Why Is My Dog Licking The Carpet?
[Complete Edition]

By kropek2021. • Updated June 29, 2021

As dog lovers or owners, we often come across our canine buddies performing the strangest of acts now and again. Some of them add to their charm, but certain others may require close monitoring due to underlying reasons. One of the weirdest things that domestic dogs do is licking the carpet. If you’re wondering about this particular awkward behavior of your buddy, then read along. 

Dog trainers and veterinarians often get inquiries from dog owners asking them, ‘Why does my dog lick the carpet?’. In reality, there may be multiple causes to why your dog is exhibiting this behavior. Let’s dig into the most commonly seen triggers.

Record the Carpet Licking

Veterinarians and professional dog trainers often suggest making a video recording of the dog when left alone and start licking the carpet. This practice goes a long way in formulating a preliminary analysis of the reason.

Commonly Found Reasons for Dogs Licking the Carpet

Polyphagia (Increased appetite)

Polyphagia is the medical science term for increased appetite. If your dog is often showing signs of eating more than usual, even non-edible items like plastic pipes, cloth, carpet, etc., this may need immediate medical attention. 

Some of the common triggers for Polyphagia include diabetes and pancreatic disorders. Certain medications like Prednisone, which you provide to the dog, may also be a probable cause for increased appetite.  

Attention-Seeking

This cause is a common trait in many pet dogs. They crave immense attention from their owners and exhibit the strangest behaviors to garner attention. Your dog may be feeling lonely, bored, or even neglected as you and others in the house are busy in their activities.

Once the owner returns from work and does not care for the dog, they start performing acts like licking the carpet to gain sudden attention.

Serious Case of Nausea

While being outdoors, dogs often lick on grass when suffering from Nausea. Being indoors, they think the carpet is the best alternative and start licking it. Another form of Nausea is termed GERD(Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).

Nausea’s cause may be as little as a change in diet, stress, or indigestion in mild cases. At the same time, severe cases can be due to liver infections, intestinal cancers, or pancreatic disease.

Mouth/Throat Issues

Problems with gum, teeth, or mouth is a major cause of carpet licking by dogs. It is a mechanism to remove excess drool in some cases. Tooth pain or inflammation in the gum can also force the dog to lick a carpet.

It is highly advisable to regularly check your dog’s mouth to identify these problems early. Also, check if any food particles or other external substances are stuck in the throat, which is also a trigger. An immediate check-up by the vet is strongly recommended in all these cases.

Anxiety Coping

If your buddy faces anxiety issues, carpet licking can be a common method to vent the pressure. If the dog shows symptoms of anxiety regularly, do express this to the vet/trainer.

Engaging dogs in physical activities and outdoor games are a proven mechanism to avert this condition. Some dogs also face noise-phobia. In that case, ensure to protect your dog from loud noises and disturbances as much as possible to avoid anxiety attacks.

Cognitive Dysfunction

Like how humans suffer a decline in cognitive capabilities with aging (Alzheimer’s disease), canines can also face a similar syndrome after middle-age. Some of the signs showcased include non-recognition of owners and familiar locations, and disturbed sleep patterns.

Due to this, some dogs demonstrate irregular behavior such as licking on arbitrary surfaces like a carpet. This behavior can get repetitive, and it is followed by restlessness and aimless wandering. 

Casual licking

It may be that we, as dog owners, are overthinking things a bit. The dog is licking the carpet because it likes the smell, texture, or other physical property. There could be some tasty bits of edible food or beverage stained on it as well that attract your dog.

It is safe to assume so if the licking stops after a few minutes. But the presence of toxic materials on the carpet’s surface can cause serious illness in the dog. This scenario will require immediate medical attention.

Potential Remedies

To help prevent your dog from licking carpets, we recommend some potential remedies:

  • Spray your carpet with dog repellents like bitter fruit sprays. (Tip: Do a prior check on other surfaces whether they discolor the fabric or not.)
  • Be more diligent in avoiding food/drink spillage on the carpet.
  • Please find time to play with your dog and engaging them in physical activities like walks regularly.
  • Get them something safe and better to lick, such as a stuffed toy or popsicle.
  • Take extra care and consult your vet before changing their regular diet.
  • Enable fast medical attention in case your dog shows any of the above-mentioned medical conditions
  • Record videos of the dog licking the carpet and show it to your vet to help assess the cause better
  • Vacuum clean your carpet regularly and keep your house premises neat and tidy as often as you can

Conclusion

Please keep in mind that this list of potential reasons is not an exhaustive one. As professional vets and dog trainers would say, there can be several reasons behind each strange behavior your canine friend exhibits. In case your dog is showing signs of depression or compulsion, we suggest you engage your pet in professional therapy sessions

Never compromise on their nutrition as it plays a vital role in their behavioral modeling. We surely hope you found this article valuable.