Why Does My Dog Lick the Floor?

It might be a source of irritation for you, or it could be that youre just be curious as to why your dog is licking the floor all of a sudden. They might do it after eating, before puking, at night, or just randomly either way, floor licking is a very common habit for dogs.

However, if a dog is regularly licking the floor, it can quickly turn into an obsessive behavior trait and become problematic. Although allowing your dog to lick the floor sometimes isnt always bad, when it becomes a constant occurrence it can be stressful for both owner and pooch.

In fact, dog tongues contain millions of sensory cells, which gives them the ability to detect tastes that are undetectable to humans. As obvious as this might sound, the main reason they do this is because they are searching for extra food that us messy humans leave behind. Likewise, if you have young children, dogs will often lick the floor around where they have eaten obviously due to most babies or toddlers messy eating habits.

Handy Hint: If you also see your dog rubbing his face on walls as well as the licking, then it could be down to what I discuss in this guide . According to a recent Canadian study , a majority of dogs who licks floors have some sort of gastrointestinal problem. Thankfully, with medication and the potential elimination of trigger foods, ELS can easily be brought under control.

If your dog is licking the floor due to an obsessive habit, there are a couple of things you can do to combat this behavior. Recognizing when your dog is in this state can help you to comfort them and in turn, stop chronic licking from getting out of control. In contrast, stressed dogs may pace around, shake, or show wide eyes and dilated pupils.

To further help your dog relax you can teach them a routine made up of rudimentary tricks such as sit, lie down, and heel. It is also important to remember that if a dog has used licking to communicate for most of its life, it will be hard to train this habit out of them. Their saliva contains enzymes that kill off bacteria, which helps them to get rid of dead tissue as well as clean any dirt from wounds.

Likewise, there is evidence to show that licking can also have a positive effect on combating E.coli, and other harmful bacteria such as Streptococcus canis, which can be passed from dogs to humans. Although this type of behavior seems harmless at first, just like licking the floor, this can quickly turn into an obsessive habit if left unchecked.

Why is my dog licking the floor all of a sudden?

At times, dogs will lick the floor because they are bored or anxious. … After some rigorous play, your dog should start to become tired and this will probably stop them licking for at least a little while. Sometimes dogs will lick obsessively when they are stressed or anxious.

What do I do if my dog keeps licking the floor?

Many of these gastrointestinal disorders are uncomfortable or painful and may lead to more severe consequences. Especially if left untreated. This is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to have your pup examined by a veterinarian if they’re constantly licking the floor or carpet.

What happens when your dog licks the floor?

If your dog is licking abnormal places, such as the floors or the walls, or if your dog is licking his/her lips frequently, these can be a signs of gastrointestinal upset. … Dogs can also have behavioral causes of excessive licking, such as anxiety or a type of obsessive disorder where they over-groom themselves.

Why does my dog lick the floor and carpet?

Sometimes when dogs are feeling anxious, depressed, or stressed they can act out in terms of licking. Boredom, too, can be a reason that your dog has taken to licking the carpet. Other factors for constant floor licking could be canine dementia, physical discomfort, or neurological problems.

Have you noticed that your dog has recently started licking the floor for no apparent reason? Believe it or not, floor licking is actually fairly normal behavior for most dogs. There are a variety of reasons they use their mouths to explore, and most of them arent likely to cause your pup harm.

These included disorders such as chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas and associated illness), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), delayed gastric emptying, and giardiasis (a parasitic infection). Dental disease (eg gum disease, loose, fractured, or infected teeth) Traumatic injuries (eg penetrating injury from chewing on a stick) A foreign object stuck in the mouth e.g piece of bone Ulcers of the stomach Oral tumors that may cause discomfort or pain

Your veterinarian will carefully examine your dogs mouth in consultation but in some cases, sedation or general anesthesia may be required to fully assess the area. Older dogs licking the carpet may be starting to experience canine cognitive dysfunction changes related to brain aging, similar to dementia in humans. Dogs that develop Pica and eat non-digestible items may be more prone to ELS.Pica should be treated as a serious condition that warrants further investigation.

The items your dog swallows with this condition could be toxic or cause a blockage (intestinal obstruction). There are a number of underlying medical conditions that can cause excessive carpet or floor licking in dogs. Many of these conditions cause nausea, pain, or discomfort and can have severe consequences if left untreated.

These tips may help your veterinarian piece together the puzzle of why your dog has decided to start exhibiting this behavior. Certain breeds tend to be prone to particular compulsive behaviors such as spinning in Bull Terriers, which suggests genetics may also play a role. Dogs that get anxious and bored, will often exhibit other problem behaviors.As discussed previously, ELS can become a displacement behavior to alleviate stress and anxiety.

Boredom resulting from a lack of environmental stimulation can also cause these signs, often combined with the destruction of the carpet or walls. Though we know there is a strong link between ELS and gastrointestinal tract disorders, the precise mechanism as to why dogs exhibit this behavior when feeling sick is unknown . Depending on your dogs unique situation, your vet may recommend blood and urine testing, x-rays, ultrasound examination, and even MRI or CT if they are concerned about a neurological disorder .

Excessive licking of surfaces (ELS) warrants a trip to your veterinarian as it is often indicative of an underlying medical condition or behavioral disorder.

Dogs take in their surroundings with their tongues just as much as their eyes and ears, meaning that theyre prone to licking anything in sight. Whether its your face, the

If your dog is licking the floor suddenly, they may be bored, anxious, or lack nutrition. There are also a number of medical problems that cause a dog to lick the floor, such as Cushings disease, liver failure, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

But in the meantime, make sure youre keeping the floor clean and arent using any harsh chemicals that could hurt your dog when ingested. Anytime your dog begins to act strangely or has a change in behavior, its a good idea to bring them into the vet for a check-up. Things like licking might not seem like a big deal, but they can be a medical symptom, especially if the behavior arises suddenly.

But just in case, make sure your dog isnt just cleaning up some food or drink thats spilled onto the ground. A bored dog can form many bad habits that help them release energy, and one of these is obsessive licking. Maybe its you leaving for work, guests staying at your home, or a life change thats happened recently.

anxious dog feels separated from its ownerYoull have to teach them that you leaving is nothing to fear. One method you could use is to desensitize your dog to the steps they associate with you leavingsuch as opening the front door or picking up your keys. If a lack of nutrition is your dogs problem, a simple change in diet should be able to stop their floor licking habit.

A small study showed that almost three in four dogs with excessive licking behaviors have a gastrointestinal disease. Paying attention to the smaller signs, like your dog licking the floor suddenly, can help you and your veterinarian to catch an illness or disease in its early phases while its still treatable. Be sure to mention how long your dog has been licking the floor, what kind of food theyre eating, and anything else youve noticed about their behavior.

Whether a dog is licking their paws, their pet parents, or the furniture, its an odd quirk that can be irksome for owners. And when it comes to licking, dogs often like licking surfaces, like the carpet, or the floor. The question is: why? What are some of the reasons for this obsessive dog behavior? There are several reasons some are relatively harmless; others could be a cause for concern.

While too much fat or calcium in the blood are the more common causes, obesity and licking toxic materials (such as rancid foods) can also be a contributing factor. As the name implies, delayed gastric emptying occurs when food doesnt move through your dogs digestive system at the proper rate.

A dog with separation anxiety will sometimes obsessively lick the floor, carpet, a body part, or something else as a sort of coping mechanism. Youll have to make sure the spray isnt too hot, of course, because you dont want to run the risk of your pet burning their tongue or skin. Learn More: The New Ultimate Pet Vet YouTube Channel with Dr. RichterBest Family Dogs for Kids: 8 Breeds You Dont Want to Miss Sources 1.http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diseases-conditions-a-z/whydoesmydoglick-so-much 2.https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/common-conditions/treating-dog-anxiety/ 3.http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/how-to-tell-if-your-dog-is-anxious-or-stressed 4.https://www.journalvetbehavior.com/article/S1558-7878(11)00122-5/abstract 5.http://www.vetstreet.com/our-pet-experts/be-on-guard-against-giardia 6.https://www.petmd.com/dog/conditions/endocrine/c_multi_pancreatitis 7.https://wagwalking.com/condition/delayed-gastric-emptying 8.http://www.annarbor.com/pets/els-excessive-licking-of-surfaces-dogs-canines-study-gi-gastrointestinal-disorder-illness/ 9.https://www.dogster.com/dog-training/bored-dog-signs-how-to-keep-him-active 10.https://www.petmd.com/news/health-science/why-dogs-lick-and-when-worry-34301 11.https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/compulsive-disorders-in-dogs 12.https://www.petwave.com/Dogs/Behavior/Licking.aspx

Conclusion

Most dogs will lick the floor from time to time. After his meals, my dog will lick obsessively on the floor around his bowl in a meter radius – he is determined to get every last morsel of food!However, as I’ve now established, the behavior could be the a problematic health issue, so if in any doubt always talk with your vet.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

A study conducted by the University of Montreal revealed that 14 out of 19 dogs with ELS were also found to have gastrointestinal tract abnormalities. These included disorders such as chronic pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas and associated illness), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), delayed gastric emptying, and giardiasis (a parasitic infection).When the underlying gastrointestinal disorder was treated,

Neurological Disorders

Any injury or condition involving the teeth, mouth, or gums could alsoYour veterinarian will carefully examine your dog’s mouth in consultation but in some cases, sedation or general anesthesia may be required to fully assess the area.

Pica and Polyphagia

Is your pup actually trying to eat unusual and inedible objects like your drywall or carpeting? This behavior is known as pica. Dogs with pica often eat smelly items like socks, towels, or underwear. Sometimes they may eat wood because of the texture. They may also bePica should be treated as a serious condition that warrants further investigation. The items your dog swallows with this condition could be toxic or cause a blockage (intestinal obstruction). Like ELS, pica is also aPolyphagia (increased appetite) due to diabetes or the use of steroids is just one potential cause. Even behavioral issues such asThere are a number of underlying medical conditions that can cause excessive carpet or floor licking in dogs. It’s important to have each one of them

Behavioral Disorders

When taking your dog to your veterinarian for carpet or floor licking, it can be really helpful toKeeping a diary and taking note of any

Compulsive Disorders

Compulsive disorders are characterized byCompulsive behaviors seen in dogs include licking or over-grooming but can also include spinning, tail-chasing, mouthing, freezing, constantly pacing, and self-trauma. Certain breeds tend to be prone to particular compulsive behaviors such as spinning in Bull Terriers, which suggests genetics may also play a role.

Anxiety and Boredom

As discussed previously, ELS can become a ‘displacement behavior’ to alleviate stress and anxiety. You might notice your dog starts licking the carpet in response to a particular trigger. This might be a loud noise, or someone yelling. However, these triggers are not always easy to spot.Dogs will also lick their paws or ‘overgroom’ in response to

Environment

Make sure that your dog’s home environment has the resources to keep themCan they relax? Think low lighting and calming music. Pheromone diffusers designed to help with anxiety are also available from vet clinics and pet stores.

Behavior Modification Techniques

A plan to integrate behavior modification techniques should be put in place by your veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist. This plan will be

Medication

For many dogs, medication will also be required to help manage behavioral disorders such as anxiety. Medication does not replace the importance of

Dirty Floors

Hopefully, you either have clean floors or know when your dog is licking up a spill. But just in case, make sure your dog isn’t just cleaning up some food or drink that’s spilled onto the ground.Your dog will definitely start licking the floor suddenly if the ground tastes like a treat!

Boredom

Think about how much exercise your dog is getting. Are you spending enough time tiring them out, or are they bored with no way to release their energy throughout the day?A bored dog can form many bad habits that help them release energy, and one of these is obsessive licking.If you don’t know how much exercise your dog needs, try looking into their specific breed for some guidance. Almost all dogs should be getting daily walks, though the duration may vary. They should also have toys to play with in your home.Larger breeds should have outdoor space in which they can roam, while smaller dogs will have an easier time burning off energy inside your house.Some breeds, especially those with a short snout, have trouble exercising or going outside in hot weather. This is because they have been bred poorly, which affects their ability to breathe and regulate their body temperature.For these dogs, you may have to find ways to exercise them inside, especially during the summer months.

Anxiety

A dog who licks the floor obsessively might have anxiety. Licking can be a coping mechanism to burn off their nervous energy.If you think your dog has anxiety, it’s important to pay attention to what makes them anxious. Maybe it’s you leaving for work, guests staying at your home, or a life change that’s happened recently.Once you’ve identified what triggers their stress, you can begin finding solutions. For example, if your dog gets anxious when you’re about to leave home, they likely have separation anxiety.You’ll have to teach them that you leaving is nothing to fear. This is a lengthy process that requires a lot of patience.One method you could use is to desensitize your dog to the steps they associate with you leaving—such as opening the front door or picking up your keys.If your dog is nervous around guests, perhaps they need to sit near you to feel comfortable, to be fed treats by your guests to get used to having other people in your home, or to have a comfy place, like their crate, to go to where they can feel safe.

Lack of Nutrition

Like humans, dogs can sometimes eat inappropriate things when they’re malnourished. In this case, your dog is licking the floor instead of eating something inappropriate, but it’s the same concept. They’re subconsciously trying to receive the nutrients they’re lacking.A great way to figure this out is to bring your dog’s food, or a photo of it, to your veterinarian. They can tell you if it contains everything your dog needs to thrive, or if it’s missing key ingredients.If a lack of nutrition is your dog’s problem, a simple change in diet should be able to stop their floor licking habit.

Other Health Problems

A small study showed that almost three in four dogs with excessive licking behaviors have a gastrointestinal disease. This study only included nineteen dogs, but it’s still compelling evidence that your dog may need to see their veterinarian.It’s possible your dog ate something they shouldn’t have and now feel sick or have an obstruction in their digestive system. Pain in the mouth can also cause excessive licking.A dog licking the floor may also have other underlying health problems, such as Cushing’s disease, liver failure, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).This is why it’s incredibly important to bring your dog to the veterinarian when a sudden change occurs in their behavior—seemingly innocent symptoms can be the key to diagnosing life-threatening illnesses.Paying attention to the smaller signs, like your dog licking the floor suddenly, can help you and your veterinarian to catch an illness or disease in its early phases while it’s still treatable. This can literally be the difference between life and death for your pup!

Stress

A dog licking a carpet, or anything else, over and over again could be a sign of stress.Dogs with floppy ears will sometimes move them back a bit if they’re stressed. If they have short ears, they might either lay flat, or be more erect than usual. The lips are also good indicators of dog behavior. If a dog is feeling stress, they might appear to be grimacing. Other signs of possible problems are growling, barking, or whimpering more than normal.

Potential Health Problems

Sometimes, a dog licking in an obsessive fashion can be the sign of some type of health issue. Compulsive licking doesn’t just mean a dog licks the floor or carpet. It can also refer to licking their paws, or another part of their body. Compulsive licking can, in some instances, be an indication that something is going on that needs to be addressed by a vet. In one study, researchers looked at 29 dogs. Nineteen of them licked obsessively. The researchers found that 14 of the dogs with excessive licking issues also had an underlying gastrointestinal issue, such as giardiasis, pancreatitis, or delayed gastric emptying. After addressing the problems, the researchers continued to watch the dogs for three months. Licking was substantially reduced in 10 of the dogs who were diagnosed with stomach problems.

Giardiasis

Giardiasis is a condition caused by a parasite that infects the intestinal tract. This can not only lead to weight loss and lethargy, but also vomiting and diarrhea. Dogs with giardiasis will sometimes show no signs of the problem, however. When a dog drinks contaminated water, the parasite gets into their small intestine. Other areas where the giardia parasite is found include soil and feces.

Pancreatitis

This is a severe health problem that affects your dog’s pancreas – an organ that plays a major role in helping their body break down the food they eat. The pancreas secretes digestive enzymes that help with digestion. If the pancreas becomes irritated, digestive enzymes can move into your dog’s abdomen. This often leads to the enzymes actually breaking down other organs, such as the liver and kidneys. As you might well imagine, pancreatitis in dogs can, in some extreme cases, be fatal. Symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea. While too much fat or calcium in the blood are the more common causes, obesity and licking toxic materials (such as rancid foods) can also be a contributing factor.

Delayed Gastric Emptying

As the name implies, delayed gastric emptying occurs when food doesn’t move through your dog’s digestive system at the proper rate. This movement is also known as gastric motility. If your dog vomits undigested food around 12 hours or so after eating, this is a sign of a problem. A dog’s stomach should be empty anywhere from 6-8 hours after a meal. Lack of appetite, sudden weight loss and repeated belching are other signs of delayed gastric emptying. One potential contributing factor to this condition is an intestinal blockage.

Boredom

There are some instances where a dog licks compulsively simply because they’re bored. Licking is one common outlet for a bored dog, as is chewing. This type of dog behavior can be troublesome, but it can also be fixed. The first thing you should do if you suspect you have a bored dog is to make sure they’re getting as much exercise as possible. Some breeds are much more energetic than others, and the high-energy breeds can become easily bored as a result. Instead of watching your dog licking the carpet all day, get outside and play with them! Hide-and-go-seek and fetch are just two of the activities that dogs just love. You might also want to consider getting some new toys every once in a while, so your best buddy will have something different to play with. Doing so will help keep them happy and active.

Separation Anxiety

A lot of dogs can’t stand being away from their owners for any extended period of time. Separation anxiety is, unfortunately, common among dogs. A dog with separation anxiety will sometimes obsessively lick the floor, carpet, a body part, or something else as a sort of coping mechanism. Some researchers believe that when a dog licks something, it releases endorphins in their brain. These chemicals help calm the dog down. The more a dog licks, the more often these endorphins will be released. The more these endorphins are released, the more the dog will lick.

How to Stop Dog Licking Behavior

If you’ve had enough dog licking around your home, you’ve ruled out a medical cause for the bad habit, there are a few things you can try. One method is to make your home environment as stress-free, yet stimulating, as possible.If it can’t be removed (for example, if the source is a new pet, or a new baby recently introduced to the home), there are other ways to address the issue.

Wrapping it Up

As annoying as obsessive licking can be, it’s important to focus on determining the reason or reasons behind it. Don’t get angry with your dog. Find out why it’s happening, and then take the steps necessary to stop this frustrating dog behavior. If your vet has ruled out any sort of health problem, ask them what you can do to address other potential reasons why your dog continues to lick.