While licking air once in a while might look pretty normal for your dog, compulsive licking is not. There are some diseases that have been associated with dogs licking the air.
If lately your dog has become obsessively fixated on licking air, you should seek help. While some dogs who lick air get to stop after some time. Some just never stop. Your dog might be calling out for help and you need to respond.
Given the number of factors that surround the compulsive licking of air. Here is what you need to know about the issue of your dog compulsively licking the air.
Something stuck in the roof of the mouth
When there is some food in the roof of the mouth of the dog, they will look like they are licking the air. Peanut butter mostly sticks on the roof of the mouth of most dogs. As the dog tries to get the peanut from the roof of the mouth they will appear like they are licking the air.
For the dog, wagging their mouth in the air is subconsciously a way of removing the stuck food. Such acts are more due to the physical sensation which comes with the stuck food. Therefore before you move to other possible factors check your dog first.
The dog licking the air might be a way of seeking help with the stuck food.
A mental disorder like anxiety
Sounds funny but dogs suffer from mental disorders like anxiety too. Most times dog anxiety is a result of the surrounding factors. For example, your dog might appear to lick air compulsively when there are many people in the house.
Other times when you have loud music in the house or car he might lick the air. Also, the dog might lick air when around new people. If your dog licks air more often during such times, then he might be suffering from anxiety or stress.
Normally you might realize when the dog is anxious he will even urinate or poop around the house. With the help of an animal behaviorist, you will realize your dog will get the help he needs to overcome.
Animal behavior experts have often been of the view, skin conditions can cause licking of air. A dog with a skin condition will often lick his paws then move to lick the air.
When you see such behavior then you might be dealing with a dog with a skin condition. Your vet can at all times help fix skin conditions.
Dogs, unlike humans, can’t talk, therefore their way of communication is using communication cues like the licking of air. Once their skin condition is over and they are back to normal. You will notice no more licking air.
Taking in a strong scent
When the dog’s nose comes in contact with a certain scent, the dog will lift his nose. Once the dog lifts the nose, experts say he gets to place the molecules of the smell on his nose. From there the dog will remove his tongue in a way like he is trying to curl the tongue.
The particular position is usually to grasp the new scent. Most times the scent does not have to be a sweet scent, even the scent of feces will make the dog lick the air. Therefore once you see your dog lick air investigate the behavior.
Your dog would be signaling you to a pungent smell within the house which he actually happens to like. For dogs, a scent needs not to be beautiful to attract them. Therefore always prepare for any type of smell.
Excessive licking of surfaces disorder
Dogs who compulsively lick surfaces will compulsively lick air too. The condition of licking surfaces compulsively is ELS also known as excessive licking of surfaces disorder.
Most times ELS does not just arise. According to experts ELS and gastrointestinal disorders are among the diseases which can cause licking of air. Therefore most times dogs who exhibit ELS will often have other conditions like reflux, esophagitis among many others.
Also if your dog has suddenly lost appetite, he or she could be suffering from gastrointestinal diseases. Another symptom that you might see is diarrhea and vomiting.
If you see such symptoms then your dog starts to lick the air, then the issue might be from deep within the stomach. The air licking might also happen with lip licking.
Therefore a dog compulsively licking air is not for fun. However, sometimes it could be your dog is just playing. If the air licking goes on for some time then you need to take action.
While an animal behaviorist can help figure out the dog’s condition. At times your dog needs so much more attention.
Issues like anxiety can be taken to an animal behaviorist but ELS and gastrointestinal diseases will require a vet. Most vets will help handle your dog’s issue in record time and within a few days, he will be fine.
How to best handle your dog’s behavior
Have a journal with you for purposes of recording your dog’s behavior. When you start seeing weird behavior in your dog, take note of the timelines. Most vets will require you to give them the exact time the disease began.
Hence the vet will be aware of the amount of time the dog has been living with the condition. When all factors are put in place, handling the issues your dog is dealing with becomes easy.
Also as a pet parent, you should be able to note down what happens when you distract the pet. If after a distraction your dog goes back to normal, then you should record the same.
At times a visit to the vet might never stimulate the behavior. So all you will be saying is theory. If you have a smartphone, take videos of the dog licking the air.
If after distraction the dog’s behavior goes back to normal your vet might send you to an animal behaviorist. If the dog has an underlying condition, the vet will help give a solution through medication.