Weird Dog Behavior

I have a 25lb golden/terrier mix dog who’s 6 and I’ve owned her since 6 months old. About a year ago she started a weird behavior where she would lick the air/her nose as if something was on it. It wasn’t very often I mentioned it to my vet and she wasn’t worried at all. It’s gotten worse and is just so strange. She typically does it when she’s sitting on the couch during the day/evening and then she’s sometimes doing it at night where she can’t fall asleep. She’ll lick and lick and lick and open her mouth all the way like a yawn but slower. Nothing to get to stop works, lightly holding her mouth closed, distracting her etc.

She’s not a neurotic type it really doesn’t seem like an anxiety based behavior to me because that’s not her personality. I have some trazodone we tried short term to see and it made no difference except for her it knocks her out and she just sleeps all the time.

I got some good video of it and took her back to my vet who was less than helpful. She said it looks just behavioral not physical, I had to press her to actually do an exam of her mouth and she found nothing. Her breath is weird to me and not how it was a few years ago. It’s hard to describe but a little sour smelling? She’ll burp as well. She said reflux could be an issue. I’ve tried changing her food with no change, we also added omeprazole with no change. My vet also said maybe it’s a tiny seizure which doesn’t fit for me because there are no other symptoms right now. She basically left it as she has no clue and unless other symptoms come up there’s nothing we can do.

She does have hip dysplasia and has been on pain meds in the past but is maintaining without meds right now.

I’m looking for any ideas or suggestions. I’m thinking of going to a different vet for a second opinion but I’m not sure if it should be another general vet or a specialist. I can just tell she’s not 100% comfortable and looking to me to make it stop.

Maybe a nasal scope could be done? My parents’ dog had a nasal tumor and it seems like this was part of her early symptoms. I’ve also seen a dog with a tumor very far back on his tongue that was causing some similar behavior. Perhaps the burping is created from all this nose licking, too, or is a part of it. I’m sure people with more experience than I have will have ideas for you too.


Agree with OnAMission on all accounts. This sounds like something going on in the nasal cavities or possibly upper teeth to me, either a polyp or infection. The burping could very well just be from her swallowing excessive air while licking.

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Post this on Pet Vet Corner on Facebook. I would suspect tummy issues or neurological?

Quick Google;


Can you post a video of the behavior?

I second this. My dog would lick the roof of his mouth like he had something stuck up there turns out he had a nasal tumor

I’ve never posted a video let’s see if this works, I had to shorten the length for a smaller file size.

For a nasal tumor can my regular vet do that testing? Should I try a new vet or a specialist?

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I’d go a with a specialty clinic and have some scans done. Also, she is freaking adorable!

Ask your vet if a round of phenobarbital would be worth it to see if that controls the behavior?
My little rat terrier started having odd seizures, she would be walking along and suddenly stop, leg in mid air and move her head oddly, some times licking to the side, for a bit, then continue.
Our small animal vet put the video on VIN and neurologists said it could be seizures, try medication.
It worked, she was on medication for seizures for a couple years, then we tapered it off and she never had any more, lived to 14 1/2 years old.

May be worth trying that?

Thanks for the suggestions if anything I just feel validated to persue it further I had to really push to get her to even try to look for anything. I absolutely love the practice but think I need to switch which vet we see because she’s very very conservative. My IVDD dog had a disc episode and appointments for the neurologist were a month out and I had to really argue with her to get short term pain meds prescribed.

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That dog looks nauseous to me. Licking because she’s salivating, you can see her swallow several times.

I’d be so curious what happens with a dose of zofran.

How’s her appetite been through all this?


She eats everything and anything she can she’ll never miss a meal. She’s actually been on my other dog’s prescription gastrointestinal food as a few month trial to see if it helped but there was no difference between foods. I will say the last 2 weeks she’s thrown up twice for no apparent reason. She’s on tractor supply beef and rice right now.

They can certainly eat through nausea, the vomiting is interesting.

I’d dose her with zofran were she mine and see what changed, but I always have zofran around :rofl:

I’d ask the vet about ruling out nausea as a cause here. You’ve had her on omeprazole with no change, right? Did you ever try pepcid? If the vet will rx zofran, that would be cool, but even a course of cerenia should be telling.

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It doesn’t seem like seizure activity to me IMO. She is conscious and responsive to the environment.

You also usually see more prominent drooling when drooling due to nausea. Almost foamy at the mouth. Famotidine is safe to try and OTC if it is possibly nausea.

It could potentially be an allergenic component. Usually with allergies you will see clear nasal discharge, sneezing, licking the paws, chronic ear issues, scratching, clear ocular discharge - but not all symptoms have to be present. You could safely try benedryl at 1mg per pound, max of 50mg up to every 8 hours and see if it tapers the behavior.

If your regular vet has access to radiographs, they could do radiographs of the skull and snout to help rule out potential tumors if you are concerned about that.

Sooooo she knows we’re talking about her :sweat_smile: she refused the second half of her dinner. I gave her some of the other dog’s new gastro dry food and she wolfed it down. I’ll switch her to that and see what happens. I’ve tried Zyrtec but not Benadryl, she doesn’t have any other allergy symptoms and I’ve owned a few dogs with allergy issues. I think I’ll try famotidine first since it’s otc to see if it’s nausea first. Then I’ll try Benadryl and if neither works I’ll make an appointment with an internist vet. The other meds suggested require a prescription and I’d rather go to the specialist than my regular vet if I need a prescription.