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dog licking air

Posted by brownthumbia (My Page) on
Tue, May 11, 10 at 9:30

I have mentioned this quite some time ago but I will try again. Does anyone in this whole big wide world have a dog that licks the air? I know this sounds crazy for those of you who would have no idea what this is like. I sure would like to hear from anyone that knows what I'm talking about. When I asked about it before someone suggested having her teeth cleaned, but that is done regularly so that's not the problem. I did talk to several vets about it and neither had ever heard of such a thing, although I'm guessing the one is checking on it right now.
This little sweetie will sit on the paved driveway in the middle of winter and just lick the air. It's almost like she's in a trance because when I call her to come in the house she doesn't even respond. She is a Bichon,10 years old and has been doing this for about 5 years. I also have her sister, a litter mate and she doesn't do anything like this. These dogs have their regular checkups, shots, etc. so they are not abused or ignored in any way, just loved to death. LOL. I really would like to know if anyone has a clue or of someone that has a dog that does the same. I'm sure my vet would appreciate any thoughts on the matter also. I thank you very much for any help you can give me. BT


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: dog licking air

Sounds like something is stuck to the roof of her mouth --- like a small bone or maybe peanut butter?


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RE: dog licking air

The link below may have some answers.

I'd ask the vet about using either pepcid or some carafate as a test to see if she has GERD.

Here is a link that might be useful: dog licking


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RE: dog licking air

My friends dog started doing this. Turned out she needed a teeth cleaning and her front teeth were a bit loose....


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RE: dog licking air ps

Forgot to add that it could also be a habit that has developed out of boredom/lack of exercise or anxiety. As you've seen, such habits can become so bad that the animal become 'transfixed'.

I'd rule out physical problems first, then I'd start working with diverting her attention with exercise and play the minute you see her start licking.


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RE: dog licking air

Thanks so much for your replies. I'm sure she is in good shape as she just had surgery for a stone in her bladder plus a very small hernia so she has had a very thorough physical. However because she has been doing this for 5 years I'm sure it's not something stuck in her mouth. I confess ignorance on what GERD is. Guess I never heard about that before.
One thing I did neglect to do was to mention this problem to my vet until now. I've watched her do this for 5 years and I guess I got so used to seeing it I never mentioned it to him. Actually he phoned last night just to check on how her recovery from surgery was going. I told him she was doing super well except for this air licking. He questioned me on it but had no answer for it. I did read the 'dog licking' suggested by annz and I am going to forward it to my vet. And thank you for sharing it. Any more info that anyone else might have will be appreciated. Again, thanks in advanace. BT


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RE: dog licking air

seems like I've heard that it may be a sign of a mineral deficiency or some such.

You might ask your vet.


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RE: dog licking air

This is called fly catchers syndrome. it 's cause and effect is different per breed. Try and get this behavior on video and ask your vet to do some research on it to see if a neurologist is in order.


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RE: dog licking air

Oh, my, I appreciate so much all the advice I'm getting. Cindy, actually the vet and I discussed this when he phoned me. He has ruled out fly catchers symdrome because as I described it to him the dog is not 'snapping' per se. she just licks. Another thing she does that I didn't mention, my sofa is right in front of the living room window. She sits on the back of the sofa so she can see outside and, guess what, she licks the window!!! I'm beginning to think it is something mental with her although I can't imagine what it could be. If she would have been mistreated at sometime I could accept that but she has lived only with me and I promise the world she has never been abused in any shape or form. Yeah, she curls up with me on my bed during the night. Loves to have a massage. etc., etc. again, thanks to all and we will consider any and all ideas anyone will have so don't hesitate to give your opinion. I am going shopping tomorrow and I may pick up some dog vitamins/minerals in case it is a deficiency of some sort. I'm grabbing at straws. BT


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RE: dog licking air

The first thing I thought of when I read that she seems to be in a trance, was that it was some sort of seizure. Then I googled fly catcher's syndrome after reading cindyxeus's post and that's a seizure disorder.


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RE: dog licking air

Deb, I guess I visualize them falling over and maybe losing consciousness during a seizure. I've never had any experience with it but my sister had a dog that had seizures and she would fall over and seemed to me 'out of it'. My dog just sits and licks. I just may have a one in two million dog. tyvm for your response. Wish I knew how to take a picture and send it. Maybe my granddaughters can do that so you know what I'm talking about. BT


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RE: dog licking air

Brownthumbia I know exactly what you are talking about. I have a twelve year old Boston Terrier that does the same thing. She started doing it when she was about a year old. She doesn't do it often but when she does she seems to be in a trance. I have mentioned it in the past to friends with dogs but they just look at me like I am crazy.
Marcia


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RE: dog licking air

Deb, I guess I visualize them falling over and maybe losing consciousness during a seizure. I've never had any experience with it but my sister had a dog that had seizures and she would fall over and seemed to me 'out of it'. My dog just sits and licks. I just may have a one in two million dog. tyvm for your response. Wish I knew how to take a picture and send it. Maybe my granddaughters can do that so you know what I'm talking about. BT


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RE: dog licking air

Oops, sorry for the double post. I forgot I had sent it. and Deb, believe me, I know you are not crazy. You gotta see it to believe it!! Anyhow I'm glad someone understands and knows what I'm talking about. Thanks for sharing your experience. Only thing is, my dog doesn't just do it once in awhile--she does it every day and several times a day. BT


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RE: dog licking air

Fly catching doesn't always mean snapping at, it can include just licking..and like I said in my previous post these behaviors tend to have different reasons behind the syndrome per breed. For example this behavior will usually be the cause of one thing in a King Charles Spaniel, but may be the manifestation of something else in a Cocker Spaniel or your breed.
Fluid in the eyes causing vitreous floaters is one reason ( this may explain your dog lickig the window) different metabolic disorders is another, fluid on the spine, etc. and just so you know seizures are not always part of this, it can be but it is a behavior due to something else not a disease in itself. below is a link that you may find useful, it also has a video to watch
if this were my dog I'd ask for a referal to a neurologist. Specialists know what to look for and won't be so apt to just try something but rather look for direct causes first.

Here is a link that might be useful: dog flybiting/catching


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RE: dog licking air

There are different types of seizures in both humans and animals. The grand mal type is what you're describing and what most people think of when they hear the word "seizure". There are other types that are more subtle and some that pass almost unnoticed by observers where the person or dog just stares into space momentarily and loses awareness.

One of my sisters suffers from three different types, and one type causes her to involuntarily jerk her arms and be disoriented for a few seconds.

Here's a link that describes some types in dogs:

Here is a link that might be useful: Canine epilepsy


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RE: dog licking air

I know what you are talking about.One of my bassets use to do this some.She liked to lick when we first got her and then she would just lick at the air.It always seemed like OCD with her.She did quite after awhile and I've not seen her do it in years.I also belive it could be GERD related to...


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RE: dog licking air

My husky did that just before a seizure. To me, without seeing what is going on, it sounds like a focal seizure. Especially since she isn't responsive during these episodes- sounds like it is some sort of neurologic episode.

Epilepsy is a diagnosis of exclusion. You need to exclude all other causes of seizure (focal or generalized) and you end up with epilepsy. All seizures are caused by lesions in the forebrain. The lesion can be infectious, inflammatory, metabolic, or neoplastic in nature. Metabolic problems are generally related to liver problems, which are easy to rule out with a bile acids test or blood ammonia level. The rest are harder to diagnose but being that it's been going on for a long time I'd suspect not an infection (would have either gotten over it or progressed by now), nor neoplasia (tumors tend to grow and start to cause more neurologic signs), or inflammatory (again, these tend to progress without treatment).


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RE: dog licking air

bear with me one more time..

I'm sending you some more info on floaters because A. you said it happens when he's outside and near the window. If this was gerd or Seizures it would be happening all places Anyway read this and than make sure you go to the video link at the bottom

this is about people but I think you may be able to relate this to your dog.

Floaters appear to be wormy like, threads jetting back and forth of ones vision and are generally more noticeable to patients in bright lighting conditions such as outdoor activity or brightly illuminated computer screens, binoculars, or microscopes.( with dogs think windows and car windshields) This is because the bright illumination increases the contrast between the darkness of the floater and the surrounding light, making the floaters more apparent. Floaters generally jiggle or move when the eye moves. This is because the vitreous gel is a dynamic structure and compresses slightly with eye movements. Thus, when the patient looks to the right for example, the floater may first dart to the right and then re-center as the vitreous gel returns to its normal resting position.
I'm sending this link which can help explain what the dog may be seeing and reacting to.

Here is a link that might be useful: video of floaters


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RE: dog licking air

Cindy,
I would never have thought of floaters but the fact the dog gets in a trance-like state could be because she's learned how to focus in order to see the floaters.

I have them now in my right eye and it's so annoying! It's the worst I've ever had and causes the right lense on my eye glasses to appear smudged.....then it briefly clears! Of course, it's worse when I'm at the computer.
The little floaters that look like pieces of black thread cause no problems!


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RE: dog licking air

I hear ya Annz. My daughter worked for an opthmolgist for several years so we all got a mini course here in eye issues. Also I actually had a gal on one of my dog lists a few years back that was a tech for an veterinary opthamologist and floaters came up often as reason behind certain behaviors which rang a bell with me and this particular poster's dog.


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RE: dog licking air

Gosh, thanks to everyone of you for your opinions and ideas on what my dog is doing. Boy, do I sure know about floaters. I've got enough of them myself but never thought of a dog having them. I'm going to talk to the vet again and give him all of your ideas and maybe one of his medical books will steer him in the right direction. Knowing him, he will also appreciate any and all of your ideas. He is s super vet but I guess he can't know every single thing there is to know. Again, thanks, you've at least given us some place to start.


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RE: dog licking air

Hi! I was wondering if you or your vet has come to a conclusion on why your dog licks the air? I have a cocker spaniel who does the same thing. I never thought to talk to a vet about it, if you have any info it would be great! Thanks!


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RE: dog licking air

sallybally, I am sorry I didn't get back to you---computer has been on the sick list. As far as my dog is concerned, it may be, as mentioned before, floaters but I can't say for sure. I almost think it's become a bad habit for her---sorta like humans biting their nails, smoking, pulling their hair, etc. The one thing I appreciate, as perturbed as I get watching her do this, she is in fantastic health otherwise. She is 13 years old, getting slower going upstairs, etc. so I guess I will watch her lick whatever, love her to pieces...and miss it terribly when she's gone.


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RE: dog licking air

I have a chihuahua and she sometimes reminds me of a snake. She starts licking air for twenty minutes at a time. Should I take her to the vet. She is two years old and is groomed on schedule and the groomer takes care of her anal glands and ears. She chews little rawhide sticks for her teeth. I don't know why she licks. Any ideas.


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RE: dog licking air

My Toby licks air when I scratch a particular place on his bum!


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RE: dog licking air

Dogs like many other animals have a sensory receptor. Some call it Jacobson's sensory. It allows the animal to smell certain things kind of like a snake does when he sticks out his tongue and licks the air. In a dog, it may be they are smelling pheromones of an animal that is ready to mate.


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RE: dog licking air (continued)

Dogs like many other animals have a sensory receptor. Some call it Jacobson's sensory. It allows the animal to smell certain things kind of like a snake does when he sticks out his tongue and licks the air. In a dog, it may be they are smelling pheromones of an animal that is ready to mate.


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RE: dog licking air

Our dog (Yorkshire Terrier) has been doing this for about 5 years. She is almost 8. She has all her vaccines and is well-taken car of.
Sometimes she will lick herself, and a thin, fine hair will get in the back of her throat. In order to know this, I had to actually look and wipe the troat (no easy feat) until I found what it is that she was trying to swallow. She licks and licks AND LICKS when this happens, until it apparently is gone. Then she stops and goes on about her business. She doesn't go into a trance, but stands still as she tries to dislodge it or make it go away. If we call her, she may still stand there licking, but if we try and grab her, she will move away.
I am definitely not going to take her to the vet, or a specialist, change her diet, or change anything about who or what she is or does. About the vet/specialist, they are not here when she is doing it, and I would only be paying for a guess on their part. I have already found that there is something (the hair) she was trying to get down, at least on one occasion, so I'm thinking that is the reason she is doing it every time she does it. She's a "licky" dog so she's going to gather lots of things in her mouth - especially hair.
I also think common sense plays a big part in this licking issue, and overthinking or dramatizing it might end up to be quite costly and totally without reason... and I sure don't like to spend money needlessly. Try checking your dog's mouth if possible, to see if you can find anything in the back that may be sticking to the lining. Good luck!


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RE: dog licking air

Looks like dogs might lick the air for many reasons. I have a Brussels Griffon who sometimes will lick the air mostly at the dog park. It looks like an act of submission. He used to try to lick other dogs mouths until one dog really got annoyed and put him in his place.
I've seen a couple of other dogs do the same behavior including a staffordshire terrior puppy.
The floater theory is very interesting.


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