DOG UNCONTROLLABLY LICKING HER LIPS
As I was getting ready for work, Simba began to uncontrollably licking her lips. It was as if she had peanut butter stuck on her nose. She had done this a couple of times before and I was never able to figure out why. I checked her nose to see if there was anything in it. I checked her teeth and gums. I checked the back of her tongue. Nothing! Something was certainly bothering her. She would gnaw on the carpet in between the non-stop flicking of her tongue as if she needed to dislodge something from her teeth. Maybe, this is why she has eaten my carpet when I’m gone which is not a normal past time of hers. I tried to give her some water and rubbed some water on her tongue in case she had maybe licked something that tasted gross. I thought that maybe she was trying to get a yucky taste off her tongue. The tongue flicking persisted. I took her out to play ball hoping it would get her mind off her dilemma. Instead, she went straight to the grass and frantically began to tear up and eat gobs of grass. I knew this would end up making her vomit and it would happen on the carpet after I left to work. Which meant it would be soaking in all day, augh! I tried to distract her to no avail. She couldn’t get enough of it. I took her back in and sat on the deck with her for a while. Now I’m real late to work. She continued the tongue flickering. The sad and frustrating part is that as she does this with being able to control it she gets real close to me and just stares into my eyes wanting me to help her. I just don’t know what to do. With a loud eerie sound coming out of her mouth she threw up the wheel barrel full of grass that she had eaten. I stood there holding my breath as I rubbed her back, hoping that this would be the end of it. It wasn’t. The tongue began its snake-like behavior again. We went inside and sat on the living room floor. I cradled her in my arms, stroking her cheek with my face against hers, shushing in her ear. Slowly, but surely, the tongue slowed down and finally stopped. I did some reading on her symptoms and was surprised to find out that other dog owners have the same experience with their pups. Professional opinion is that it may be due to oral discomfort, nausea, bloat, swallowed foxtail, focal partial seizures or maybe pica. I know it wasn’t oral discomfort because I thoroughly checked. Simba does suffer from an array of digestive issues including bloat but this is not one of her usual symptoms. It happened first thing in the morning before she had gone out so it couldn’t be a foxtail. I was puzzled. Needless to say, it happened again the next morning and the next. Each morning we went through the same ritual and each morning I was 2-3 hours late to work. On Saturday, I was working and ran home to let her out and play ball with her for a while. I went to the bathroom to get ready to head out again and guess what? It’s behavioral! She is having separation anxiety. When I realized this is behavioral, my reaction was a stern “No, you need to stop! Mommy loves you and will be back soon.” I gave her a big hug and sternly told her to stop, once again. She did! I quickly did some research and yup one of the professionals mentioned this as maybe being behavioral. I already know Simba has separation anxiety. I have told you about my disappearing drywall and carpet. Now I wonder if she ate the carpet and drywall because of the flicking tongue. Anyhow, as I continued to read German Shorthaired Pointers are one of the breeds known to have separation anxiety along with the Siberian Huskie, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Bernese Mountain Dog, Great Pyranees, Border Collie among others. I will be updating you on Simba’s progress on this issue and some of the professional’s tips on how to handle dog anxiety in future posts.