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My Dog’s Bottom Lip Is Quivering: 8 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

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By Nicole Cosgrove

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

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The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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It is natural for pet parents to be concerned when their dog starts exhibiting unusual behavior. Perhaps you’ve noticed a quiver in your dog’s bottom lip and are wondering if you should worry about it.

A quivering bottom lip can be normal behavior in dogs, and it typically happens when your dog is excited. In that case, there is no need to worry. However, sometimes it may be more of a concern and require a vet trip.

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Why Would My Dog’s Bottom Lip Be Quivering?

As a dog owner, you know that dogs can act weird at times, but is a quivering lip another one of its quirks, or is it something more serious? The most common reason a dog’s bottom lip quivers is excitement. It could be excitement from the smell of food, the anticipation of going for a walk, or the fact that you just got home from work.

Any exciting event can cause your dog’s bottom lip to quiver, and if you have noticed the behavior in your dog just before a walk or in the heat of a play session, it could simply be due to excitement, and there is no need to worry. There are other reasons for a quivering bottom lip that are related to normal behavior that we’ll discuss below.

close up westie shih tzu mix dog
Image Credit: W_NAMKET, Shutterstock

The 5 Normal Reasons for Your Dog’s Lip Quiver

1. Temperature

Another cause for a quivering bottom lip could be cold temperatures. If the temperature has dropped and you notice your dog’s bottom lip quivering, there is no need to worry since it’s easy to resolve. Get your dog warm by providing a jacket or extra blankets to warm it up as soon as possible. On the other side of the coin, it could also be extreme heat that causes your dog’s lip to quiver.

2. Teething Puppy

If your dog is still a pup and its bottom lip has started quivering, it could mean it is teething. When the teeth begin to break through, jaw chattering may be a way to help minimize the pain. If you suspect teething, provide your pup with chew toys to relieve the pain. Usually, a quivering lip is nothing to worry about when related to teething.

3. Submission

Another reason for quivering lips that can relate to normal behavior is submission. This could be toward another dog or you. You are the pack leader in your home, and a quivering lower lip could be a sign of submission. Dogs will use displacement to communicate if they feel threatened, and a submissive dog may display a quivering lower jaw to self-soothe.

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Image Credit: Bruno Nascimento, Unsplash

4. Anxiety

Anxiety can also cause your dog’s bottom lip to quiver. While it may sound like something to be concerned about, it is usually due to fear induced by thunderstorms, fireworks, a visit to the vet, or a new environment. The quivering should subside as soon as the cause of the anxiety is removed. Try to comfort your dog and provide ways to ease their stress. However, if you are away from home often, your dog could be experiencing separation anxiety. Separation anxiety may cause destructive behaviors, and your dog can easily end up injured in their attempt to escape the house.

5. Old Age

If your dog has reached its senior years, its quivering lip may be due to old age. If you know your dog is healthy, it could just be a tick. It’s best to visit your vet to examine your pet to rule out any other health problems associated with old age.

Divider-Dog bone- NewThe 3 Concerning Reasons for Your Dog’s Lip Quiver

Your dog’s lip-quivering may be related to normal behavior, but some causes may be more serious. While this is no need to worry, it is advisable to get an appointment with your vet as you can if you suspect it is due to any of the following behaviors:

1. Pain

A quivering lip could be a pain response, especially if the pain is due to something that can’t be seen. Our dogs communicate through body language, and a quivering bottom lip could signify physical pain. Your dog may also be a little withdrawn with its tail held low and retreat to a hiding spot if the pain is the reason. If you suspect your dog may be experiencing pain, make an appointment to see your vet.

2. Dental Issues

Unfortunately, dental issues are common for dogs at any life stage, and a quivering lip may be a sign of pain in the mouth. If your dog is drooling, has foul breath, and isn’t eating as it usually does, a dental condition could cause its quivering lip.

Vet Checking Dog Mouth
Image Credit: Irina Nedikova, Shutterstock

3. Intoxication 

Your dog’s quivering lip could also be a sign of intoxication. Several culprits could be behind this, like ingesting a plant or chemical that’s toxic. If your dog’s lip is quivering and there are other signs, such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and hiding, you should get your dog to the vet immediately.

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What Should I Do If My Dog’s Bottom Lip Is Quivering?

If you have noticed your dog’s bottom lip quivering, pay close attention and monitor your dog for any other unusual behaviors. Assess the behavior that your dog is displaying alongside a quivering lip. If your dog is happy and is behaving in its usual way, it is likely something that shouldn’t cause you any concern.

If you learn that your dog’s quivering lip is due to an emotional response, think about giving your dog extra attention and providing it with what it needs. Spend more playtime with your dog, take it for more walks, and provide it with a safe space during times of discomfort.

If your dog is cold, ensure it stays warm with extra blankets and a warm jacket,  and in extreme heat, ensure it has access to water and shelter. If you are uncertain and feeling overwhelming concern, the best course of action is to get your dog to the vet.

veterinarian checking miniature schnauzer dog's teeth
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

How to Manage Your Dog’s Excitement and Keep It Happy

A quivering lower lip is often due to excitement, and if your dog tends to get over-excited, here are some tips for managing its behavior.

  • Don’t encourage its excitement. Try to ignore your dog by avoiding eye contact or physical contact and not talking. When your dog is calm, show affection and praise to reinforce the behavior.
  • Ensure your dog gets enough mental and physical stimulation every day and interactive playtime with you.
  • Stay calm since your dog will mirror your behavior.
  • Ensure your dog has a warm, cozy spot to sleep where it feels safe.
  • If the temperature is frigid, give your dog a jacket or extra blankets.
  • In very high temps, ensure your dog has enough water and a way to cool down.
  • Provide a safe and calm environment during thunderstorms and fireworks.

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A quivering bottom lip is often not something to worry about, but we understand it can seem concerning. Hopefully, this article has helped you narrow down all the possible causes and put your mind at rest. It is often due to excitement or related to other normal behaviors, but if your dog is showing other unusual signs and you have any feelings of doubt, seeing your vet is necessary.

Featured Image Credit: Sharon Feragotti, Shutterstock

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