Dogs Licking the Air

Dogs why Licking the Air: 13 Reasons and Vet Advice

Our furry companions have their unique ways of expressing themselves, and one behavior that might leave you puzzled is the act of dogs licking the air. This peculiar behavior can range from cute and amusing to concerning, depending on the context and frequency. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of dogs licking the air, exploring 13 potential reasons behind this behavior and offering veterinary advice on what to do if you notice your dog engaging in this odd habit.

Dogs Licking the Air

 13 Reasons Why Dogs Lick the Air

Dogs Licking the Air

To Smell or Not to Smell

Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, and sometimes they lick the air to capture scent particles. This behavior is reminiscent of us humans inhaling deeply to savor a pleasant aroma.


Dogs Licking the Air

An Act of Mimicry

Dogs are keen observers of human behavior. Sometimes, they might lick the air simply because they’ve seen someone else doing it – perhaps even you!


Skin Irritation

Itchy skin can prompt dogs to lick the air as they try to soothe themselves. Allergies, insect bites, or skin conditions could be the underlying cause.


Submissive Behavior

In the world of dogs, submissive behavior includes actions like lip licking and avoiding eye contact. Licking the air might be a way for a dog to express deference to a more dominant individual.

Dogs Licking the Air

Anxiety or Stress

Just like humans, dogs can experience anxiety and stress. Licking the air might be a coping mechanism in response to unfamiliar situations, loud noises, or separation anxiety.

Aberrant Behavior

Sometimes, dogs develop odd behaviors that seemingly have no clear cause. Licking the air could fall into this category, though it’s essential to rule out any underlying medical issues first.


Nausea or an upset stomach could lead to excessive licking of the air. Dogs might be trying to alleviate discomfort by swallowing saliva, which can help ease nausea.

A Foreign Object in the Mouth

If a small object gets stuck in a dog’s mouth or throat, they might lick the air in an attempt to dislodge it. This behavior could be a sign that your dog needs immediate attention.

Dogs Licking the Air

Injury or Trauma

Physical injuries, such as a sore mouth or tongue, could lead to air licking. Dogs might avoid directly touching the painful area and choose to lick the air nearby instead.

Dental Disease or Tooth Pain

Dental problems can be excruciating for dogs. Licking the air might be their way of dealing with tooth pain or discomfort caused by gum disease or dental decay.

Dogs Licking the Air

Curious Case of Canine OCD

Just like humans, dogs can develop compulsive behaviors. Air licking might be one manifestation of canine obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Behavioral Issues

Certain behavioral issues could manifest as air licking. Consulting a professional dog behaviorist can help identify and address these underlying problems.

What to Do If You Notice Your Dog Licking Air?

If you observe your dog frequently engaging in air licking, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian. Your vet can conduct a thorough examination to rule out medical causes and provide guidance on appropriate steps to take. Keeping track of when the behavior occurs, the frequency, and any accompanying symptoms can help your vet make a more accurate diagnosis.

Dogs Licking the Air


Dogs have a myriad of ways to communicate, and while air licking might seem perplexing, it’s important to remember that it could indicate various underlying factors. From mimicking human behavior to addressing medical concerns, understanding the reasons behind this quirky habit can help you ensure your furry friend’s well-being. If you ever find your canine companion caught in the act of air licking, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice to provide them with the best care possible.

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