Why Does My Dog’s Lip Quiver? (7 Common Reasons)

Categorized as Why Does My Dog
dog's lip quivering

If you’ve ever seen a dog with its lip quivering, you might have wondered what’s going on. Is the dog sad? Angry? In pain? Actually, there could be a number of reasons for that quivering lip.

Here are seven of the most common:

1. Feeling Cold

If you’ve ever seen a dog’s lips quiver when they’re cold, you might have wondered what’s going on. It turns out that this is a perfectly normal response to the cold weather.

When dogs feel cold, their blood vessels constrict in an effort to conserve heat. This can cause the lips to quiver and may even make the dog’s teeth chatter.

While it may look comical, this is actually a serious matter for dogs, as it can lead to hypothermia. So if you see your dog’s lips quivering in the cold, be sure to bring them inside and warm them up gradually.

Here’re some more tips to keep your dog warm in winter:

1. Provide a warm, cozy place for your dog to sleep,

As the weather gets colder, you may find yourself bundled up in a blanket on the couch, trying to stay warm. But what about your furry friend? Just like humans, dogs need a little extra help staying warm in winter.

One way to do this is by providing a cozy place for your dog to sleep. A fluffy dog bed with a warm blanket is the perfect spot for your pooch to curl up when the temperature starts to drop.

2. Invest in a good quality coat or sweater

If you live in an area with cold winters, it’s important to make sure your dog is properly outfitted for the weather. A good quality coat or sweater will help to keep your dog warm without making them feel uncomfortable.

But before you head to the nearest pet store to buy the first coat you see, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, it’s important to choose a coat or sweater that fits well. A too-tight coat will restrict your dog’s movement and may cause discomfort, while a too-loose coat can be easily chewed or pulled off by an adventurous pup.

Second, pay attention to the material. Some fabrics are more effective at trapping heat than others, so it’s worth doing some research to find the right one for your dog.

Finally, don’t forget to take into account your dog’s individual needs. Some dogs, such as those with short hair or thin coats, will need a warmer coat than others.

3. Buy a pet heating pad

Another great way to keep your dog warm in winter is to invest in a pet heating pad. These handy devices can be placed in your dog’s bed or crate to provide a warm, comfortable spot for them to relax.

Just be sure to choose a heating pad that is specifically designed for pets, as some human-use heated pads can get too hot for comfort.

4. Avoid taking your dog out in extreme weather conditions

This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.

When the weather outside is frightful, it’s best to leave your dog at home. Avoid taking them out in extreme conditions, such as during a snowstorm or when the temperature is very cold.

If you must take your dog out in inclement weather, be sure to dress them properly and keep an eye on them for signs of hypothermia, such as shivering, lethargy, or weakness.

5. Protect your dog’s paws with dog boots

One area of your dog that is especially vulnerable to the cold weather is their paws. The skin on a dog’s paw is thinner than on the rest of their body, making it more susceptible to frostbite.

To protect your dog’s paws from the cold, you can buy them a pair of dog boots. These special shoes will not only keep their paws warm but also help to prevent slipping on icy surfaces.

2. Anxiety or Nervousness

When a dog is anxious, their body goes into overdrive, preparing them for fight or flight.

Their heart rate increases, their muscles tense up, and they may even start to pant or shake. All of this is meant to help them defend themselves or escape from whatever is causing their anxiety.

One of the most noticeable physical signs of anxiety in dogs is lip quivering. This may be accompanied by other signs such as panting, shaking, or hiding.

Anxiety can be caused by many different things, such as loud noises, being left alone, or changes in the environment. If your dog is lip quivering due to anxiety, there are a few things you can do to help them feel better.

1. Identify the source of the anxiety and remove it if possible

First, try to identify the source of their anxiety and remove it if possible. For example, if your dog is afraid of loud noises, bring them inside during a storm or firework display.

2. Desensitize your dog to the anxiety-inducing stimulus

If you can’t remove the source of their anxiety, you can try to desensitize them to it. This involves slowly exposing them to the thing they’re afraid of, starting at a level that doesn’t bother them.

For example, if your dog doesn’t like being left alone, start by leaving them alone for just a few minutes at a time. Slowly increase the amount of time you’re gone until they’re comfortable being alone for longer periods.

3. Use calming aids to help your dog relax

You can also try using calming aids to help your dog relax. These include things like pheromone diffusers, calming music, and CBD oils.

4. Talk to your veterinarian

If your dog’s anxiety is severe, you should talk to your veterinarian. They may prescribe medication to help your dog relax and feel more comfortable.

3. Submitting to a Pack Leader or Dominant Dog

In the wild, canines live in packs led by a dominant male. This social hierarchy is present in domestic dogs as well, even though they may not live in packs.

Dogs that submit to a pack leader or dominant dog will often show signs of submissive behavior, such as lip quivering. This is because they are feeling nervous or intimidated and are trying to show the other dog that they are no threat.

If you’re wondering whether your dog is submissive, there are a few key behaviors to look for.

For example, does your dog frequently lie down on their back or side? This is a common sign of submission, as it exposes the vulnerable belly and throat.

Another telltale sign is when your dog averts their gaze or lowers their head when making eye contact with you. This behavior is often seen as a sign of respect in the animal world, and it can indicate that your dog sees you as the alpha.

4. Excitement or Joy

If your dog’s lip is quivering, there’s a good chance they’re excited about something. It could be that they’re about to go on a walk, or they’ve just spotted their favorite toy.

When a dog becomes excited, their adrenaline levels increase and their heart rate rises. As a result, blood is pumped more quickly through their body, causing all sorts of physical reactions.

In addition to lip quivering, other common signs of excitement in dogs include wagging their tail, panting, and bouncing around.

5. Discomfort or Pain

Many people believe that a dog’s lip quivering is a sign of happiness or excitement. However, this is not always the case. In some dogs, lip quivering can be a sign of discomfort or pain.

This may be due to an injury, infection, or underlying health condition. If your dog’s lip quivering is accompanied by other signs of distress, such as whining or crying, it is important to seek veterinary attention.

A veterinarian will be able to determine the cause of your dog’s discomfort and provide the appropriate treatment.

6. Exhaustion

Another common cause of lip quivering in dogs is exhaustion. When a dog is tired, their body is under stress and their muscles start to tremble.

When dogs are tired, their muscles tend to tremble and their body temperature drops. This can cause their lips to quiver as well. In addition, dogs may also quiver their lips when they are anxious or stressed.

If your dog is lip quivering a lot after exercise, it is important to observe other signs of fatigue or stress. If your dog seems otherwise healthy and happy, a little rest may be all that is needed.

However, if the lip quivering is accompanied by excessive panting, lethargy, or trembling, it may be a sign of something more serious and you should consult your veterinarian.

7. Nerve Twitches

Last but not least, lip quivering can be caused by nerve twitches. Nerve twitches are involuntary muscle contractions that can occur anywhere in the body.

Dogs can experience nerve twitches for a variety of reasons, including muscle strains or injuries, neurological disorders, allergies, dehydration, or adverse response to medication.

They are usually harmless and will go away on their own, but they can be a sign of an underlying neurological condition. If your dog’s lip quivering is accompanied by other signs of neurological problems, such as seizures or incoordination, it is important to seek veterinary attention.


There are a few possible reasons why your dog’s lip quivers. It could be a sign of stress or anxiety, or it could be a physical reaction to something in the environment (such as cold). It could also be a sign of pain or discomfort.

If your dog’s lip quivers persistently, the first thing you should do is to find out the underlying cause. Once you know the cause, you can take steps to address it and help your dog feel more comfortable.

If you are unsure about the cause of your dog’s lip quivering, it is always best to consult your veterinarian for advice.

Related Questions

1. Why Does My Dog Keep Opening and Closing His Mouth?

There are a few reasons why your dog may be opening and closing his mouth. He may be trying to dislodge something caught in his throat, he may be choking, or he may have a dental problem.

If you think your dog is choking, it is important to act quickly and try to remove the object from his throat. If you cannot remove the object, you will need to take him to the vet immediately.

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website TrainYourGSD.com - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.