We often see our dogs happy and healthy so when they start to show odd behaviors like obsessively licking the floor suddenly, it can become very concerning and worrisome for many owners. It can also be annoying to see your dog constantly licking the floor. In this article, we’ll discuss why do dogs lick the floor all the time and when this could become a problem.
Why is my dog licking the floor? There are many reasons why your dog is licking the floor. Some are less serious such as searching for food crumbs or simply enjoying the taste of the floor. Others are more serious as these could be signs of gastrointestinal upset or other health issues and require immediate medical attention.
Why do dogs lick the floor?
There are many reasons why dogs lick the floor. Just like using their nose to smell and explore the environment around them, dogs will use their tongues to lick and taste anything and everything they see.
Before ingesting their food, some dogs will most likely taste their food. If they like the taste of what they are eating, our canine friends will continue to eat it (even if it is chicken poop!). If they don’t like the taste of the food, our canine friends simply won’t finish it to let you know they don’t like it.
When our furry friends lick the floor, it’s a way for them to taste and understand their surroundings. This is especially true during puppyhood. Puppies (and even adult dogs) are very curious about the world and will lick anything and everything they see, including the floor.
But, why does my dog keep licking the floor? When dogs lick the floor occasionally here and there, it is normal and curious behavior. Your pups probably saw crumbs of food on the floor and you know how much they love food! However, watch out for dogs that lick the floor all the time.
Licking the floor regularly can indicate other issues or develop into obsessive behavior traits. When dogs develop the obsessive behavior trait of licking the floor, it is not only stressful for the dog but also for the owner and the other human family members in the house.
Dog owners should monitor their K9 friends closely if they are licking the floor constantly and frequently. This could also tell you that your four-legged friends may be having some form of serious health issues.
Whether it’s your dog licking floor and panting or your dog won’t stop licking the floor and coughing, it’s important to keep a close eye on your dog’s behavior. Let’s go over this in-depth.
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Why does my dog lick the floor in my house?
There are about 1,700 taste buds in a dog’s tongue and as well as millions of sensory cells. This means our four-legged friends may be able to taste things we aren’t able to. But, why does my dog lick the floor all the time? If your dog is licking the floor all the time, there are a few reasons.
First, there may be crumbs of food on the floor from last night’s dinner or pieces of crumbs from the lunch you just had. Perhaps you or your family members accidentally drop food crumbs onto the floor without realizing it – and this happens almost every day.
Your dog’s powerful nose probably smells the food crumbs or their eyes were laser-focused on that crumb so they are licking the floor to catch the crumb.
If the food crumbs drop to the floor on a regular basis, your pooch may learn to keep an eye out for the crumb and as a result, they may develop a habit of searching for it by licking the floor all the time in case they missed a crumb.
If you have children, you know how messy they can be. Try cleaning the floor daily for about a week to see if your dog stops licking the floor.
Our canine friends like to instinctively hunt for food. It’s what their ancestors did generations ago.
We highly recommend that you observe where in the house your dog keeps licking the floor. Is it the kitchen or the dining room? Is it underneath the dining room table or under the meal prep area?
With our busy lives, we may accidentally drop morsels of food onto the floor and forget to clean it up. But our canine friends don’t forget. Their nose will lead them to the food crumbs we drop.
For families with kids, it’s also likely that kids like to eat and walk at the same time. Crumbs of food may fall onto the floor or if your little one is eating and talking, pieces of food may fall out of their mouth.
Dog licking floor suddenly: Should I be worried?
If you notice your dog licking the floor suddenly and your floor is moderately clean, then this behavior could be an indication of some serious underlying health issues you weren’t aware of.
My friend recently called and told me, “my dog keeps licking the floor and this happened all of a sudden, should I be worried?” If you’re in the same situation, here’s what it may be.
Dog licking floor due to Excessive Licking of Surfaces or ELS
If your canine friends keep licking the floor suddenly and won’t stop, they may have an Excessive Licking of Surfaces (ELS) condition. It’s not just the floors they are licking. They may be licking the furniture, walls, or carpets inside the house. So if you’re wondering, “Why do dogs lick the floor and furniture?” they may have ELS.
Dog licking floor due to gastrointestinal disorder
Another reason that can cause your dogs to lick the floor suddenly is that they may be experiencing gastrointestinal issues.
According to a non-profit organization that prevents cruelty to animals, dogs that keep licking the floor may have some form of gastrointestinal issue. Here’s what they have to say:
“Several studies have been published over the last few years in reference to primary GI disorders in dogs manifesting as stereotypic behaviors such as excessive licking of surfaces or fly biting. In a prospective clinical study out of Canada, underlying GI abnormalities were noted in 14 out of 19 study dogs with a history of excessive licking of surfaces.”
Dog keeps licking floor: What should I do?
Whether your precious pooch has Excessive Licking of Surfaces (ELS) or gastrointestinal problems, we highly recommend that you consult with your dog’s vet to seek his or her professional advice. It’s best to err on the side of caution when it comes to your canine friend’s health.
Luckily, there are treatment options for both ELS and gastrointestinal issues in dogs. With the right treatment and medication, studies have shown that about 60 percent of dogs show signs of improvement and more than half of these dogs completely stop their obsessive licking habits.
How to get my dog to stop licking the floor?
There are 5 things you can do to get your dog to stop licking the floor.
If your dog is left unattended at home for quite an extended period of time on a regular basis with no physical or mental stimulation, then he or she may feel bored or have anxiety. Out of boredom or anxiety, your pooch may lick the floor to seek some form of entertainment or simply just something to do.
Your furry friend may be lying on the floor and feeling bored and the floor is literally inches away from their mouth. The only issue with this is that if your pooch continues to lick the floor to keep his mind occupied, then this may become a habit or obsessive behavior.
1. Taking your dog on a long walk in the morning
Fortunately, this problem can easily be solved by taking your pooch for a long walk or play at the dog park before you head out to work. Your dog will get the exercise he needs.
Alternatively, owners can also hire a dogsitter to walk their dog during the day while they are out at work. Some dog owners bring their pups to doggy daycare while they are at work.
2. Have a dogsitter play tug of war or catch with your dog
We highly recommend buying some indestructible dog toys so the dogsitter can play with your dogs while you are out at work during the day.
If you have highly energetic dogs, you can continue to play with them in the backyard after dinner by throwing them a ball or playing tug of war with them.
This will definitely get your dogs tried for the evening before bed and distract them from licking the floor.
3. Try giving your dog a dog bone to chew on
If you know your dogs like to chew, then try giving your pooch dog bones. Chewing on bones can help your furry pals with the following:
- Keep your pooch occupied for hours.
- Chewing on the dog bones can be tiring.
- Chewing on the dog bone will help to release some of that pent-up energy, stress, or anxiety.
4. Be present and comfort your dog
If you know your dog has separation anxiety or is stressed, it’s best to be present with him. You can comfort your furry family member by hugging, petting, or talking to him.
If your dogs wink at you while you are petting them, then it’s a sign that they enjoy the petting and you should continue petting them.
Being present with your dog and hugging them will help him to calm down and relax. Your dogs may even purr or smile at you, which shows that they are fully relaxed and enjoying the moment.
5. Teach your dogs new tricks
Our furry friends love to be mentally stimulated. They also love challenges. You can teach them new tricks and offer them treats as a reward. Most dogs love this because they are hungry for those treats!
These are five things you can do to help your dog to stop licking the floor. If you’ve done all these things and your precious pooch is still stressed out and licking the floor, then you’ll want to bring them to the vet. There may be other underlying conditions you may not be aware of that the vet can help detect.
2 Reasons for your dog licking behavior
1. Dogs lick to heal their wounds
Your canine friends will instinctively lick themselves when they get injuries like a cut or an open wound. That’s because their saliva can help with the following:
- Clean off the dirt or debris from their wounds.
- Remove dead tissues from their wounds.
- Saliva contains chemicals that can promote blood clotting.
- Dog’s saliva also contains an enzyme called lysozyme that helps to defend the skin from infection.
- Licking the wound can fight against E. Coli, Streptococcus canis, and other bacteria that are harmful to dogs.
2. Dogs lick as a sign of love and affection
Similar to how humans kiss to show signs of love and affection, our canine friends will lick their pack leaders (in this case dog owners) to show their love and affection. While we may not like the sloppy wet kisses from our pooch, this is normal behavior.
It’s when our dogs are constantly licking the floor does it becomes an issue since this behavior can become a bad habit if unattended to.
It’s normal when our dogs lick the floor every once in a while. If they are new to the home or space, they may lick the floor to explore the home and get comfortable with their soon-to-be new place.
Dogs will also lick the floor around their food and water bowl after they finish their meal to try to get every last piece of their food – especially if they enjoy it so much.
However, when our dogs obsessively lick the floor and it becomes a habit, then it becomes a problem and it is best to consult with your vet for their professional advice. Your dog’s vet will always be there and they know your dog best.
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I’m a pet lover who has years of pet sitting and grooming experience. I thought it would be a great idea to share my experience with all pet owners so they can also keep their canine companions healthy, happy, and clean!