Q:

Why is my dog licking the air?

A:

Quick Answer

Licking the air is often a compulsive behavior that helps dogs cope with anxiety, but it can also be a sign that a dog isn't feeling well. In either case, it is not a behavior that should be ignored.

Know More

Full Answer

According to the ASPCA, anxious dogs might use several different compulsive behaviors to soothe themselves. These compulsive behaviors include air licking, chomping at the air, spinning and pacing, generally in direct response to triggers that make the dog nervous. However, if a dog does not seem anxious, air licking may be a sign of physical illness. VetStreet lists several health concerns that share air licking as a common symptom. These problems range in severity from nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort to seizures. Dental pain is another common cause of air licking.

Even if a dog is simply licking the air to relieve anxiety, a dog who cannot calm down without engaging in compulsive behaviors should be brought to a veterinarian for an evaluation. In some cases, a seemingly harmless compulsive behavior like air licking can escalate into self-destructive habits that may lead to injury. While some anxious dogs might need more exercise and a better diet, others require medication to help them lead normal lives.

Learn more about Dogs

Related Questions

  • Q:

    Why does a dog lick everything?

    A:

    Many different conditions can cause a dog to lick compulsively, ranging from anxiety and a desire for attention to diseases of the adrenal, gastrointestinal, neurological or dental systems. The first step that a veterinarian takes to identify the correct malfunctioning bodily system in the dog is a total physical exam, as well as a thorough neurological screening.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why is my dog pulling his fur out?

    A:

    Perfect Paws explains that pain is the most common cause for a dog chewing its fur out, but anxiety is another common cause. Concerned dog owners should seek consultation with a veterinarian to determine whether the problem is psychological or medical and determine an appropriate course of action.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why do dogs lick people?

    A:

    One of the most common reasons that dogs lick people is that licking is a form of communication. When a dog is born its mother generally begins licking it immediately. This stimulates breathing, and is also how the mother dog cleans her puppies after their birth.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do you treat ant bites on a dog?

    A:

    Treat ant bites on dogs by applying a cool water compress to the affected area for five to 10 minutes and covering the bites to prevent licking and scratching, according to Greencross Vets. Soak paw bites in cool water prior to covering.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore