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Why Do Bulldogs Lick The Air? It’s One Of These 9 Reasons

Why Do Bulldogs Lick The Air? It’s One Of These 9 Reasons

The majority of Bulldog breed owners has at least once thought of the question: “Why do Bulldogs lick the air?

If you are also in doubt as to why your pet sticks out its tongue and wiggles it through the air, you’ve come to the right place.

Bulldogs are amazing as family pets, although their reputation might not still be as wonderful as these pups truly are.

They’re kind and open to humans, have plenty of love for their owner, love to cuddle as true lap doggies, and are more of lazy pups when it comes to exercising.

Bulldogs usually don’t show any sign of unusual behavior, except for the part when they try to lick the air.

Why Do Bulldogs Lick The Air?

english bulldog licks the air

Although this type of behavior is considered odd, it doesn’t always mean that there’s something wrong with your pooch.

If they lick the air when you scratch their back or bring them their favorite treats, you don’t have to worry about it.

However, in certain cases, Bulldogs might show this type of behavior without any apparent reason. That is why it’s important to analyze the pup and its behavior in more detail in order to recognize other symptoms which might uncover the cause for such actions.

Some of the most common causes for such behavior are:

• Intensifying of the Bulldog’s sense of smell

• Stressful situations (anxiety attacks)

• Toothache and dental issues

• Gastrointestinal problems

• Skin problems

• Compulsive disorder

• Canine Cognitive Dysfunction syndrome

• Hunger

• Food between teeth

Intensifying Of The Bulldog’s Sense Of Smell

It’s common knowledge that dogs, including Bulldogs, have a much sharper smelling sense than people because of the greater number of scent receptors. Actually, it is believed that canines have fifty receptors for one human receptor.

To put it simply… your pet can sense the smell of peanut butter ten thousand times more intensely than you, which essentially means that you won’t be able to hide it from them anywhere in the house.

Bulldogs might not have the same sense of smell as German Shepherds, but there’s a way for them to enhance it, and that is by licking the air.

READ NEXT: 12 Smells That Dogs Hate – What Smells Are Dog Repelling?

I know this might sound odd, but by licking the air, Bulldogs can direct the smell to their nose, which will enable them to have a stronger smell of their surroundings. 

Also, by licking the air, Bulldogs stick out their tongue and lift the upper lip, which results in the opening of the Jacobson’s organ – the organ in the canine’s head that enables them to have a stronger sense of smell.

Anxiety Attacks And Stress

english bulldog licks the air in the garden

A great number of pet owners aren’t aware of the fact that their beloved pets can also go through anxiety attacks and stressful situations, which might have a negative impact on their behavior.

Since Bulldogs are friendly pooches, they don’t expect humans or other animals to show any act of aggression towards them, but once it happens, there’s a high chance that the Bulldog will start licking the air without stopping.

The last thing that they expect you as their favorite “hooman” to do is scold them, which might cause your furry family member to repeat this behavior every time they see you.

To relax your pooch and prevent it from licking the air, you can assume a less-dominant attitude by avoiding eye contact and trying to talk in a gentle manner. 

Positive reinforcement is also a great way to help your pup feel relaxed again and regain its full trust in you.

Gastrointestinal Problems

I think there’s almost no canine that has never had any gastrointestinal issue during its life. The same goes for Bulldogs – a dog breed that is actually prone to these conditions as they’re rather low-energy pups.

Bowel movement is usually regulated with walks and other outdoor activities, which is why Bulldogs might have more issues with their digestive system.

If your pup starts licking the air all the time, it might just be that it’s feeling nauseous and is trying to get rid of it.

To make sure that this is the cause of air licking, you should examine your pup on a daily basis. If you notice that the air licking also comes with diarrhea, vomiting, or a lower appetite, your pet is probably having gastrointestinal problems.

The best way to resolve this issue is to visit your veterinarian and change the canine’s diet.

Toothache And Dental Issues

brown and white english bulldog licks the air

One of the most common things that most people do when they have a toothache is touch the painful spot with their tongue. This is a type of instinctive reaction that is natural for canines as well.

However, once a Bulldog discovers that it’s too painful to touch the inflamed tooth or the gums around it, the pup will start licking the air with its mouth fully open.

Dogs can’t tell us when they’re hurt or have a toothache, which is why we, as owners, need to recognize the signals that they’re giving us.

The best way to prevent such occurrences is to include dental cleaning as part of a regular grooming routine.

Also, make sure that the vet checks the health of your Bulldog’s teeth during regular visits just to make sure that your pup doesn’t have any dental problems.

Skin Problems

Itchiness, red skin, and other skin issues are quite common among Bulldogs, even though they have short fur. Unfortunately, infections often occur in dogs that have plenty of skin folds as these places retain moisture the most.

READ NEXT: Pug Skin Problems: 8 Reasons Why Your Pet Feels Irritated

Some owners might not let their pets scratch or lick the area that is infected (which is the right thing to do), which is why they will look for relief by licking the air. Another reason why the canine might lick the air instead of the itchy area is the impossibility to get to that spot.

The majority of skin issues can be treated with certain medications and treatments, but I’d always recommend consulting a vet before including any medication on your own.

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome

french bulldog licks the air on a meadow

This type of syndrome includes a dog licking the air as one of the common symptoms as this represents one of the repetitive actions.

CDS is a condition which affects senior canines that are losing their neurological function. The cells of the nervous system are slowly shutting down, which causes senior Bulldogs to repeat certain behaviors.

Other symptoms can include circling in one place, scratching the same place, staring into empty space, etc.

Generally, this type of health issue appears in canines that are over eight years of age. If you notice that your senior champ is showing signs of repetitive behavior, you should contact the vet for advice.

Compulsive Disorder

You’re already aware of the fact that Bulldogs show this type of behavior when they’re anxious.

However, air licking might turn into a daily routine if you don’t take any measures to prevent these actions, which will eventually end up as a compulsive disorder.

This is a more serious situation that will require additional consultation with a vet or a dog trainer. They will be able to provide you with more professional advice that can stop your pet from licking the air in the long term.


french bulldog licks the air

Well, hooman… if you haven’t got the idea of what I was trying to say with my puppy eyes, let me tell you I’m hungry in another way!

*Bulldog opens its mouth, sticks its tongue out, and wiggles it through the air*

You, I, and every other dog owner are already aware that our pups are hungry before their scheduled mealtime, but those furry balls will still try all of the tricks to get the dog food a bit earlier.

Licking the air is a common way for them to tell us that they want to eat. However, make sure not to give in if the time isn’t right yet or else your pup might suffer from obesity.

Bulldogs are susceptible to weight gain. This applies to all types of these canines, from English Bulldogs to Frenchies.

Licking the air while asking for food might cause dry mouth, especially if there’s not enough water in their bowl. Therefore, make sure that your pup can access water at all times as this will also trick their stomach into waiting a bit longer until it’s time to eat.

Food Between Teeth

Is there anything more irritating than having food stuck between your teeth? Well, if this gets on your nerves, imagine how much it irritates your Bulldog that can’t even take a toothpick and get rid of the issue.

But, there might be a more serious problem when it comes to canines. Considering that they spend a lot of time outside, and chew almost anything that appears in front of them, there is a high chance that they’ll end up with a small part of a branch (or shards) between their teeth or within their gums.

Bulldogs can rarely take out any foreign object from their mouth by themselves, but they’ll try hard, so don’t be surprised if they end up constantly licking the air, thinking that they’ll be able to solve the problem.

However, most of these issues are usually solved by a visit to the vet if nothing else works.

Should You Be Concerned If Your Bulldog Licks The Air?

french bulldog puppy licks the air

The question, “Why do Bulldogs lick the air”, is on the mind of every worried owner who wants only the best for their dog.

But, is there any room for worries?

Well, if your Bulldog doesn’t display this behavior too often… I’d say no, but it definitely shouldn’t be neglected.

You should always check whether there are any other symptoms along with air licking that could connect this sign to a certain condition.

Before you go to the veterinarian, you should examine your pup’s behavior and write down any symptom you might find concerning or odd, so the vet can have the full picture and come up with a diagnosis.

Bulldogs licking air can be just their way of either showing affection or dissatisfaction, but it’s better to be sure than sorry if there’s an underlying issue.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article covered all your concerns, and gave the answer to “Why do Bulldogs lick the air?

As you can see, there’s no reason for you to panic as soon as your pup sticks its tongue out as this can simply be the canine’s habit.

Still, you should leave nothing to chance, but rather contact a certified vet who will be able to clear up any doubts you might have.

If you get their favorite treat from the kitchen cabinet, or scratch them in the right place, a dog’s air licking will be an act of immense satisfaction. But, in other cases, it might also be a reason for concern if combined with other symptoms.


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