food poisoning is another common cause of vomiting and nausea in pets.

If your dog has recently eaten something that could cause nausea, then try to determine the source of the problem.

The most common culprit is food, so consider checking your dog’s recent diet.

If they’ve had any recent changes in their normal routine, such as starting a new job or moving into a new apartment, then it’s worth considering what new foods they’ve started eating.

2. Check if your dog has eaten something toxic

It’s important to know whether your dog has recently consumed something poisonous.

  • Poison ivy: Poison ivy is one of the most common sources of poison for dogs. If your dog comes across poison ivy, they’ll immediately develop a rash. They’ll also experience nausea and vomiting.
  • Cockroaches: Cockroaches are also known to cause nausea and vomiting in pets. If your dog eats cockroaches, then they’ll become ill within hours.
  • Ticks: Ticks can carry diseases that can cause vomiting and nausea in pets.
  • Fleas: Fleas can transmit disease to your pet. If your dog eats fleas, then they’ll experience nausea and vomiting.
  • Mice: Mice are also known to cause nausea in pets. If your dog eats mice, then they’ll suffer from a lot of gastrointestinal distress.
  • Plants: Plants can contain toxins that cause nausea and vomiting in pets. Even plants that look like candy can be dangerous.

In all of these scenarios, it’s best to contact your veterinarian right away so they can identify the cause of the problem and help you keep your dog safe.

When to see the vet

If your dog licks and gags frequently, you should consider taking them to the veterinarian.

The following are some signs that your dog needs to see the vet.

  • The licking and gagging is consistently occurring over a prolonged period of time
  • They refuse to eat or drink
  • They’re vomiting
  • Their tongue is swollen

These signs indicate that your dog has been exposed to a potentially dangerous toxin.

While certain toxins can be treated at home, others require medical attention.

Your vet can help determine which type of treatment is needed based on the circumstances surrounding the exposure.

To treat a toxin or poisoning yourself?

If your dog is displaying one of these symptoms, you should contact your vet right away.

They will likely want to do blood work to check for specific types of toxins.

Depending on what was ingested, your vet can also prescribe medications to help your dog recover from the effects of the toxin.

To treat the symptoms yourself?

In addition to calling your vet, you should also make sure to give your dog plenty of fluids to help flush out the toxins.
You should also try giving them milk or water to help ease their stomach pain.
Some dogs may need to have their stomach pumped if they vomit too much.

Conclusion

Licking and gagging in dogs can be caused by a number of issues, including physical illnesses, nutritional deficiencies, behavioral problems, and more.

Your veterinarian can help you identify what’s going on with your pet.

If your dog is persistently licking and gagging, it’s best to take them to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

The sooner you do so, the better off your pet will be.

The following sections detail several potential causes of this behavior.

  • 1. Physical Illness
  • 2. Nutritional Deficiencies
  • 3. Behavioral Problems
  • 4. Nausea
  • 5. Unusual Sensitivities
  • 6. Other Causes
Megan Turner
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