We all know that dogs can be very intelligent animals…
But sometimes they exhibit odd behaviors…
And we’re left very confused.
For example, you might be asking yourself: “why’s my dog licking the floor?”, and as caring pet owners, we want to know what’s causing it, and if there’s something wrong with our pooch.
In this guide, we shall explore some of the reasons for these odd behaviors (and what to do about them).
Why Do Dogs Lick the Floor and Carpet?
First of all, it’s wise to rule out the most obvious cause:
Something tasty and interesting has been spilled on the floor or carpet… and your dog is keen to lick it up.
However, if this activity has become an obsessive behavior that’s causing concern, then it’s time to explore the possibility of medical issues (and it may require a trip to the vet for a full investigation of the obsessive licking).
Some of the potential causes for the excessive licking may include:
- Foreign bodies may have become stuck in your dog’s mouth.
- Dental issues (such as painful teeth or gums). You may also notice a lack of appetite.
- There’s a neurological condition triggering behavioral issues or a compulsive disorder. Neurological diseases may lead to various forms of cognitive dysfunction, and medical conditions like this may reveal themselves through compulsive behaviors.
- Your dog has a gastrointestinal issue… such as irritable bowel syndrome, parasites, or pancreatitis. (There are several studies that now point to this being a common trigger for ELS or Excessive Licking Syndrome).
If you suspect any of these conditions behind the excessive floor licking, we recommend consulting with your veterinarian right away.
Why Is My Dog Licking the Floor All of a Sudden?
If you notice your dog suddenly developing an obsession with licking the floor, there could be a number of reasons why it’s only started occurring now.
Some possible explanations might include:
A change in diet: Perhaps your dog has recently switched diets. This could lead to some digestive upset which may also trigger unusual licking behaviors.
An environmental factor: Maybe something changed at home that triggered the issue. For example, new furniture, a different type of rug, etc.
Stress: If your dog is stressed by anything going on around them, they will often seek comfort through repetitive behaviors like licking.
Boredom: For some dogs, not having enough mental stimulation will lead to obsessive-compulsive disorders (and certain breeds are more prone to this than others). A lack of exercise may also contribute to this issue.
Separation anxiety: Separating from family members or other pets can sometimes result in separation anxiety where your pet becomes overly anxious when left alone.
It’s important to keep in mind that not every animal responds the same way to stressors; some react more negatively than others.
In some cases, it may cause compulsive behavior to develop, such as the licking of surfaces.
How To Stop Your Dog Licking the Floor
When your dog has developed obsessive behavior, it’s important to take action immediately.
This will help prevent any further damage from happening.
The first step should be trying to identify what triggers the behavior.
For some dogs, obsessive behavior occurs when they’re feeling stressed or anxious.
This could be due to changes in their environment, separation anxiety, or any number of triggers that have led to excessive licking.
Additionally, keep in mind that many dogs develop these behaviors because something has triggered them – so try not to jump to conclusions about how much responsibility lies at your pet’s feet.
Once you’ve identified the root cause, here are some tips to stop your dog from lapping up the floor again:
1) If your dog seems distressed by a situation, give them plenty of attention and comfort and see if the carpet licking subsides.
2) Try using distraction techniques like toys, treats, games, etc., to distract your dog while they’re engaged in their incessant licking habit. Do they return to the habit soon after or are they happily entertained and forget?
3) Keep the area clean and free of anything that might tempt your dog to continue licking.
4) Consider consulting with a professional trainer who specializes in behavioral issues. They’ll be able to provide more specific advice based on your individual circumstances.
5) Remember that no matter how hard you work to get rid of your dog’s compulsive habits, sometimes things just aren’t going to go away overnight. It can take weeks or months before your dog stops obsessing over certain situations.
6) Take your dog to a vet if you think there’s a serious underlying issue causing the behavior. Some causes may be neurological, or gastrointestinal… and in these cases, it’s wise to consult with a professional for an accurate diagnosis.
7) If separation anxiety is contributing to the strange behavior, see if you can arrange for your dog to have more company, or try calming products that may ease their signs of stress and anxiety.
Why is my dog frantically licking?
If your dog is franticly licking themselves, it’s likely they’re experiencing pain or discomfort in that area. However, it can also occur due to anxiety or boredom.
Why does my dog keep licking the furniture?
Your dog may lick the furniture out of sheer curiosity. This is common among puppies, but most adult dogs don’t tend to do this unless they feel bored or uncomfortable.
However, if your dog keeps licking the furniture, then it’s possible they’re suffering from separation anxiety, boredom, or stress.
Why is my dog licking the ground outside?
Exploring the ground around the house isn’t uncommon for dogs. They’ll often do this when they’re checking out new territory or simply getting ready to relieve themselves outdoors.
If it’s obsessive behavior, however, it could be caused for the same reasons discussed earlier.
Why does my dog keep licking me?
It’s very normal for pets to want affection from humans.
But if your dog consistently wants to lick you and it’s becoming too much, it could indicate that they’re feeling insecure or lonely, and it may be one of many attention-seeking behaviors they have.
Try giving them lots of love and attention throughout the day and see if anything changes. Also, consider talking with a veterinarian if the behavior is unusual, excessive, or becoming a bad habit.
While we hope this guide helped answer all of your questions about why your dog is compulsively licking the floor or carpets, we know that every case is different, and there are a variety of reasons when obsessive disorders can develop.
So please reach out to your veterinarian when you’re concerned about your dog’s unusual behavior.
They will be happy to help identify what’s triggering your dog’s unusual actions, and they’re best placed to determine if there are neurological disorders or gastrointestinal disorders present.
And remember, even though your dog may seem perfectly healthy now, it doesn’t mean that a potential gastrointestinal disease isn’t linked to the constant licking behavior.
Obsessive floor licking behavior in dogs isn’t usually normal behavior, so always consult with your veterinarian if you notice any signs of illness or injury.