Dog Keeps Opening and Closing Mouth – What to Do?

A dog opening and closing its mouth is usually not serious, but there are times when you will want to pay closer attention and take action if necessary.

If your dog constantly opens and closes its mouth, it could mean several different things.

It could simply be that they’re hot and trying to pant to cool down, or it could be a more serious issue like an infection or something stuck in their throat. What you should do will depend on more specific signs.

In this article, we’ll discuss those specific signs, how to identify them, and what you can do to help your dog if they’re experiencing them.

Dog Keeps Opening and Closing Mouth – What Is Going On?

It’s important to recognize what happens when your dog opens and closes its mouth to determine the cause.

Signs Your Dog May Be Trying to Pant To Cool Down:

  • Pulling their tongue out
  • Excess drooling
  • Pacing or restless behaviors
  • Resting their head on cool surfaces
  • Laying down with their belly up

Signs That Your Dog May Be Choking:

  • Pawing at their mouth
  • Gagging
  • Retching
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

Signs of GDV (Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus):

  • Trying to vomit, but nothing is coming up
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Excessive drooling
  • Retching and coughing
  • Restlessness
  • Weakness
  • Pale gums

Signs of Dental Issues or Bruxism

  • Teeth grinding
  • Weird mouth movements
  • Chewing with no food
  • Teeth chattering

Dog Keeps Opening and Closing Mouth – What to Do

What you’ll do to help your dog (if it needs it) will depend on other symptoms displayed by your dog.

Cooling Down

If you think your dog is trying to cool down, try moving it to a cooler area and giving it water to drink. Contact your vet immediately if this doesn’t alleviate your dog’s symptoms.


If you think your dog is choking, you should try to look in their mouth to see if anything is blocking their airway. If you can’t safely remove the obstruction, take your dog to the emergency vet immediately.

Signs of GDV

GDV is a potentially life-threatening condition.

If your dog has any of these GDV signs mentioned in the section above, it is crucial to seek veterinary care immediately.

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Bruxism is unconscious and involuntary grinding of teeth that usually happens when your dog is asleep. It is most commonly seen in toy breeds and is often due to anxiety or excitement.

If you think your dog may be grinding their teeth, the best thing to do is consult with a veterinarian to rule out any other potential causes and create a plan to help your dog feel more relaxed.

Dental Issues

If you think your dog may have a dental issue, the best thing to do is consult with a veterinarian. They can look at your dog’s mouth and teeth to determine if there is an issue and, if so, what the best course of treatment is.

Odd or Unexplained Signs

If your dog is making weird movements with its mouth and also drooling excessively, seems in pain, or has trouble swallowing, it’s best to take them to the vet to ensure there isn’t a more serious problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

You might feel confused, frustrated, or anxious when your dog continually opens and closes its mouth. Hopefully, answers to these frequently asked questions provide even more valuable insight for you.

Why does my dog open and close his mouth so fast?

A dog opening and closing its mouth more slowly is usually a cooling method. In contrast, repeated, rapid opening and closing of the mouth may mean something serious like choking.

Your dog might be trying to dislodge something from its throat. If this is the case, you should check its mouth for objects and take your dog to the emergency vet if you can’t remove them safely.

What do I do if my dog keeps licking his lips and yawning?

If your dog is also licking their lips and yawning, it could mean they’re feeling nauseous, anxious, or fearful.

If your dog is trying to vomit, but nothing is coming up, this could be a sign of GDV, a potentially life-threatening condition. You should seek veterinary care immediately if your dog displays any GDV signs.

Alternatively, if your dog is doing this in moments of anxiety or fear, you should either try to avoid those situations or speak to a trainer about the best way to address these fears.

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What does it mean when my dog keeps pawing at his mouth?

There are a few potential reasons why your dog might be pawing at their mouth. They may just be doing it out of play, as an indication of hunger, or because they’re experiencing pain in their mouth.

If your dog seems to be pawing at their mouth more frequently or excessively, it’s best to consult a veterinarian to rule out any potential problems.

Why does my dog keep putting his tongue out?

There are a few potential reasons your dog might be sticking their tongue out. They may be trying to cool down, experiencing an issue with their teeth or gums, or feeling nauseous.

A dog putting its tongue out is usually no cause for concern, but if there is excessive drooling or whimpering, it’s a good idea to pay a visit to the vet.

What mouth movements do dogs make when they’re anxious?

Dogs may tightly close their mouths and pull their lips back grimly when they feel anxious. They may also start chewing, even though they are not eating food.

Dogs afraid of going to the vet or getting their nails clipped are often anxious. If your dog is making this mouth movement, it’s a good idea to consult with an animal behaviorist to help your dog feel more comfortable in these situations.

Final Thoughts

If your dog is repeatedly opening and closing its mouth, it’s important to take note of any other accompanying symptoms and consult with a veterinarian.

There are many potential causes of this behavior, some of which are more serious than others.

By ruling out any underlying medical conditions, you can help your dog feel more relaxed and comfortable – and hopefully, ease your anxiety about the situation too!

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Susan Dorling

I am a pet expert with years of experience working with a variety of animals. From dogs and cats to birds and exotics, I have a deep understanding of their unique needs and behaviors. I am dedicated to helping pet owners provide the best care for their furry friend.