How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Kara Your Own Question

Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 14859
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
49838867
Type Your Dog Question Here...
Dr. Kara is online now

I have a golden Labrador 9 months old. Since she was

Customer Question

I have a golden Labrador 9 months old.


Since she was about 4 months old every now and then (no apparent reason obvious to myself) she shows her teeth and curls her nose as if she is going to snarl but that isn't the case she does this while wagging her tail tongue slightly out and no noise at all. It is as if she is smiling, but it is very strange. She is a lovely friendly dog and has never shown any signs of being aggressive.

I am 65 years of age and always had dogs. I have never seen this behaviour before and it is now becoming a concern incase it is a sign of some sort of distress.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is Dr. Kara and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I understand that you are concerned about Bella's behavior as it is unusual.
There are a couple possible reasons behind her behavior and neither one is bad or dangerous.

Dogs do "smile". It isn't common but it happens when they are happy and want to convey that they are submissive to another pack member. It's a social behavior that isn't seen often, but it does happen. It can be directed to other dogs, but more commonly it is directed toward people.

The other possibility is a behavioral response called a flehmen response. This is more commonly seen in horses and cats, but dogs can display this behavior too. Animals can not only smell things but because of a specialized organ called a vomeronasal organ, located in the roof of the dog’s mouth just behind the incisors with an opening into the mouth, they can almost "taste" some smells as well. The organ is lined with cells that are similar to those found in the nose and is especially sensitive to pheromones. By lifting their lips and sticking out their tongue they push the "scent" into their vomeronasal organ. Dogs are more likely to display this behavior in response to urine or stool, or secretions from an intact female dog in heat.

In short I think that Bella is probably displaying a normal, though unusual behavior. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found ""JustAnswer"" on my Google search -- you are now in my ""Favorites"" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George
< Previous | Next >
  • It was so professional, so personally concerned (as we were) and you answered all of our questions. George and I are so happy that I found ""JustAnswer"" on my Google search -- you are now in my ""Favorites"" list! And, yes we do love our kitty - she makes our life complete! Bev & George
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Rebecca

    Rebecca

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    293
    Veterinarian for more than 30 years
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TO/tomasicvet/2011-3-15_20483_RTI.64x64.jpg Rebecca's Avatar

    Rebecca

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    293
    Veterinarian for more than 30 years
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MS/msb13sm/2011-3-7_52612_Dr.B.64x64.JPG Dr. Matt's Avatar

    Dr. Matt

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2354
    DVM - 13 years experience in canine medicine and surgery.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr. Gene/2012-6-29_2247_20120223174645649.64x64.jpg Dr. Gene's Avatar

    Dr. Gene

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    1048
    DVM degree from Ontario Veterinary College
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/VE/Vet help/2012-11-3_20182_Avatar2.64x64.png Vet help's Avatar

    Vet help

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    963
    12 yrs experience as a small animal veterinarian; 21 yrs exp. in the animal care field
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DE/debkatreyn/2011-11-28_33650_682e.64x64.jpg Dr. Debbie's Avatar

    Dr. Debbie

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    902
    Companion animal veterinarian practicing for over 10 years.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KR/kritrdr/2014-3-26_152042_Dr.Gray1.64x64.jpg Dr. Dan's Avatar

    Dr. Dan

    Dog Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2143
    12 years of experience with domestic and exotic dogs, PLEASE rate my service when satisfied.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DJ/djan2000/djan2000_avatar.64x64.jpg Dr. Dave's Avatar

    Dr. Dave

    Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    2053
    21 years small animal general and emergency practice