Why is my dog licking the floor?
Being a dog owner, you must be aware of your dog’s weird pastime activities, such as licking the ears, nibbling underwear, grooming their owners, and having blue cheese. But this is not it! Your dog has the potential to lick floors as well, and surprisingly this is considered a “completely normal” act by Dr.Sara L. Bennett, a clinical professor of veterinary behavior at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
Dogs use habitually of licking themselves and their owners too. But when the licking gets excessive and aggressive, it is a sign of an issue.
If you are observing that lately, your dog has started licking the floor frequently, then it might be because of some common causes that are listed below:
- Cushing’s disease
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Are you wondering why is your dog licking the floor when it probably tastes really gross? Well, you are wrong here because to dogs, the floor tastes delicious, and that is why they can’t stop licking it! Weird? Not really, if you examine the root cause of this action!
Dogs tend to lick floors because those cunning little furballs can smell every inch of the floor by sniffing around. You might have accidentally dropped a few drops of coffee, or might have forgotten to clean up the spaghetti sauce and brownie crumbs that you dropped on the floor, and the aroma of these sauces can send your dog into a floor-licking frenzy, and they will not stop licking the floor until they’ve devoured every single drop.
After you’ve finished having a meal and you’re now noticing that your dog has frantically started licking the area where you had food, it’s clear that it’s happening because you dropped food crumbs, and your dog is tempted to munch some of them! If the food you had is safe for your dog to consume, then there’s no need to stop them from being a four-legged vacuum cleaner!
Dogs with an upset stomach are much more likely to lick excessively. According to a study, 73 percent of dogs with gastrointestinal issues and pancreatitis are observed to have ELS (Excessive Licking of Surfaces).
Professor Bennett explains that licking is a behavioral reaction to an upset stomach. When dogs move their mouths and tongues for licking, saliva production increases, which buffers against the acid in the stomach. Bennett also believes that increased saliva adds lubrication, making it easier to vomit.
But can you determine what caused an upset stomach in your dog? He might be licking the floor and vomiting, eating grass and vomiting, leaving you perplexed about why exactly is your dog throwing up so much. You might guess, but your vet can be better at guiding you on how to proceed with your dog’s treatment. Therefore, in case of your canine buddy’s upset tummy, your course of action should be to take him to a veterinarian.
Dogs start to lick things obsessively when they’re being uncomfortable with something. Dana Emerson, a veterinary technician, explains that aggressively licking things is your dogs’ way of communicating about their anxiety.
Emerson articulates that a new pet near you might be making your dog anxious because they might not be having a really good time around it. Dogs are extremely loyal and clingy, so they also might be feeling possessive and don’t want you to play with the new pet!
Some other factors like noisy fireworks, loud shouts of people, thunderstorms, high-pitched alarms, or other significant changes to the environment might be making your dog’s licker work overtime.
Understanding the root cause of this trait could help relieve your dog’s anxiety and keep your dog away from the dirty floor!
The stress hormone, Cortisol, can trigger your dog’s chronic stress, which can cause Cushing’s disease.
Cushing disease, also known as hyperadrenocorticism, occurs because of high steroid levels in the human body. The adrenal glands produce this steroid, and the disease comes with a huge range of symptoms such as bald patches, urination, excessive panting, and potbelly. It could also potentially escalate your dog’s licking habits.
It is important to consult a vet when you observe your dog having these symptoms. The vet will effectively diagnose your dog’s problem and prescribe his medications accordingly.
OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
Obsessive-compulsive disorders are not exclusive to humans. OCD (also called canine compulsive disorder) is prevalent among dogs, and it can potentially cause ELS in them.
OCD among dogs and humans is quite similar. Normal behaviors when they become excessive are classified as OCD in dogs, for example, licking. Licking is considered normal behavior in dogs until it becomes unrestrained. Licking becomes a compulsive disorder for dogs because it relieves stress (releases neurotransmitters) and makes them feel better.
How to stop your dog from licking the floor?
If your dog is excessively licking the floor, you would want to eradicate this behavior. We have compiled several ways to help you combat your dog’s compulsive licking!
Don’t Let Them Get Bored – Be Their Play Buddy!
Sometimes your dog might start licking the tiles out of boredom! Fortunately, you can pretty easily arrange to play with toys or park trips for your dog to make him cope with boredom.
Go out on walks to the park with your pet in the morning after sunrise! Your dog will be delighted to see the chirpy birds and little kids in the park. If you are unable to go on a walk, ask your friend to go out with your dog. You could also admit your dog to a daycare center for hours when you will not be home with your pet so that he may socialize with other people and pets instead of causing a nuisance in the house or licking floors!
If your dog is a furball of energy, toys can be a great distraction for him! Your dog will be occupied with his toys for some hours of the day. This is a harmless distraction for dogs and keeps them away from boredom.
Dogs need exercise, and not getting enough mental stimulation might just bore them. Give your dog mentally stimulating, puzzle-type toys to distract him from licking the floor.
If your dog is licking the floor, and you want to distract him, but you don’t have a toy readily available, then just take your dog out in the yard start playing with him with a ball. You could also use a rope to play tug of war with your canine buddy! After a few minutes of rigorous play, the dog will likely get tired and won’t get back to licking the floor.
Alleviate Their Stress – Teach Them Some Rudimentary Tricks!
As explained before, dogs might start licking obsessively out of stress. You can easily recognize when your dog is in such a state and then tackle the problem of his persistent licking.
When your dog goes through something stressful, he may be relentlessly roaming around, shaking his body. He will also keep his eyes wide open and have dilated pupils. In contrast, he will have a content smile on his cute face when he is relaxed, and his ears will be kept back.
To help your dog in relaxing himself and alleviate his stress, you can teach him some rudimentary tricks. The tricks may be as small as asking your dog to bow and then throw a treat for them to chase or simply asking them to sit, lie down, and heel. Tricks can make your dog feel incredibly better, especially if the tricks involve treats.
But you need to understand if your dog is constantly licking the floor out of stress, unfortunately, there isn’t much you could do unless you are a professional. You cannot be your dog’s constant stress reliever since the dog is consistently under great stress and needs an animal behaviorist’s help because the behaviorist could pinpoint the source of stress.
If you cant determine the cause of stress, try talking about your dog’s situation with a vet, and he might be able to find out the cause.
You could also stack up some pheromone diffusers designed to help dogs with anxiety from local vet clinics or pet stores. Sometimes, dim lights and calming music could also provide calmness to your dog.
Lick Repellants Work Wonders to Minimizing Your Canine Companion’s Licker!
People use homemade lick repellents to stop your dog’s constant licker! If your dog is also consistently licking the floor and all his medical reports come out fine, it means it’s time to take some action yourself and use “lick repellents” as a remedy to eradicate your dog’s nuisance! After searching about many lick repellants, we have mentioned the safest and easiest-to-make recipe here! Add a bit of hot sauce or pepper sauce to water, keep stirring the mixture until it becomes diluted, and then put it in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the portion of the floor that your dog obsessively licks, and you will be delighted to see the results! Keep the spray in a warm place away from sunlight and kids (you don’t want children in the house to have it!)
Dogs are big lickers. We understand how annoying licking may seem, but it is extremely crucial to determine its reasons. Firstly, keep your calm and don’t get angry with your dog. He craves your love and attention and is possessive of you. Your job is to focus on finding out why is your dog licking the floor! If his licking habit isn’t consistent, don’t stress about it and do fun pastime activities with him. But if your dog’s licker is at an all-time high, then you must consult a vet to know the underlying cause and solutions to eradicate it.