Why Do Pugs Lick the Air?

Do you also think that wet kisses are the best? If so, you are like me: I can’t get enough of them! All dogs lick something, whether it be their pet parents, air, toys, other people, etc. Usually, it is nothing to worry about. But sometimes, if it becomes excessive, you need to pay attention to it and address it promptly. Before we cover the topic of “ Why Do Pugs Lick the Air?,” we need to take a look at the most common reasons why Pugs lick in general. 

why do pugs lick the air
Why Do Pugs Lick the Air?

Read Reading: How Smart Are Pugs?

Why Do Pugs Lick So Much?

  • They Just Love You: the best reason of all of them. If your pooch showers you with wet kisses, you are in luck! This is their way of showing their affection and appreciation for you and what you do for them. It is very cute and normally if your dog is a licker, it is a good sign. That means they are very mellow and relaxed around you.

Some people may not be into licks as much. Therefore, if you are going to have people over, it might be a good idea to train your furry pal to “curb his appetite” and stop licking when necessary. You can teach it to obey your command and cease excessive licking behavior directed towards your guests. Positive reinforcement works best at teaching your pooch the right kind of behavior (if you do what you want, you will get rewarded).

  1. Licking Themselves: they are just cleaning up. It’s like humans taking a shower, practically the same thing. Especially if Pug fellas came back from a vigorous walk or a dog run: they might feel like cleaning up a little. Nothing strange or abnormal about that, it is actually a good thing, indicating that your dog likes being clean and refreshed. 
  2. To Calm Down: licking in Pugs is like getting a massage in a two-legged world. It has a calming effect on them and sometimes puts dogs in a trance-like state. Whether something has startled a pooch or it has an anxiety problem, licking would act as an antidepressant, making your four-legged more mellow. 
  3. They Like the Way Your Skin Tastes: you may not realize that, but you can have some very tiny food particles left on your skin after a meal and a furry Pug pal might just be a little hungry. Therefore, it will lick off any food left on your face and lips. 

Also, human skin has a salty taste to it that dogs really like. Especially if you just came back from outside on a hot summer day. The sweat released from being in the sun will taste very salty, and that’s exactly what the Pug Canines are looking for.  

  1. A Way of Communicating: surprised? I bet you are. Most pet parents think that their pooch only communicates through barking. That is not always the case. Licking might act as many different messages: “I’m hungry,” “I’m thirsty,” “I need more attention,” “I love you, you know that?” Unfortunately, the two-legged can’t speak Canine, therefore we should just pay attention to our dogs’ needs and address them as they come up. 
  2. Worst Case Scenario-Medical Reasons: this is what no pet parent wants to hear. Sadly, very often, this is the case. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones.
  • Bacteria: Pugs are brachycephalic dogs, therefore those cute, but flat as pancake faces( as well as button-shaped noses) could be the reason why Pugs would lick themselves so much. They are just trying to get rid of the bacteria harboring in their nostrils and the wrinkles on their faces. If you notice this type of excessive licking around the mouth and nose, take a look at your pal’s visage. Notice any dirt, mucus, or extra saliva? Just take a clean sponge or a cloth and wipe it off really well.
  • Wounds: well, that one makes sense. If a dog is hurt, it will lick the spot to clean it off and get rid of harmful bacteria to prevent infection. After all, don’t the two-legged do the same thing? We would clean our wound with some kind of antiseptic and apply a bandage. 
  • Allergies: Pug pooches are prone to skin allergies since it is very sensitive. Therefore, if any rush or irritation surfaces, a wrinkled face will try to lick its skin to soothe it. Canine saliva has special components in it that act as analgesics, helping the pain and irritation to go away. Most often, if it is a serious allergic reaction, licking will not be enough. In this case, a four-legged would have to be taken to the vet’s office. At certain times, you will see your Pug lick…, the air. Very weird, right? So why do Pugs lick the air?
pug licking the air
Pug licking the air

Why Do Pugs Lick The Air?

  1. It Is Just a Habit: being a pet parent, you may think it’s a bad habit to have for a good-behaving Pug. Guess what? Your Pug certainly doesn’t think so. It just enjoys doing it, like humans enjoy playing volleyball, going to movies, or scuba diving. You may double-check with your Pug pal’s vet to see if any underlying medical conditions may influence the excess licking. If a vet confirms that nothing is wrong, then accept it as a part of a pooch’s quirky personality.
  2. Flehmen Response: when your Pug detects different smells in the air, it wants to taste the ones it likes and starts almost “eating” the air. A dog’s sense of smell is much stronger than a human’s, so it can pick up on a lot more scents than we can. This process is called the Flehmen response, and that’s one of the ways for the canine fella to learn about the world around it.
  3. Canine OCD: that’s right, the four-legged have it too. Obsessive behaviors can include tail-chasing, over-the-top barking, running back and forth, as well as air licking. If you notice that your furry friend goes too much into the air licking, it might be time for a doctor’s appointment to see what’s going on. Reasons for a dog’s OCD might be lack of attention from its pet parents, loneliness (if a Pug spends a lot of its time alone during the day), and an anxiety disorder. Pay close attention to your pet’s behavior when you come home. If you notice anything from the above-described symptoms, please, make an appointment with a vet or a behavior specialist (a regular dog trainer might help or guide you in the right direction).
  4. Medical Reasons: it may be dental pain, abdominal discomfort, or nausea. You may want to check your Pug’s teeth to see if you notice anything like a tartar buildup or a problem tooth. Or if you observe that your pal has diarrhea, is vomiting, or is feeling dizzy, there might be a problem with his digestive tract. Schedule a vet consultation immediately!


Most Pug licking shouldn’t be alarming. It may be simply a habit, a cleanup after a long walk, a sign of affection towards its human parent, or a way to calm themselves down. In most cases, you just accept it as is. Or if you don’t feel comfortable with needless licking behaviors, you can influence them by training your pup to curb them.

Only if you notice something out of the ordinary, that doesn’t “fit the profile” for your friend’s usual behavior (we discussed some above), schedule a vet’s consultation to get an expert opinion and get your question of “Why Does My Pug Lick the Air?” answered.

And just remember: wet kisses are the best, cherish each and everyone that your Pug pup bestows upon you.

Read Reading: How To Cut Pug Nails Without A Fuss

stuart and his dog

Family Dog Expert Author

Hi there! I’m Stuart, a devoted dog lover and family dog expert with over a decade of experience working with our furry companions. My passion for dogs drives me to share my knowledge and expertise, helping families build strong, loving bonds with their four-legged friends. When I’m not writing for SirDoggie, you’ll find me hiking, playing with my beautiful dog, or studying music.