Dogs sometimes do strange things. And as dog owners, we are often privy to their bizarre little habits and antics. One of the weird things that dogs will sometimes get up to, is licking the carpet. It can be strange as well as annoying, but it also has several explanations as to why dogs do it.
While it’s a weird habit, it’s also important to be able to differentiate between a once-off floor or carpet lick, and excessive licking syndrome, which is an actual medical condition characterized by constant licking of household surfaces like the floors, walls, furniture, etc.
So, what are the reasons that your dog is licking the carpet? One of the most obvious reasons is that something yummy was spilled on the carpet. If you have been snacking in the living room, you may have inadvertently dropped some crumbs of something on the ground. Because of the dog’s keen sense of smell, they will be able to pick up on the scent of any leftover food particles we may not realize have been left behind.
Another reason for a dog’s licking can be emotional. 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.
Other medical issues can also lead to strange behavior like a gastrointestinal issue. In fact, a 2008 study discovered a strong correlation between gastrointestinal issues and excessive licking. Such diseases and issues like IBS, giardiasis, delayed gastric emptying, foreign bodies, and chronic pancreatitis, have all been documented as some of the underlying issues with dogs who lick excessively.
And while licking the carpet isn’t innately harmful, there is always the small chance that your dog could accidentally ingest something that would do them harm, such as a long carpet fiber, bacteria, or some damaging residue. But those chances are slim if your dog only occasionally licks the ground. They increase if your dog is constantly licking the floor. Additionally, the size of your dog can also play a factor, since a small Chihuahua might end up with a bowel obstruction if they end up eating long carpet fibers, versus a Great Dane might be able to pass the same fibers without a problem. The same can be said about germs or cleaning products since bigger dogs are less likely to be affected by small doses. Granted, if you have a dog who is constantly licking the carpet or ground then you need to really be careful about using floor cleaner that is non-toxic so that your dog doesn’t accidentally ingest harmful ingredients.
If you want to get your pet to stop licking the ground so much, you can try a couple of simple solutions. For example, you could try spraying licking deterrents, such as Grannick’s Bitter Apple spray or Bohdi Dog’s Bitter Lemon Spray. You can also be more cautious about cleaning up spills or crumbs. Increase your dog’s exercise routine in order to see if it’s just pent up energy that has them licking more. And take them to the vet in order to eliminate any underlying medical issues, as well as get further tips about how to handle your dog’s licking habits.
Have you ever experienced this issue before with your dog? How did you handle it? Let us know!