A Jack Russell Terrier licks the air.

Why Does My Dog Keep Licking the Air?

Have you ever wondered why your dog keeps licking the air? There are a variety of reasons why dogs lick the air and some can have serious health consequences. Normal reasons include hunger and thirst, while abnormal causes include nausea, pain, oral trauma, or dental disease… just to name a few. There can also be systemic causes for dogs to lick the air, such as secondary to seizures.

Reasons Your Dog Licks Things (Including the Air)

Some dogs are bigger lickers than others. Many pups will lick their owner’s hands and faces, as well as floors, their own lips, and every last morsel in their food bowl. Licking the air is also rather common for dogs.

Here’s a list of normal causes for licking, as well as potential behavioral reasons and medical problems:

Normal Causes for Licking

Abnormal Behavioral Causes for Licking

Medical Causes

Various health problems can cause a dog to constantly lick the air and these issues can range from minor to serious. Air licking is most concerning when it is new, excessive, persistent, or associated with other symptoms such as seizures.

What to Do if You See Your Dog Licking the Air

The best approach is to have your dog examined by your veterinarian. Because this behavior may not be constant, it’s best to obtain a video of them in the act if possible. Take notes of when it is happening, how often, for how long, and any associated events.

Your veterinarian will likely want to examine your dog’s skin around the face, nose, and lips, as well as perform a complete oral and neurological examination. They will also want a detailed history of your dog’s eating patterns, breathing patterns, appetite, as well as documentation of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, sneezing, weight loss or gain, seizures, trouble walking, and/or other abnormalities. From there, they can provide recommendations for additional testing.

How to Prevent Excessive Licking

Prevention of licking will depend on the underlying cause. Some options include:

Additional Articles About Canine Licking Habits