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Why Is My Dog Licking The Floor?

There’s no question that dogs are some of the most amazing and lovable animals around!

By accepting a loveable pup into your household, you must also embrace any strange habits, behaviors, and quirks that they develop.

One of the more baffling habits you may encounter is your dog licking the floor or carpet.

Many things may cause this behavior in your beloved pet.

Most of the time, this is nothing to worry about and has a relatively simple solution.

However, in some instances, it is advised to seek the guidance of a trained veterinarian.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common reasons your dog might be licking the ground and some simple solutions that may work to help discourage this behavior in the future.

We’ll also cover some instances where there is a more serious cause for this behavior in your dog.

Interesting Taste on the Surface

If you recently dropped or spilled something tasty on the ground near where they are licking, this mystery is solved.

If that is the cause, it’s important to double-check that it’s not harmful to your pets to eat before letting them lick up whatever you spilled.

But as long as what you’re discarding is safe to eat or lick, then there should be no more licking once your pup has had its fill.

If you determine this is the cause and want to prevent it from recurring; the easiest solution would be to immediately wipe up any spills or crumbs with a pet-safe cleaning solution that will remove the scent of the food.

You can follow this up with an all-natural licking deterrent spray such as Bitter Apple or Bitter Lemon, depending on what you have available to you.

Hungry or Thirsty

If your pet is hungry or thirsty and does not have access to food or water, they may display this licking behavior as a signal to you to fill their bowl.

Anytime you see your dog licking the floor, you should ensure that they have food and water available to them.

It’s also crucial to note if your dog does not appear to be eating their food or drinking their water, as this can point to other underlying medical issues.

If you recently changed your dog’s food or feeding schedule, they may still be adjusting and may start licking the ground because they are hungry and do not specifically want to eat the new food that you have given them.

You can consider this the equivalent of a toddler refusing to eat their veggies.

If so, be sure to give them time to adjust to their new diet, and the licking should subside over time.

Attention Seeking

Let’s face it, dogs are very loving and easily attached to their humans.

There’s a reason they’re called “Man’s Best Friend.”

Sometimes they show us they are bored or want some extra affection in very interesting ways.

If they decide you have not been paying enough attention to them, they may display a wide range of seemingly random behaviors in an attempt to get you to notice them.

Your dog may be telling you they need to let out some pent-up energy to cure their boredom.

This is one of the most easily accomplished solutions of all, simply pick up their favorite ball, give it a toss, play some tug or fetch, or take them for a nice walk to stretch their legs.

Sometimes they’ll only want to cuddle or get some extra pets from you, so give them a good brushing or belly rub, and the licking should stop if this were the cause.

Scent From Other Animals in the Home

Many homes with pets do not have just one; anytime there are multiple animals in the same house, some exciting scenarios can develop.

Your dog licking the floor may be a response to an intriguing scent left by another one of your pets.

It is especially likely if the other animal is a new addition to your household.

If another animal’s scent is causing your dog to lick the floor, most likely, this habit will fade over time as your dog becomes accustomed to the other animal’s smell.

If the behavior continues, it may be a good idea to look at other possible causes of this behavior.

Stomach Problems

One of the most common medical reasons a dog may lick the ground is when they have a gastrointestinal issue.

If you’re dealing with a smaller breed of dog, they can have adverse reactions to licking carpets.

Their systems are more sensitive to smaller quantities of foreign materials in carpets, and they sometimes lick more often than larger breeds.

Carpet fibers are particularly harmful to smaller dogs, as their digestive system may not be able to process the long fibers like a larger dog may be able to.

You’ll also need to be cautious about the cleaning products you use on your floors and surfaces since they can cause stomach problems for dogs of any size.

Sore Mouth or Throat

Unlike humans, animals cannot voice when they are in pain or what is hurting them.

Some dogs may exhibit licking behavior due to having sores in their mouth, painful teeth, or a sore throat.

As their owner and caretaker, you must pay attention to the signals your pet gives you directly, but you also have to notice the more minor details that may give you vital clues about the cause of the behavior.

Your pet might need medical attention if they are licking a surface and drooling or showing other concerning signs.

We always want the absolute best when it comes to our pets.

That’s why if you notice any change in their behavior, like less energy or appetite changes, then get veterinary help immediately!

Other Medical Causes

There are many possible medical causes for your dog licking the floor, ranging from physical discomfort to ingesting harmful substances or foreign bodies.

More severe problems can also be at fault, such as pancreatitis, giardiasis, or IBS, to name a few.

Suppose none of the common causes and solutions above help reduce this behavior, or the behavior continues.

In that case, you’ll need to get your beloved pet in to have a veterinarian diagnose the main cause and work towards a solution that will stop your pet from repeatedly licking the floor.

Final Thoughts

As you can tell, there are many possible causes for your dog to lick the floor, and in most cases, it can have a straightforward reason and solution.

In the end, it is up to you to determine if you should be concerned about your dog licking the floor or if you can resolve it quickly at home.

Keep an eye on your dog to monitor this licking behavior, so you can ensure they stay happy and healthy.

If the habit worsens or persists for an extended time, it’s always a good idea to have a vet examine your K9 to rule out any possible medical causes that may not be apparent.

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National Canine Research Association of America