How to Get Your Dog to Stop Licking Air Here's how to get your dog to stop licking air

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Licking Air

It can be a bit concerning when your dog starts licking the air continuously. Here's what you should know about getting your dog to stop licking the air.


Dogs are known for their tendency to pant and lick their fur. Interestingly, not many people know that dogs sometimes lick at the air, too. 

Animals have a unique way of letting the world around them know when they need something. Unlike humans, dogs don’t wield the power of words. This forces them to adopt alternate practices that help them get their point across. 

Licking at their air is a common way for dogs to let their owners know of an underlying problem. Below is a detailed discussion on what makes dogs lick at air, and what we can do to make them stop! 

Is It Normal For Dogs to Constantly Lick Air?

A dog’s tongue plays a significant role in the way these animals communicate with their owners and environment. Generally, a dog’s lick won’t be without purpose. Hence, it’s important to pause and think about what a dog might be trying to convey by licking the air. 

There isn’t any one fixed reason behind why your dog is licking at air. The exact explanation behind this behavior generally depends on the environment and may vary from dog to dog. Despite this, we can say that it is perfectly normal for dogs to lick the air every now and then. But if your dog has made this licking a noticeable habit, there might be an underlying abnormality or stressor causing it. 

What Does It Mean When a Dog Keeps Licking The Air?

As discussed above, there are many possible explanations for your dog’s tendency to lick the air. We’ll explore these reasons in detail below:

Stress and Anxiety

Significant amounts of stress can induce anxiety in dogs. As a result, your pet may begin to lick at the air in an attempt to dispel their anxious feelings. Owners that have a stern or harsh attitude with their dogs might induce anxiety within them.

To test whether or not your dog is licking as a result of anxiety, observe their behavior when approaching them. If your pet is used to receiving an unkind attitude from you, they may begin to pant and lick the air.

If you’re usually kind towards them – as you should be – they might not immediately start licking when you first greet them. Instead, they might begin to lick the air only after you’ve given them a few stern looks or used harsh words. 

If you suspect your dog is afraid of your attitude, try changing the way you interact with them. Treat them with kindness and speak gently or in a high-pitched voice. Do not look them in the eye or scold them. This will only upset your dog further and encourage them to keep licking at the air. 

If you’re unsure about what’s causing your dog so much stress, schedule an appointment with the vet. A qualified expert can help you get to the root of things and work towards eliminating your pet’s anxiety. 

Compulsive Disorder

We now know that a dog may begin to lick at its air because of heightened anxiety. But when it becomes a chronic problem, they may develop compulsive behavior that forces them to continuously lick the air. 

The best way to overcome this is by speaking to a qualified vet. Try and treat your dog with extra love and care during this time – they’ll be expecting it from their owner! 

Unwanted Particles Lodged in Mouth

Your dog might choose to lick at the air if there’s a small, foreign object lodged within their teeth. If there’s nothing in the teeth, you might find debris of bone or harsh foods stuck to the roof of their mouth. 

Overcoming this problem is extremely easy. All you need to do is remove the particles and thoroughly clean your dog’s mouth.

Development of Olfactory Sense (Smell)

Licking the air can help a dog improve their olfactory sense. Young dogs may lick at the air when their sense of smell is still developing. An adult dog might lick at the air to get a better idea of what its surroundings smell like. 

Unlike humans, dogs can use both their mouths (thanks to their vomeronasal organ) to pick up on the scent. Hence, they may lick at their air while flaring their nostrils. If that’s the case, you have nothing to worry about. Your dog’s behavior is perfectly normal and doesn’t require any treatment! 

Dental Issues

Dental problems can encourage dogs to lick at the air in an attempt to overcome tooth or gum pain.

If you’ve also noticed any significant changes in your dog’s eating and biting habits, they might need to see a dentist soon! Just like us, dogs require proper dental care, or else they might develop cavities, weak gums, and related dental troubles. 

Gastrointestinal Problems

Your dog may be licking at the air to combat the stress that comes with having a serious GI problem. Common gastrointestinal problems in dogs include acid reflux and acute pancreatitis. Licking at the air also helps dogs deal with their nausea, which is a common side effect of most GI issues. 

Other signs of an underlying gastrointestinal issue include vomiting, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and a sensitive abdominal region.

You’ll need to see a vet help your dog overcome their GI problems. It’s best to seek an expert’s opinion instead of experimenting with unknown medicines at home! 

How To Get Your Dog to Stop Licking Air

The first step is to successfully identify the reason behind your dog’s licking behavior. Once you’ve done this, you can use the advice given above to help them overcome it. 

However, if you feel like your dog’s licking has become obsessive and is no longer within their control, see a vet immediately! It may point towards an underlying illness or be a result of compulsive disorder, as discussed above. 

If you leave a dog’s habit of obsessively licking the air untreated for too long, it may become a permanent habit. This may stress out both you and your dog, which is why it’s better to seek medical care right away!  


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