If your dog has been licking the carpet or floor a lot, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible causes and what you can do to get your dog to stop doing it.
So, why does my dog lick the floor? Possible reasons why your dog licks the floor are that there is food stuck there, it likes the taste, hunger, thirst, compulsive behavior, illness, anxiety or inadvertently rewarding the behavior.
Since there are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been licking the floor, it would help to consider what would make each of them more likely. Once you have a good idea of the cause, it should become easier to get your dog to stop doing it.
Why your dog won’t stop licking the carpet and floor
Below are a number of reasons why your dog might lick the floor and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
Hunger or thirst
The cause could be that it is thirsty or hungry. This would be more likely if it does it more when it does not have access to water and it has not eaten for a while.
It could also be a sign that there is an issue with its diet. It could be that it is not being fed enough or it is being fed the wrong foods and it is not getting the nutrients that it needs. This would be more likely if it has started doing it since a change in its diet or if it does it when it eats certain foods.
It would help to discuss its diet with your local vet. You can also look here to see what you should and should not be feeding your dog.
Encouraging the behavior
It might also be the case that it has learned that it gets rewards for licking the floor. If you tend to give your dog things such as treats, toys or extra attention, when it licks the floor, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is behaving the way you want, to try to redirect its focus when it is about to start licking the floor and to follow the other tips below.
The reason might be that it is due to an obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is where it has an irresistible urge to lick the floor so it keeps doing it. This would be more likely if it has been licking the floor constantly for a few weeks now. In this case, the best option would be to get help from a vet.
Illness could be what is causing it to do it since it might be licking the floor to try and soothe its stomach. This would be more likely if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
Anxiety could be what has been causing it to do it. This would be more likely if it has started doing it after something happened that could make it anxious or if it does it more at a time where it is likely to be anxious. Examples could be if it does it more when a certain person is around, when you are about to leave home or when there are loud noises coming from outside.
There is food stuck there
It might be the case that it does it because there is food on the floor. This would be more likely if it licks a certain part of the floor more and it has not been licking random parts of the floor excessively.
Things to consider
Below are some things to consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started licking the floor
If it did not always lick the floor, it would help to consider if anything else happened or changed when it first started doing it.
If it started doing it suddenly then it would make it more likely to be due to being anxious, ill or food being stuck to the floor. It would help to consider what else happened at around the same time that it started to lick the floor.
What is different when it does not do it
It would also help to consider when it does it since the timing might also have something to do with it.
If it does it more at a certain time it would be more likely to be due to things such as being anxious, hungry or bored due to not getting exercise.
How often it does it
It would also help to consider how often your dog does it. If it has been licking the floor constantly then it would be more likely to be compulsive behavior and something you’ll want to get help on from a vet or dog behaviorist.
If it does it less often then it would help to consider what is different when it does do it.
What to do about your dog licking the floor?
Below are some options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
If your method of getting your dog to stop licking the floor is to give it things that it wants such as treats or attention then it could have learned that licking the floor will get it those things.
Instead, it would help to reward it when it doesn’t lick the floor when it normally would and to reward it before it starts licking the floor and then to stop rewarding it when it does.
Ensure that it has access to water
It would also help to ensure that it has access to water throughout the day since it could be the case that it has been licking the floor due to being thirsty.
Ensure that its diet is right
As mentioned above, it could be the case that there is an issue with its diet that has been causing it to do it. You can look here to see what you should and should not be feeding your dog. It would also likely help to consult with your local vet on its diet.
Give it exercise
If your dog is not getting much exercise it might be looking for other ways to stimulate itself. It would help to make sure that your dog is able to get the daily amount of recommended exercise for its age and breed. If your dog has been getting daily exercise, another way to stimulate it would be to give it training.
Give it distractions
In addition to the above, you could also give it things to be distracted with so that it is less likely to want to lick the floor. Things that you could give it could be toys, puzzle games or bones.
If it has been licking the floor excessively or it seems like it might be ill, the best option would be to take it to a vet. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out more serious causes.
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