Why Does My Dog Lick The Air?

If you’re noticing that your furry friend has begun to lick the air for no reason, or perhaps even appear to bite at seemingly nothing, then it’s important to keep in mind that this could be down to a number of different factors – including simply being a bad habit that has developed. 

Although, while there will usually be no major cause for concern if you’ve noticed that your dog has begun to lick the air, this type of behavior can sometimes indicate a serious, underlying issue. From feelings of anxiety to flat out hunger, it’s important to get to the bottom of it.

That’s where we come in to lend a helping hand. If your dog is licking the air and it’s left you scratching your head, in this article we’re going to be talking you through some of the possible reasons why your four-legged pal might be doing this. Read on!

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Why Do Dogs Lick The Occur?

As licking is quite a natural behavior for dogs to do, it’s not always so easy to determine whether your dog’s licking is normal or not.

For the most part, if you’re noticing that your dog is beginning to lick more frequently either at the air or at something that isn’t there, then this is a sign that their licking could indicate an underlying issue.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons why your dog might be licking at the air below:

1. Feelings Of Anxiety

If your dog has suddenly begun to repeatedly lick or bite at the air, then this could be an indication that your dog is suffering from anxiety.

Just like us humans, dogs can experience feelings of anxiety at different periods throughout their lives, and it can manifest in a variety of different ways. If you have a feeling that your dog might be licking the air due to anxiety, then your best bet will be to try and figure out what is causing your dog’s anxiety, so that you can help to eliminate it from their environment.

In addition to this, we also strongly recommend that you take your dog for a trip to their vet, as the vet will be able to provide you with their professional opinion on what steps should be taken to help your dog with their feelings of anxiety.

2. Something Stuck In Their Mouth

If your dog is randomly licking at the air for no apparent reason, then one of the most obvious reasons could be due to an object stuck in their mouth.

Before doing anything else, we first recommend that you take a moment to gently pry open your dog’s mouth to see if there is anything that has gotten stuck, as your dog might simply be licking at the air in order to try to dislodge whatever the object might be.

If you can see that there is something in your dog’s mouth, then you will need to carefully remove it. If your dog is quite anxious or distressed, we recommend taking a moment to calm your dog before then proceeding to remove the object. If it is easier, you could ask another person to assist you while doing this.

3. Feelings Of Nausea

Another common reason that dogs typically tend to start licking repeatedly is due to feelings of nausea.

Typically, when a dog feels unwell, it will usually begin to lick its lips, as well as other surfaces in its surrounding area. If your dog is feeling unwell or as though they might be sick, it is relatively normal for them to appear as though they are licking the air.

So, if you suspect that your dog might be feeling unwell, we recommend that you try to look for other warning signs, such as fatigue, low energy, and a clear change in character. 

As a side note, if your dog is feeling unwell then you should take your dog in for a visit to its vet who will be able to help further.

In addition to this, you should also try to think back as to what might have caused the sickness, such as the food they have been eating recently.

4. Boredom

Another reason why you might be noticing that your dog is licking the air might be simply down to feelings of boredom.

If you feel that this might be the case, then we recommend that you make sure you’re giving your dog their recommended daily amount of exercise, while also making sure that your dog has plenty of toys and fun things to do that will help to counteract this behavior.

You should also make sure that you are interacting with your dog and regularly engaging in playtime with them.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Is Licking The Air?

As we have already mentioned at previous points in this article, if your dog is licking the air repetitively and you’re at a loss as to why then the best thing that you can do is take your dog to the vet.

Once there, your veterinarian will be able to make a professional judgment on what might be causing your dog to display this behavior, and then advise you on what treatment to seek to help remedy the issue. 

If possible, we recommend trying to record your dog while they are licking the air, so that your vet will be able to gain an accurate picture of what the underlying issue might be.

On the flip side, if you are finding that the licking is not frequent or not severe enough to warrant a trip to the vet’s, then we recommend that you instead try to pinpoint what the issue might be in your dog’s environment, to see if that helps to remedy the problem.

Needless to say, if none of this seems to work, then we still recommend taking a trip to the vet’s office just in case.

PuppyLists is written by Kat, who has owned, trained, volunteered with, and loved dogs for nearly three decades. When she isn't writing or researching, she's out adventuring with her 15 year old Lab mix.