If your dog has been licking walls, you might be wondering why and what you can do about it. This post will show you a number of possible reasons why your dog might have been doing it and what you can do to get your dog to stop doing it.
So, why does my dog lick walls? Possible reasons why your dog licks walls are that it is thirsty, it’s ill and trying to soothe its stomach, doing it compulsively, it likes the feeling of the cool wall on its tongue or that it is anxious.
Since there are a number of possible causes, 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 licks walls
Below are a number of reasons why your dog might have been doing it and what would make them more likely to be the main reason.
It’s thirsty or hungry
The cause could be that it is thirsty or hungry. This is because the wall might have some moisture on it or because there is something such as food or drink stuck on the wall. This would be more likely if it does it more when it does not have access to water, it has not eaten for a while and if it does it more on a certain spot on the wall.
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.
There are a number of illnesses that can cause dogs to start licking things a lot and it might be the case that your dog has been licking walls due to an illness. This would be more likely to be the reason if it has started doing it suddenly and if it has been showing other signs of being ill such as eating less, vomiting or fatigue. In this case, the best option would be to take it to a vet.
The reason might be that it is due to an obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is where it has an irresistible urge to lick the wall so it keeps doing it. This would be more likely if it has been licking the wall constantly for a few weeks now. In this case, the best option would be to get help from a vet.
The wall is cool
The reason why it has been doing it could be because it is hot and the wall feels cool. This would be more likely if it only seems to be doing it when it is hot inside and if it has started doing it since it has started getting hotter inside.
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.
It would help to try to limit reasons why it might be anxious by doing things such as exercising and feeding it before leaving it so that it is more likely to sleep while you are away.
Things to consider
Below are some things you can consider when figuring out the main reason why your dog has been doing it.
What else happened when your dog first started licking walls
If your dog did not always lick walls, it would help to consider what else happened when it first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be the case that there was an event that caused it to start doing it. If it did start doing it suddenly, it could be due to things such as something causing it to be anxious or something getting stuck to the wall.
What is different when it normally does it
If it does not always lick walls, it would also help to consider what is different when it does not do it. For example, if it only does it when you are leaving home, it could be due to separation anxiety.
How often your dog has been doing it
It would also help to consider how often your dog does it. If it has been licking walls 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 walls
Below are a number of options you have when getting your dog to stop doing it.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
It might be the case that you have inadvertently encouraged the behavior by giving your dog rewards when it licks walls. Instead, it would help to reward your dog when it does not do it, to wait for it to stop before giving it any rewards and to try to redirect its focus when it seems likely to start doing it.
Reduce reasons why it might be anxious
Since it could be doing it due to being anxious, it would help to consider what could be causing it to become anxious and to try to limit those causes. Some things to do could be to exercise it, feed it and let it pee before leaving it alone.
Give it other things to lick
You could also give it things to be distracted with so that it is less likely to want to lick the wall. Things that you could give it could be toys, puzzle games or bones.
Get help from a vet
If your dog has been doing it excessively or it has been showing signs of illness, the best option would be to take your dog 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.