Why Does My Shih Tzu Lick the Air?

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Shih Tzu dogs may exhibit repetitive activity if there is an issue. It can be to remove food particles from his muzzle, or it might be because of fear or anxiety. We should be on the lookout and inquire as to why a dog is licking the air.

It’s conceivable that your Shih Tzu dog needs your assistance if it constantly licks the air due to discomfort. Both physical and psychological factors may be to blame.

It could be brought on by dry skin, a change in diet, or extreme stress and anxiety. But occasionally, it might also be a warning sign for a more serious medical issue that demands rapid care.


When Is Air Licking Normal?

When they are perplexed, under pressure, or feeling anxious, dogs have been observed licking the air. You might observe that your Shih Tzu licks the air if, for instance, they are terrified of thunderstorms.

If they have something attached to the roof of their mouth or stuck in their tongues, such as peanut butter, another food, or even a piece of a toy, they may also engage in this air-licking habit. When this occurs, let them investigate by opening their mouth.

If it is caused by peanut butter residue, it is typical and you shouldn’t be concerned. Take your dog to the vet right away, though, if something gets lodged and you are unable to remove it


Why Do Shih Tzus Lick the Air Occasionally?

A dog may lick himself a few times in the air to show that he is feeling agitated or anxious.

This is an act of appeasement. Dogs will make appeasement gestures to let more dominant or aggressive dogs know they are not a threat. The dog is trying to reassure his owner if he is feeling stressed or frightened.

Let’s be buddies; I don’t want to get into a fight, your dog is saying. Avoid the need to make fun of, record, or correct him. You must reassure him.

If the dog is being trained with punishment, appeasement is probably to blame for air-licking. even slight non-physical discipline.

In this case, the dog may lick repeatedly in the air when in a training situation, being stared at or watched. He’ll usually stop air-licking when you take the pressure off.


Should I Worry If My Shih Tzu Licks the Air?

The causes of air licking up till now have been good or normal actions. But is air licking usually that harmless? No. There are occasions when air licking warns you of anything concerning, such as fear or cognitive problems. Concerning factors for air licking include the following:

  • Anxiety. Air licking can be a sign of enjoyment on one end of the continuum, but it can also be a symptom of anxiety, according to Dr. Burch. I once observed an anxious Schnauzer licking the air at a veterinary clinic’s waiting area.
  • Upset stomach. Air licking could help a dog who is experiencing nausea or acid reflux by relieving its discomfort. Just before vomiting, many dogs lick the air, their lips, or other objects.
  • A foreign body in the mouth. “I once had a Spaniel who suddenly started air licking,” explains Dr. Burch. He had a little tumor on his lower gum, which I found when I examined his mouth. My dog’s vet removed the benign tumor, and he was immediately free of air licking when he returned home that day. On another occasion, I was participating in a training session with someone’s Wheaten Terrier. When the dog arrived at the class, it was air-licking. She had a stick trapped on the roof of her mouth, running from one side to the other as I looked into her mouth. When I took away the stick, the air-licking ceased.
  • Cognitive issues. A compulsive disorder like pacing or tail-chasing might manifest as air-licking. This occurs when typical activities are repeated so frequently that they impair the dog’s functionality. As a dog ages, licking the air may also appear as a symptom of cognitive malfunction, such as in cognitive dysfunction syndrome, the canine equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease.


How Do I Get My Shih Tzu to Stop Licking the Air?

Regardless matter the cause of your dog’s continuous air-licking, you should see a vet so that you can work together to find a solution.

Your dog might lick the air because of an allergic reaction if the food is of low quality. In this instance, replace the food right away. Find measures to lessen situations that cause tension or worry if that is the cause of the air licking.

Additionally, give your dog lots of premium, long-lasting playthings for daily exercise and brush their teeth every day to boost their hygiene.

If the issue continues, go see your vet. The causes can vary, as was already noted. Keep an eye out for when your dog starts to lick the air, then talk to your vet about it. Together, you can choose the best course of action.



It’s not always necessary to be concerned if you see your Shih Tzu licking the air. The moment has come to see your veterinarian, though, if the activity persists over time and you have ruled out the usual reasons for air licking. They can assist in identifying the problem and help evaluate whether the air-licking is a symptom of a more serious medical condition that needs urgent care.

There are several causes for a Shih Tzu to have developed this tendency. As a dog owner, the first thing you should do is maintain your composure and monitor what is going on around this behavior.

Carol Jones

Carol Jones

Owner of the cutest shih tzu on earth

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