“Why does my dog lick the carpet,” I hear you ask as you inspect your lovely carpeted house. Well, if you are scratching your head over that behavior, rest assured you aren’t alone. Numerous dog owners have received countless phone calls from concerned dog owners asking, “What does my dog lick the carpet?” These intuitive canine owners knew from experience that there was something wrong going on within their family pet’s digestive system, and they were determined to find out what it was. In today’s article, you will learn why your dog licks the carpet, how to stop it, and most importantly, how to keep him from doing it again!
Excessive Licking Syndrome.
Excessive licking behavior is a compulsive behavior that can affect any dog, of either gender, age, and breed. While it is a behavior that can drive a pet parent crazy, it is not without its serious side. While some canines who lick compulsively do so due to anxiety, some underlying systemic causes must be addressed to protect your pet. Excessive licking is the compulsive licking of any surface for a longer period than is needed for exploratory or investigative purposes.
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Many dogs can’t tell the difference between what’s on the ground and what’s in their mouth, so they may be licking the floor because they are bored or looking for something they missed on the ground. Other dogs may be trying to establish who the pack leader is and are looking to show off by licking the floor. No matter your dog’s motivation, dog owners need to understand the cause of this behavior so that appropriate action can be taken.
Sometimes, an old dog will lick the carpet due to a desire for attention. An attention-seeking dog doesn’t care if the attention is positive or negative. Once licking the carpet gets him attention, it becomes part of the dog’s behavior.
Dog health problem.
While both medical issue’s and dog behavior problems can lead to dogs licking carpet or furniture or even dogs lick everything, it isn’t something to worry about when done just once or twice. But when dogs behavior is repeated, you need to consider deeper medical issue’s. Some common causes of excessive licking in old dogs include:
Dogs instinctively seek grass when nauseous and might consider your carpet an alternative. Nauseous dogs also smack their lips, drool, and swallow repeatedly. This is one of the most common reasons for a dog licking the carpet.
Dogs have an urge to lick when nauseous to induce vomiting, and your old dog may also be licking the carpet for that reason. There can be many causes of nausea. While occasional vomiting is normal, you should consider the possibility of intestinal parasites, toxin exposure, and endocrine disease if your dog vomits repeatedly.
Mouth or throat problems.
Your older dog could also be licking the carpet due to underlying mouth problems such as tooth fractures and ulcers. It’s also possible that your dog is licking because he has something stuck in his throat.
Diabetes can cause polyphagia in dogs. Excessive appetites in dogs is symptoms of diabetes. This results in your dog trying to eat or lick everything obsessively. If your dog is also trying to eat the carpet instead of just licking, then an excessive appetite might cause this.
Brain tumors and seizures can also cause dogs to lick carpets and furniture. To figure out if your old dog licks your carpet due to seizures, call him. If your dog stops licking to give you his attention, he is unlikely to be suffering from a seizure.
Your veterinarian may prescribe antihistamines if your dog is prone to allergies. Other medications may be recommended in feline leukemia or feline Distemper symptoms. Keep in mind that some behaviors are normal for your pet and why your dog lick’s the floor may be a mystery, but consulting your veterinarian is the best way to find out.
Pica is the eating of non-nutritive, non-food items. And while dogs have a history of ingesting the oddest things, if your older dog is trying to eat chunks out of the carpet instead of just licking, then you should get it checked for pica.
Stress or anxiety.
Mostly older dogs lick the carpet due to stress or anxiety. They use carpet licking as a coping mechanism and may also lick the floors and furniture. This behavior is likely to be the case if your dog is anxious or has been stressed or frustrated lately. When a dog needs something to lick to calm down, they can turn to themselves. Stress, licking dogs can lick their legs and paws so much that they cause wounds to appear, called lick granulomas.
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When treating an affected dog, the veterinarian will usually apply a solution to the affected areas and then rub a bitter-tasting product on the carpets to discourage carpet licking. Some suggest applying a bitter-tasting product to carpet tiles instead. Keeping your carpets and upholstery clean and dry helps prevent this problem in the future. Some carpets can be vacuumed without damaging them. Regular vacuuming also encourages dogs to keep their paws at the front of the seat. Preventative measures and good dental care go a long way in preventing carpet licking.
Stimulating the sense of scent.
Sometimes dog lick a dirty carpet to stimulate their sense of scent. Some dogs also lick because they play with a ball, toy, or other objects that they feel need to “go.” Certain breeds of dogs, such as dachshunds, have been known to “mark territory,” so your pet may want to stick around your home. It would be best if you learned as much about why your dog licks the floor before attempting to curb their inappropriate behavior.
Other causes of dog licking include acid reflux, heartburn, digestive tract problems, hypoglycemia, canine dementia, pancreatitis, parasites or intestinal worms, and dermatitis (inflammatory skin disease). Because these conditions can be life-threatening, you should never leave dogs untreated while showing this odd behavior. If you suspect that your canine companion is exhibiting inappropriate licking behavior, contact your veterinarian immediately. In most cases, the cause of excessive licking is easy to pinpoint and treat.