Why Does My Dog Lick The Floor?
[Everything you need to know]

By kropek2021. • Updated July 3, 2021

Have you seen your dog licking the floor after eating, at night, before throwing up, or just in a random manner? It can befuddle or make any pet owner anxious. Licking comes naturally to all dogs. It’s one of their ways of sensing things around them. 

But excessive licking of the floor as if it is an obsession is a condition that requires a looking into. There are several causal triggers behind this canine behavior and remedial techniques too. It is imperative to identify this cause first and then come up with a strategy to avoid the same.

Being a dog owner, you would know how important the sense of taste is for them, which they achieve via licking. The millions of sensory cells on the dog’s tongue are far more accurate and intricate in tasting things compared to the human tongue.

We will look into the reasons for your dog’s licking and possible ways to prevent it from happening further. Let’s get right into the core matter without any further delays.

Top Reasons Why Your Dog is Licking The Floor

Apart from the expected levels of licking a dog does to clean its exterior, the sudden and incessant licking of the floor demands your immediate attention. In this section, we will list a few of the primary causal triggers.

Unclean Floors

If there are traces of spilled food or drinks on the floor, your buddy will start licking that if they find it tasty. Ensure to maintain neatness of floor by doing regular sweeping and floor cleaning.

Make sure that no toxic chemicals or other poisonous substances are present around the floor areas that are easily accessible to your dog. This can prove to be fatal for them.

Lack Of Engagement Or Boredom

If your dog does not receive sufficient mental stimulation or physical exercise, they will get bored. This situation will make them vulnerable to exhibit such undesirable behaviors. 

They will try to release the pent-up excess energy by licking obsessively, and it can be a way to grab your attention and tell you to play with them.

Anxiety Issues

If your dog is facing anxiety or stress buildup, they will try to cope with the stressed state by finding a way to vent their nervous energy. Licking the floor constantly can be one of those ways. 

They may be feeling uncomfortable in your absence (Separation Anxiety), change in environment, presence of a stranger, etc. One of the other signs of stress-induced licking is panting afterward. This also requires medical intervention at the earliest. 

Unbalanced Diet/Nutrition

Dogs tend to eat all sorts of junk and unhealthy food when their nutritional needs are left unsatisfied. This explains why they are trying to lick the floor instead of having something healthy. Their subconscious mind is trying to fill up their tummies by engaging in this unwanted act.

Age Of Dog

Senior dogs sometimes showcase unwanted behavior due to a lack of memory and coordination in thoughts. Licking the floor or carpet can be one of them. 

Other Health Conditions

Excessive licking can also be associated with gastrointestinal problems. One of the researches conducted on dogs proved that every three out of four dogs faced such issues.  

They might have consumed something unwanted, and it would have affected their digestive system. As a consequence, your dog is desperately trying to get rid of it, using such a reaction.

This can be followed by your puppy vomiting profusely. Dogs who vomit may have eaten some random item around the house, such as a houseplant, chemical agent, spoiled food crumbs, etc. 

Other diseases like liver damage, Cushing’s disease, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) also force them to display licking behavior. 

Before we head on to the preventive measures, let’s have a glance into why licking is a big deal for dogs in a technical sense.

Why Is Licking Significant For Dogs?

  • Licking is a means of healing their skin from injuries 
  • Dog’s saliva consists of enzymes that have antibacterial properties that eliminate infections from wounds and other injuries or rashes 
  • Licking helps ward of E.Coli bacteria often transferred from dogs to humans 
  • A way to showcase affection to other members of their pack as well as to humans 
  • Investigating an external entity by using the sensory receptors on their tongue surface

Ways To Stop Your Dog’s Excessive Licking

Once you have figured out the reasons behind your dog’s licking behavior, you can implement the appropriate remedial measures based on it.

  • Your floor can host a plethora of spilled food, drinks, chemicals, and other non-edible substances that can be harmful upon consumption by your dog. Ensure to clean the floor or carpet fibers every few days with a disinfectant. 
  • Have a physical training routine to take care of your dog’s energy levels and body stimulation. Also, engage them in frequent dog puzzles and other mind games to keep their cognitive levels optimum. They will not feel bored and prompted to do anything unwanted in this case. 
  • If you leave the dog alone for a long duration, leave behind some chew toys, juicy bones, or an old cloth with your scent. This measure will ensure they do not miss you much and helps avoid the separation anxiety problem. 
  • As far as nutritional imbalances are concerned, do not take any chances. Seek the help of a registered veterinarian and strictly follow the diet plan that they prescribe. This customized plan would help in satisfying their bodily needs and ward off the floor licking aspect. 
  • If your dog is suffering from digestive disorders or other severe health conditions, get that checked out with the vet immediately. The more you wait, the higher is the risk of it turning into something fatal for your canine buddy. 
  • Start an obedience training regimen, preferably from a young age. Teach them physical or verbal commands that stop them from licking the floor. Cement this behavior by engaging in positive reinforcement techniques. Feed them treats each time they positively respond to your command.
  • If the previous step doesn’t work, do not hesitate to seek the help of a seasoned dog trainer who can help you out with the training.
  • Puppies often lick us, the owners, simply because we taste good to them. They are capable enough to detect traces of food on our clothes and skin, which we may not be able to. The presence of salt in our skin and sweat can also be an attractive factor for them. Taking a bath once or twice each day can be an excellent response to tackle this. 
  • You can also try changing your soap, deodorant, or talc once in a while to deter them from licking you excessively. 
  • Sometimes they lick to gain your attention. Make sure you don’t ignore them and spend quality time when free. That will make them feel at ease. 
  • Dogs are creatures of habit. So if they do not receive lunch on time, they may start licking the floor. Be regular in feeding them at a fixed time of the day. 

Whenever they obey you and stop the licking, reward them with their favorite treats and comforting words. This reinforcing treatment will help reduce the issue.

 

Suppose none of these tested techniques stop them from licking incessantly. In that case, we strongly suggest you get your pooch checked up with a trusted veterinarian for any internal issues or mental disorders. Self-treatment should never be an option for the well-being of your dog. 

In our dog training academy, we found out that lack of a balanced diet was the major reason behind the repeated licking of the floor. Take care to get your dog’s stomach checked out by a vet and make it a point to follow the prescribed diet plan without fail strictly. A healthy dog with a customized and well-balanced daily diet will seldom resort to such unwanted acts.  

Concluding Words

Licking is part and parcel of all dogs. But the cause of concern happens when it is done way too often. As a responsible dog owner, the first focus must be on identifying the cause of such behavior and then coming up with a resolution method.

We have discussed some of the common reasons behind your dog licking the floor and ways to stop the act. Always feel free to get the guidance of your trusted vet if the problem continues to persist. Reinforce your obedience training for accelerated results. 

Now you know why dogs lick the floor and ways to stop them. We hope you found this article created with the expert know-how of our dog trainers valuable and practical.