What does it mean when dogs lick the top of their mouth or “air lick”?

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Question by Support Our Troops: What does it mean when dogs lick the top of their mouth or “air lick”?
Whenever I go down to pet one of my dogs while she’s lying down she’ll do this thing where she licks the roof of her mouth – her entire tongue doesn’t come out.. But she’ll do it for a while when I first approach her. * She was found as a stray about 8 years ago and has known me for over 6 years.

My other dog does the same thing except his is more of an air lick/tongue over nose kind of thing. Simba was rescued, by me, from a local animal shelter.

I’m asking because I would like to know if this means something. Are they nervous, uncomfortable, am I doing something wrong? Why do they do this – is it a sign of submission?

Both of these dogs come to visit me every couple months. Both of them normally live with my aunt and uncle about an hours drive north of where I am, so I only get to see them every few months.
I just want to add – they get a lot of love from me 🙂

Best answer:

Answer by abbey89
nervouse habit alot of dogs do it. You are a dominating presence they are intimadted bc they know u r boss! just praise them and love them!

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3 comments on “What does it mean when dogs lick the top of their mouth or “air lick”?

  1. OK I am not sure but………………. Bloodhounds drool and their ears help keep moisture near the dogs nose.
    Maybe they are smelling you, remembering who you are. ??
    After all you saved their lives.
    This is just a thought.

  2. I don’t think it makes them nervous or anything, as my boxer/lab does the same thing, because he’s not allowed to lick our hands/faces. He “air licks” because he seems to lack the self control to keep his tongue in his mouth, but knows better than to lick us because he’ll get scolded.

  3. Ask your aunt and uncle if she does that. She may have learned to get pets or food that way.

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