Dog Keeps Burping and Licking Lips: When to Call a Vet

Dogs burp to release the air trapped in their stomachs. Lip licking can signal that a dog is experiencing nausea, acid reflux, or oral problems. Some oral and gastric issues such as reflux or ulcers can be treated at home with medication or diet changes.

No one likes to see their dog acting weird. If you catch your dog burping and its licking lips after a meal, don’t panic. There are several explanations for this behavior. Some reasons are completely normal reflexes, while others may indicate a more serious problem.

Like humans, dogs often burp to ease gas. A dog may also lick its lips to signal that they are experiencing an upset stomach from acid reflux, oral pain from ulcers, or bacterial infection. Discover the different causes for canine burping and licking and the best things to do for your pet’s health.

What does it mean when a dog keeps burping and licking its lips?

Your dog may have swallowed some air while eating that has caused belly bloat. Burping displaces this trapped air and helps dogs feel better. If belching a few times does not seem to relieve these symptoms, your dog could be suffering from acid reflux, a stomach ulcer, or an H.pylori bacterial infection.

Dogs normally drool and lick their lips when they catch sight of food. Abnormal and obsessive licking can mean that your dog gulped down something that he shouldn’t have eaten. It can also indicate an abscessed tooth.

Acid reflux causes regurgitation, which can make dogs repeatedly burp after a meal. Reflux also increases saliva, which can prompt a licking cycle. If acid reflux continues without proper treatment, it can develop into a chronic issue such as gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD.

Acid reflux symptoms to watch out for include:  

  • Burping
  • Licking lips
  • Swallowing

A canine mouth or stomach ulcer can also cause unusual burping and licking actions. If you suspect that your dog might have an ulcer or an H.pylori infection, have a vet check your pet out right away. 

What Causes a Dog to Keep Burping and Licking its Lips?

Acid reflux, GERD, or oral ulcers are the most likely culprits. Since repetitive licking motions can indicate a canine seizure, it’s best to have your vet physically examine the dog to rule out this possibility. You can also download a brochure on pet first aid here.

Your dog may also be allergic to his food. Some types of food increase stomach acid production. When acid squirts up your dog’s throat, it can cause painful mouth ulcers to develop.

The good news is that GERD, acid reflux and oral ulcers are highly treatable. Changing your dog’s diet, administering medication, and using commonsense home remedies will help your dog feel perky again in no time.

What Can You Do If Your Dog Keeps Burping and Licking Lips?

If reflux, rather than a blockage, infection, or neurological issue, is causing burping and licking symptoms, there are several remedies to help your dog feel better. These include home remedies, medicines, and diet changes.

Check their gums

Before doing anything, check your dog’s gums to ensure that your pet isn’t choking or experiencing an abdominal blockage. If the dog’s gums are a normal and healthy pink color, then it Is safe to treat the acid reflux symptoms with medication.

If the gums look pale or have turned purple, contact your vet. Bleached or discolored gums mean that your dog is bleeding internally, or that a serious blockage is restricting oxygen flow to his organs.

Take your dog for a walk

Exercise can help your dog expel the gas causing excessive burping. If your dog is licking its lips due to nausea, your pet may run outside to eat some grass to help settle their stomach.

Give your dog an antacid pill

If exercise and expelling air does not relieve your dog’s discomfort, you can feed him or her an antacid tablet formulated to ease canine gastritis.

If your dog is not vomiting, constipated, or listless, then you can administer anti-reflux medication. Antacids such as famotidine, also known as Pepcid-AC, or Omeprazole (Prilosec), work fast to kill stomach acid and relieve reflux symptoms. Pepcid-AC kicks in fast to make your pet feel better, while Omeprazole takes longer to take effect.

Both antacids ease reflux by coating the stomach with an alkaline medicine that promotes healing. If your dog is suffering from visible throat ulcers, you can use 1 teaspoon of Milk of Magnesia or liquid sucralfate to coat their throat every 4-6 hours until regurgitation subsides.

Feed your dog a bland diet

bland diet is a long-term treatment to relieve reflux and reduce the risk of your pet developing GERD, bloat, ulcers, or gastritis.

Quit sugar 

Avoid feeding your dog sweets since sugar increases acid. 

Put your dog on a bland and low-fat diet

A great home remedy for reflux is to boil 1/3 pound of lean chicken or beef. Add several pieces of bread or a 2/3 pound of white rice. Feed this to your dog in three or four small daily portions.

Low-fat protein, combined with bland starches, is easy to digest. Rice helps soak up excess stomach acid, and lean meat won’t trigger the stomach to produce irritating acid levels.

You can find bland dog foods by Dave’s Pet Food or Under the Weather. These brands are designed with plain ingredients to promote canine gut health. After several days on a bland home-cooked or dog food diet, you can start slowly adding back your dog’s previous food. 

Call the vet

If your dog begins pacing, vomiting, or showing other signs of pain, call the vet right away. Bloat can kill your dog, so it’s important to catch the issue quickly.

While switching to a bland diet can help with stomach issues, these dog food brands may not contain all daily requirements. Ask your vet about adding foods to the bland mix to ensure that your dog is getting the nutrients that they need. As you help your dog on the road to healing, keep in mind the steps to reduce burping and licking.

  • Know how to identify the difference between reflux, bloat, and blockage.
  • Neutralize stomach acid with an antacid tablet.
  • Coat your dog’s throat to kill regurgitated acid and heal mouth sores.
  • Bland food is best.

With good treatment and a healing diet, your dog should make a full recovery.