Are you wondering why your dog licks the floor (constantly, all of a sudden, or sometimes)?
In this article you’ll find out the answer to that. And:
- 7 burning questions about dogs licking the floor – answered.
- In what way a noisy and stressful environment is connected to your dog’s licking.
- How licking the floor could be dangerous to your dog (real-life experience example).
- 7 easily-implementable tips to ensure a safe environment for your dog (check out the bonus at the end).
- And more…
7 questions answered
#1: Why does my dog lick the floor constantly / all the time?
Your dog licks the floor constantly/all the time because they’re likely suffering from ELS (Excessive Licking of Surfaces). Besides licking your floor, your dog could also lick the walls, furniture, and other types of objects they have access to. If it happens often, it indicates something’s wrong.
#2: Why does my dog lick the floor sometimes?
If your dog licks the floor sometimes, it could be because of fallen food leftovers. Or a spilled drink. And also due to a floor-cleaning detergent that hasn’t been properly washed away with water. Inspect the floor to eliminate the possibility of your dog ingesting something they shouldn’t.
#3: Why does my dog lick the floor after eating?
Your dog licks the floor after eating either because they’re likely suffering from a nutritional deficiency. Maybe the quantity of food they eat is not enough to meet their size and exercise needs. Or, the reason is quality. Another possibility is that they can’t absorb certain nutrients.
#4: Why does my dog (constantly) lick the floor and carpet?
Your dog (constantly) licks the floor and carpet because they could have developed an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It could have started with your dog eating tasty food leftovers fallen on the floor and turned into a compulsion. It could also be due to stress and anxiety.
At this point you might be asking yourself whether it’s bad for your dog to lick the carpet.
Even thought it might seem harmless at first, there are some ways in which this activity could harm your dog. Especially when your dog does it constantly.
Certain dangers include:
- Irritation of the mouth and/or tongue.
- Open wounds prone to infection.
- Ingesting fibers.
The consequences could be:
- Weight loss.
- Loss of appetite.
- Weakened immune system.
- Blockage of the digestive tract and infections.
Warning: Small dogs are at greater risk of suffering from ingesting a dangerous item has fallen on the carpet. Or a carpet fiber.
That’s why it’s crucial to address the issue and prevent thne behavior.
Why does my dog lick the floor and furniture?
Your dog might lick the floor and furniture due to a medical issue called Excessive Licking of Surfaces – ELS for short. This could be a sign of a gastrointestinal issue – GI for short. This can be fixed by changing the dog’s diet. The goal is to eliminate any foods that upset the stomach.
Behaviors such as frequent licking of the floor, wall, blankets, and paws are all linked to Excessive Licking of Surfaces (ELS).
Canadian research concluded that most dogs who do it have a gastrointestinal issue (GI). It’s the most common reason for this behavior. Licking excessively is a sign of pain or dysfunction of the stomach and intestines.
When treated, 60% of dogs got better. More than half of them stopped with excessive licking completely.
Other medical issues that lead to excessive licking are:
- Cushing’s Disease.
- Liver disease/failure.
#5: Why does my dog lick the floor and walls?
Your dog could be licking the floor and walls due to a condition called pica. Or because of a psychological reason such as anxiety, stress, or boredom. In such a case licking is an expression of how the dog feels. Another possibility is that your dog lacks minerals and is trying to compensate.
One pet parent shared in a forum that this has happened to his dad’s dog. It turned out the pooch was lacking minerals. It’s likely for a dog with a deficiency of minerals to lick chalk walls for example.
So, the advise he gave other people experiencing the same was to switch from tap to bottled water.
Another dog lover jumped in. They added that they call dogs who lick the walls and floor Neurotic Lickers. Such dogs would lick because it’s became a habit of theirs.
#6: Why does my dog lick the floor at night?
Your dog licks the floor at night because their dinner has upset their stomach. Or, if several hours have passed after this happens, it could mean that your dog is hungry again. You could try changing your dog’s diet or food schedule. If dinner is early, you can add a small night snack.
#7: Why does my dog lick the floor when lying before puking?
Your dog licks the floor when lying down before puking because they’re nauseous. If gastrointestinal upset happens occasionally, there’s probably no cause for concern. You have to observe if there’s anything particular about the vomit and inform your vet of this in any case.
7 tips to stop your dog from licking the floor
#1: Ensure the floor has no food, spilled drink, or cleaning detergent on it
That’s how you eliminate the possibility of your dog licking something specific off the floor.
Again, I can’t emphasize enough on this. It’s very important to keep the floor clean of any types of human food. And of spilled liquids or aggressive detergents.
Read what happened to Lissa (my long-haired Chihuahua MIni Spitz mix) to find out…
Lissa and the insecticide
Lissa has a thing for eating all the food she can find. And like a dog (with a superior sense of smell than all humans), she is always looking for something to taste.
Unfortunately, that was the case after a pest exterminator had visited our home to secure it from ticks.
In the summer of 2020, when it was tick peak season, I and my boyfriend found 3 flat ticks on our bed…
I mean, imagine watching Netflix, cuddling with your dog, and enjoying some pizza. It was our small idyll until…
I noticed something black on Lissa’s head. I brushed it off, and while I was about to pick it up, I saw it moving! There was a smaller moving dot next to the bigger one. And even one on my boyfriend’s chest…
Our idyll had suddenly turned into a nightmare. Because of this, we were forced to spend the night in a hotel. We left a light on and some calming music for Lissa.
The next day the exterminator came and sprayed our home.
He saw we have a dog. So, he specifically advised me to wash the floor two times (and let it dry) before I let the dog in. And so I did.
Everything seemed fine the next day. We were all in the apartment. Chilling. Until Lissa suddenly started to lick the floor.
Lissa’s body started moving convulsively. She started coughing as if she was choking and trying to get something out. And foam started coming out of her mouth.
The guy had warned me that if the dog ingests the insecticide, this will happen. He also advised me to get activated charcoal.
So, I rushed to the pharmacy the moment that happened. I had to wait for about 40 minutes before the opening time as it was too early in the morning.
Meanwhile, I got in touch with the only 24/7 vet clinic in the region. They told me I could take the dog after an hour and 10 minutes. That’s because the clinic couldn’t accept any emergencies during the night shift at the moment.
I was starting to panic but managed to keep my calm. I gave Lissa the activated charcoal but she couldn’t ingest it. As soon as she’d drink water (with or without it), she’d vomit…
When I took her to the clinic they took her in immediately. I gave them all the information they needed to know such as the name of the insecticide.
The vet looked it up on the Internet and saw the ingredients. It turned one of the main ingredients was used on dogs and cats externally. It’s in the form of drops. Vets put it on animals’ necks so they won’t have the chance to lick it off and poison themselves.
Luckily, after just one day at the clinic, we could take Lissa back. She was in good shape. They had stabilized water intake. And she had an appetite and could drink again.
But all of this taught me a valuable lesson that you can never be too careful with keeping the floor clean. And that it’s best to clean the floor only with water. This will ensure any detergent traces that are left are not concentrated to a level that could intoxicate your dog.
#2: Your best bet is the vet
I had already mentioned this in Lissa’s story. It’s the most logical thing to do after taking action at home from your side.
Regardless of whether your dog eats or licks something they shouldn’t just head to the vet. It can be difficult to figure out the cause of licking on your own.
So, better rule out any serious medical conditions as soon as possible. And with professional help.
To make the life of your vet easier and go the extra mile…
Prepare a fecal sample
Get a fresh fecal sample. The vet will run a fecal panel test and examine it. It will help your vet determine whether your dog has any internal parasites.
Your vet could also suggest X-Rays and blood testing to see if belly upset is the reason for licking.
#3: Help your dog alleviate anxiety
To help your dog alleviate anxiety, try to find out what’s stressing them out. If you have no clue, ask your vet for advice.
In case your vet confirms it’s anxiety or OCD, ask them if it’s okay to use natural calming products.
If you get your vet’s ‘YES’, you can choose from calming treats to water drops, collars with pheromones, and even thunder shirts.
Note: These products could have some side effects. but in general, they’re known to have little of these or none at all. They’re considered safe and appropriate when beginning treatment.
#4: Keep a calm environment
Dogs are very sensitive creatures. If something is off with your mood or the family relationship, they will sense it.
That’s why I’d advise you to act as calm as possible around your dog. They pick up human emotions. A study has proven that your mood can influence your dog’s mood.
That’s the case if you’re under constant stress. Eventually, your dog will become stressed too.
#5: Get rid of boredom
To get rid of boredom at home, get puzzle, and chew toys. Also, take them to doggy daycare.
Another thing you can do is boost mental stimulation by teaching commands, and new tricks. It’s fun, easy, when done with positive reinforcement, and can strenghten your bond.
And don’t forget to increase socialization. Setting up playdates with dogs your dog likes, is a great way to exercise your pooch. Not to mention how happy you will make them.
#6: Divert your dog’s attention
Closely observe what your dog does. If your dog attempts to lick, give them a favorite toy of theirs. Try to involve them in a game.
Or, go for a walk – another enjoyable and mind-stimulating activity. Especially if you allow your dog enough time to sniff.
Research shows that sniffing reduces the dog’s pulse. And the more your dog sniffs, the lower the pulse will go. Even while the dog is walking.
If your dog enjoys cuddles, brushing, and belly scratches, treat them to some of those. Spend some quality time together.
#7: Change your dog’s diet
You should try this one ater you‘vegotten a green light from your vet.
In order to better understand what food your dog should eat, your vet can do an allergy test.
One thing to look out for, when switching to a different food, is the protein it contains.
For example, if you’ve fed your dog with chicken by far, switch to salmon. The same applies to veggies – substitute one with another. Then, monitor if there’s any change in your dog’s mood and behavior.
BONUS: Use a floor cleaner that’s safe for pets
Some pet parents don’t want to buy floor cleaners that are sold in supermarkets. That’s because they worry for the health of their dogs who might ingest the substance.
But here’s the thing – when you live with a dog, you just have to clean the floor more often. There are plenty of reasons – from shedding to scattering food around the bowl. And let’s not forget dirty paws. 🙂
Luckily, you can choose from a variety of pet-friendly floor cleaners.