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Why Does My Dog Keep Licking the Air?

Reasons Your Dog Obsessively Licks

Some dogs tend to lick much more than others do. Most tend to lick their owner’s hands and faces, themselves, all over their food bowl, and, surprisingly, the air! That last one is actually pretty common.

Are There Any Medical Reasons?

Sometimes, a dog may be constantly licking the air due to a health issue, which can range from minor to serious, including: 

Seizures

If your dog is showing very random and different types of behavior or movements, these can be signs of a possible seizure. More subtle signs of a seizure include licking their lips, nose, or licking at the air. 

Nausea

When dogs have nausea, they may lick the air or their lips. They may even drool. This can even happen right before they vomit. 

Chronic Pancreatitis

The pancreas is an organ near the stomach that regulates blood sugar and helps with digestion. With pancreatitis, the pancreas becomes inflamed and can cause swelling and permanent damage, leading to chronic pain and nausea. These symptoms can cause your dog to excessively lick and lick the air.

Esophagitis

The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. When the esophagus is inflamed, this is called esophagitis. It can lead to pain, nausea, and burning, which can cause drooling and licking.

Pain

When some dogs experience pain, they lick the air. Pain can come from the digestive system which can lead to normal symptoms related to stomach pain, like drooling and obsessive licking.

Trauma

Certain trauma, especially trauma to the face area, can confuse a dog and cause them to rub, scratch, and lick the air. Be sure to keep an eye on these wounds to prevent infection.

Foreign Body

When dogs have something stuck in their mouths, some may lick the air. These items that can get stuck in their mouths include bones and sticks.

Dental Disease

As dental disease advances, plaque can transform into tartar, giving bacteria the freedom to create gum disease and lead to tooth loss. Signs of dental disease in dogs include anorexia, halitosis, drooling, and licking the air, lips, or nose. 

Bites and Stings

Any bites around the face or nose can cause a dog to try to comfort themselves by licking the air. These bites can come from horse flies, spiders, mosquito bites, bee stings, and wasp stings.

Skin Problems

If your dog is itching or licking the air, this can be due to skin problems. Skin problems can manifest from allergic reactions, shown in red, inflamed skin.

How to Prevent Excessive Licking

Though there are plenty of ways to prevent excess licking, like:

  • Minimizing anxiety and stress
  • Feeding a high-quality diet 
  • Offering durable, high-quality toys and daily exercise
  • Preventing exposure to garbage 
  • Brushing your dog’s teeth
  • Giving your dog a daily probiotic
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