Why Is My Dog Opening and Closing Mouth Repeatedly? (Reasons)

If you’ve ever seen your dog open and close his mouth repeatedly, you might have wondered what he’s doing. This behavior is often called “gaping,” and it’s usually perfectly normal.

It’s not like he’s trying to eat something or panting for breath. In fact, he does it even when there’s nothing around to sniff or chew on. You’ve probably seen him do it when he’s lying down, when he’s standing up, and even when he’s walking.

dog opening and closing mouth
Why is my dog opening and closing mouth repeatedly? (Reasons)

It almost looks like he’s trying to talk, but he doesn’t make any noise, and his mouth doesn’t open very wide. 

Dogs often yawn when they’re tired or bored, just like we do. They might also do it when they’re feeling anxious or stressed. So if your dog starts gaping more frequently or if it seems to be accompanied by other signs of distress, it could be a sign that something is wrong.

If you’re worried about your dog’s behavior, it’s always best to consult with your veterinarian. They can help you rule out any potential medical problems and give you peace of mind.

Here are some potential reasons for this behavior:

Your Dog Could be Choking

If your dog opens and closes their mouth rapidly, it could be a sign that they’re choking on something. So if you see your dog doing this, it’s essential to take a quick look in their mouth to see if there’s anything stuck.

If you don’t see anything, they may just be panting heavily due to heat or exercise. However, if you do see something lodged in their throat, it’s crucial to take action immediately.

Try to dislodge the object with your fingers or use a pair of pliers if it’s something like a bone. If your dog is still struggling to breathe, call your vet or an emergency animal hospital immediately.

Time is of the essence when it comes to choking, so don’t hesitate to get help.

Chihuahua open mouth
Chihuahua mouth wide opened.

There May be a Foreign Object in Their Mouth

If your dog keeps opening and closing their mouth, it could be a sign that there’s something wrong. It could be something as simple as food stuck in their teeth, or they may have a foreign object caught in their mouth.

If you suspect something is stuck in your dog’s mouth, the best thing to do is to look inside and see if you can spot the problem. If you can’t see anything, it’s probably best to take your dog to the vet so they can have a look.

In most cases, foreign objects can be easily removed, but if they’re not dealt with quickly, they can cause serious damage to your dog’s mouth or throat.

So, if your dog is persistently trying to tell you something, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and take them to the vet.

Rottweiler mouth
Checking a Rottweiler’s mouth in the field.

Your Dog Could Have a Dental Issue

If your dog keeps opening and closing their mouth, it could be a sign of a dental issue. The most common reason for this behavior is gum disease, which can cause inflammation and pain.

Other possible causes include an abscessed tooth, an infection, or even something as simple as a foreign object caught in the teeth. If your dog is displaying this behavior, take them to the vet for an evaluation.

Your vet will be able to determine the cause of the problem and recommend the best course of treatment. In many cases, dental issues can be resolved with a simple cleaning or extraction.

So if your dog’s mouth is giving you cause for concern, don’t hesitate to get them checked out by a professional.

golden retriever tongue out
An American Goldendoodle (not English Goldendoodle) hanging out with its tongue out

Your Dog Could be Nauseated

If your dog has been repeatedly opening and closing its mouth, it could be a sign that your dog is feeling nauseated. This is also sometimes referred to as “air licking.”

While there are many different reasons why a dog may feel nauseated, some common causes include motion sickness, eating too quickly, food allergies, and stomach infections.

If you notice that your dog is engaging in this behavior, it’s important to take them to the vet to rule out any potential medical problems.

In the meantime, try to feed your dog smaller meals more slowly, and avoid giving them any table scraps or fatty foods. You can help your dog feel better in no time with a little care and attention.

dog vomit smells like poop
Dog vomit smells like poop. [Help!]

Your Dog Could have a Neurological Problem

If your dog suddenly starts opening and closing their mouth, it could be a sign of a neurological problem. This repetitive behavior is often seen in dogs that are having a seizure, and it can be quite distressing for both the dog and their owner.

In some cases, the dog may also appear to be “fly biting” – snapping at invisible insects. If your dog is showing any other signs of a seizure, such as loss of consciousness or muscle tremors, then you should seek veterinary advice as soon as possible.

However, if they are only displaying repetitive jaw movement, it is still worth getting them checked out by a professional to rule out any underlying health issues.

Chihuahua tongue is out
Chihuahua with a rolled tongue.

Maybe Your Dog is Trying to Talk to You

If your dog keeps opening and closing their mouth, it might look like they’re trying to talk to you. And while we might not be able to have a conversation with them in the same way that we do with other people, there are actually a lot of things that our dogs can communicate to us through their body language.

So, if your dog is repeatedly opening and closing their mouth, it’s worth taking a moment to try and understand what they might be trying to say. One possibility is that they are trying to signal that they are thirsty or hungry.

Another possibility is that they are trying to cool off, as panting helps dogs regulate their body temperature. Or, it could be that they are trying to get your attention for some other reason.

Regardless of the reason, you can gain a deeper understanding of what they are thinking and feeling by taking the time to interpret your dog’s body language.

woman talking to her dog
A woman talking to her dog with love.

Your Dog Might be Stressed or Anxious

If your dog opens and closes their mouth a lot, it could be a sign of feeling stressed or anxious. It’s often referred to as ‘pacifying behavior,’ and it’s something that dogs do when they feel uncomfortable or nervous.

If your dog only does it occasionally, there’s no need to worry. However, if it becomes a frequent occurrence, it might be worth taking them to the vet to rule out any possible medical causes.

There are a number of things that can trigger stress in dogs, including loud noises, changes in routine, and separations from their owners. If you think your dog might be stressed, try to identify the source of the problem and take steps to reduce their anxiety.

For example, if they tend to get anxious when left alone, you could try leaving them with a toy or food puzzle to keep them occupied.

If you’re not sure what’s causing your dog’s stress, talk to your veterinarian for more advice.

Goldendoodle looking up
A Goldendoodle looking up and tongue out.

Maybe Your Dog is Just Excited

If your dog is anything like mine, they get excited about a lot of things: a car ride, a walk, a trip to the park. And when they’re really pumped up, they’ll start opening and closing their mouth – almost like they’re panting, but not quite.

It’s called ‘gular fluttering,’ and it’s perfectly normal behavior for a dog who’s feeling happy and eager.

So if you see your dog doing this, don’t worry – they’re just expressing their joy at getting to do something they love.

happy dog jumps
A happy dog at the park is jumping.

Your Dog Could be Very Cold

If your dog keeps opening and closing its mouth, it could be a sign that they’re very cold. When dogs are cold, they often start to pant to try to warm themselves up.

However, if the temperature is too low, panting may not be enough to raise their body temperature. In this case, they may start to open and close their mouths in an effort to generate heat through evaporation.

If your dog is behaving this way and you think it may be cold, you can do a few things to help. First, try to bring them inside or into a warmer area. If this is not possible, cover them with a blanket or coat to help them retain heat.

You can also give them a warm drink of water or some warm food to help raise their body temperature from the inside out.

If your dog is shivering or showing other signs of extreme cold, such as blue gums or skin, it is essential to seek veterinary care immediately as they could be at risk for hypothermia.

dog feeling cold
Dog feeling cold with his owner with a warm blanket.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it! Some of the reasons why your dog sometimes opens and closes their mouth repeatedly.

As always, it’s important to watch your dog’s behavior and body language to see what might be causing their repetitive mouth movements. If you’re ever concerned about your dog’s health, be sure to consult with your veterinarian.

Thanks for reading!