Our dogs are always doing something that makes us smile, scratch our heads, or annoy us. Their behaviors never cease to amaze, as well as sometimes cause us to wonder why they are doing a certain behavior. One of these is when your dog starts licking the carpet. This can be very strange if not a bit annoying.
Licking the carpet is different from trying to get crumbs off the ground. Dogs can continuously lick as they walk, or lick as they sit or lay down. If you notice your dog has started licking the carpet you will want to watch and record what you notice about this strange behavior.
Excessive licking can be a side effect of an underlying condition. There is an actual medical condition called excessive licking syndrome, which will cause your dog to constantly lick every household surface. The more details you can record the better your vet may have at identifying the cause of the licking.
Reasons Your Dog May Be Licking The Carpet
If you have ever peeked outside to see what your dog is doing out in the yard and you have seen them eating grass, this is a technique dogs use to help alleviate nausea. Eating the grass will help them vomit so that they rid their stomachs of whatever is causing their nausea. If your dog is indoors and doesn’t have access to grass while feeling nauseous they may turn to licking the carpet. They may also lick their front paws. Other symptoms can be your dog smacks their lips a lot, drools more than normal and swallows more.
Nausea can be brought on by dietary indiscretion if they accidentally ate something they weren’t supposed to, stress, or abrupt change in diet. Some medical conditions can also cause nausea, such as liver disease, adrenal disorders, inflammatory bowel disease, and some cancers.
Another cause for licking the carpet may be if your dog has mouth pain. This could be trouble with their teeth or gums. If your dog allows you to inspect the inside of their mouths you can look around to see if anything looks different. There may be trouble under the tooth or in the gums that cannot be seen. Tooth root abscess, fractured tooth, mouth ulcer, reddened gums, or a foreign object stuck in the gums can all cause your dog to use their mouth more and lick the carpet.
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Depressed, Bored or Anxious
Your dog may also lick the carpet if they are depressed, anxious, bored, or seeking attention. If you react when your dog is licking the carpet whether it be positive or negative they may keep doing this action to get some attention from you. In depressed or anxious dogs, licking can be a way to self soothe. Anxious dogs may also lick their front paws more than normal as well. A bored dog may take to licking the carpet because it is something to do.
Your Carpet Has Hidden Odors or Crumbs
If you have had a spill of something delicious on your carpet this may make your dog lick that certain spot. Even if you have cleaned it up, your dog can still smell it so they may try licking the spot to get some of the taste. If you have a messy husband, child, or yourself then your dog may go around the house and lick all the floors in hopes of picking up some crumbs. This will be very isolated to only happening when either food is present or there has been a spill.
Medications can also cause excessive licking. Certain medications can cause dogs to become ravenous as though they aren’t getting enough food ever. This increase of hunger is called polyphagia. Many different medications can cause this condition. Your dog’s increase in hunger may make them lick or even try to eat the carpet.
If your dog has diabetes they can also have excessive hunger and thirst. Seizures in dogs can cause them to lick the carpet involuntarily. If you can get your dog to stop licking the carpet by saying their name or snapping them out of it they are most likely not having a seizure.
Can licking the carpet harm my dog?
Licking the carpet is not necessarily a harmful habit that your dog can have. They may be at risk of picking up bacteria, or ingesting some carpet fibers. Ingesting too many carpet fibers could cause a bowel obstruction. They also have a higher chance of ingesting a foreign object that could be dangerous to them.
What can I do to stop my dog from licking the carpet?
There are a few things you can do to help get your dog out of the habit of licking the carpet. You can start with a trip to the vet to make sure there is no underlying issue causing your dog to excessive lick.
You can also buy sprays to spray onto the carpet that will smell and taste awful to your dog. Be careful with some sprays, in case they change your carpet a strange color or leave a residue.
Be more mindful about spills and crumbs. Eat foods in areas where crumbs and spills are easily wiped up, where you won’t leave any residue, or smell.
Behavioral problems in your dog happen when they are bored, increasing exercise and play can help your dog stop misbehaving. Make sure they go on daily walks, and are getting the amount of exercises recommended for their breed.
Though licking the carpet may be something your dog is doing to get attention, excessive licking should be looked at in case it is a symptom of an underlying problem.
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