Dog Flicking Tongue Symptom

A dog’s quirky behavior can be entertaining to watch, and sometimes it’s about nothing more than them expressing a unique personality. Other times, however, there’s an underlying issue leading them to do seemingly strange things. One of those things is licking the air.

A dog that licks the air sticks their tongue out of their mouth and appears to lap up imaginary liquid. They’re not licking their lips like how some dogs do after dinner or when they’re nervous—they’re literally licking the air. There are a few reasons why dogs exhibit this strange behavior. Here are a few possibilities.

When displaying a Lip Lick or a fast Tongue Flick, your dog might be trying to calm herself down, or calm another person or dog out of the camera’s reach. For a dog, personal space is of great importance, and as such, Lip Licks & Tongue Flicks can be used as an indication of a personal space violation.

It May Be Sick

Sometime back, my dog started developing issues with his digestive tract. Whenever he felt like throwing up, he’d always begin licking the air.

I visited his vet, and it became clear that the medication and change in diet were the sources of the problem. Without knowing it, I had triggered digestive symptoms like bowel inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, delayed gastric emptying, and so on.

I made the switch to his original diet, stopped giving him medication, and just like that, his flickering stopped.

Another probable reason behind your dog’s peculiar behavior would be a dental injury. To be sure, take your dog to the vet for physical exams and testing. Be ready to answer any question your vet may have in regards to their flicking tendency.

It may also help to film your dog’s tongue when it flicks out, along with any effort you take to stop it. You could alternatively list down your observations, including when it happens and your dog’s reaction after the flicking.

Sign of a Partial Seizure

Sometimes flicking is associated with a kind of seizure known as a partial seizure. At this point, you’re better off taking your canine companion to the vet rather than nurse it at home and pray for the best.

Dogs tend to snap at the air or flick their tongue amid a partial seizure. The reason behind this is that partial seizures often cause a typical brain activity that triggers unnatural muscle counteractions—floating much?

In simple terms, your dog flicks its tongue because there’s a severe problem in its brain. It foams in the mouth, loses control of its body, and starts to twitch, then uncontrollably paddle its legs.

A partial seizure is not as dramatic since it’s only focused on one side of your dog’s brain. The resulting symptoms will depend on which area of the brain where the seizure occurs. Common behaviors associated with a partial seizure is biting or air licking.

Contact your dog doctor if your canine companion gets regular seizures. The vet will prescribe some medication that will stop the flicking and prevent attacks.

However, you need to understand that diagnosing a seizure isn’t as easy as you think. It requires recording the dog’s brain waves from an epileptic episode.

Because you won’t expect your dog to have a seizure in front of the vet automatically, you can film it at home as it happens. Doing so will help the vet understand how long it lasts and give a precise diagnosis.

If the medical examination doesn’t point to any physical problem, your dog may be suffering from a mild compulsive disorder.

There’s Something Stuck in Its Mouth

Imagine you’re done snacking on a tasty peanut butter sandwich, and you have some of it stuck above your upper lip. You’re going to engage your tongue in a severe round of acrobatics to try and get it off. This engagement is what your dog is trying to do.

Tongue flicking is typical behavior among dogs, especially during or after mealtimes. Since they can’t pick out things with their paws, they use their dexterous tongues instead.

If it’s a stray bit of kibble stuck on their nose or a coat of peanut butter in their teeth, know that the mysterious tongue action is temporary, and you don’t need to worry.

Dogs can also have inedible items stuck in their mouths. Stuff like sticks or toys often gets stuck in their mouths.

That’s why you must inspect your dog’s mouth to ascertain that it’s nothing serious. If it is, you’ll do well to leave it to a professional who will use something more than their pedicured nails to get it out.


What does tongue flick mean?

A tongue-flick is here defined following Ulinski (1972) and Gove (1979) as the movement of the tongue, from its appearance outside of the mouth until complete retraction. Three different stages can be defined in a tongue-flick.

Why does my dog keep licking her lips and sticking her tongue out?

Dogs lick their lips as a sign of general anxiety

Dogs communicate non-verbally and use a wide range of body language signals as well as different vocalisations and sounds to tell people and other dogs how they feel. Lip licking is often a sign that your dog is feeling uncomfortable or anxious in any given situation.

Why is my dog licking the air and twitching?

Neurological Conditions. Occasionally, air licking can be associated as a symptom of a partial seizure. During a seizure, the muscles are affecting which can cause all sorts of involuntary movements including twitching, air licking, snapping or biting.