Why is my dog licking the floor all the time? Surprising Answer

Dog Licking: What’s Normal?

Why is my dog licking the floor all the time?

Dogs use their tongues for eating and grooming—lapping up kibble from the bottom of a bowl, taking a quick tongue bath, or offering up wet kisses are all normal behaviors, according to Bennett. However, habitual licking might be the sign of an issue.

“In the right context, licking is considered a normal behavior,” she adds.

To determine whether licking is a normal behavior, Bennett looks at where the licking occurs. In areas where there might be food scraps—think near their food bowls after supper or around the kitchen island—dogs might lick the floor to see if something tasty has fallen.

Why is my dog licking the floor all the time?

Frequency, intensity, and duration matter, too. Bennett notes that dogs that are licking the floor—or furniture, themselves, people, the air—nonstop without a specific reason could be a sign that something more serious is going on. In these cases, excessive licking of surfaces (or ELS), may be diagnosed.

“When it becomes more habitual—it’s happening multiple times a day in areas where there’s no food present…it lasts more than a couple of minutes and the behavior can’t be interrupted [by calling the dog or offering a treat], it starts to fall into the ‘abnormal’ category and we have to do some detective work to figure out why.”

Why Is My Dog Licking the Floor?

Why is my dog licking the floor all the time?

When it comes to deciphering the reasons your dog keeps licking the floor, there are a few common causes including:

Why is my dog licking the floor all the time?

One of the biggest reasons your dog licks the floor? It may taste really good, says Bennett. A few drops of spilled coffee, a bit of bacon grease, a few scraps of spaghetti sauce can send your dog into a floor-licking frenzy to make sure every last drop is devoured.

“If you spill some food on the floor, of course your dog is going to be motivated to lick it up,” Bennett says.

When your dog is frantically licking the floor near the stove, your meal prep area, or the spot where she eats her kibble, Bennett says it’s likely nothing more than a desire to make sure every crumb is consumed.

As long as there aren’t scraps of foods that are toxic to dogs on the floor, it’s ok to let your dog serve as a four-legged vacuum.

Why is my dog licking the floor all the time?

Tummy troubles are among the most common reasons your dog’s licker may be working overtime. In fact, one study found that 73 percent of dogs that displayed ELS were diagnosed with gastrointestinal issues ranging from irritable bowel syndrome and pancreatitis to giardia.

“The hypothesis is that it’s a behavioral reaction to feeling sick to their stomachs,” Bennett explains.

It seems that the constant mouth and tongue movements your dog uses to lick the floor (and other surfaces) increases saliva production, which buffers against the acid in the stomach, according to Bennett. Or, perhaps the saliva provides added lubrication to make it easier to vomit, she adds.

When tummy upset is to blame, your dog may be licking the floor and vomiting, licking the floor and eating grass, or licking the floor and panting. Your vet can run tests to determine the source of the tummy upset. Treating the problem should help control the behavior (and feel better).

Why is my dog licking the floor all the time?

Like all repetitive behaviors, a dog constantly licking the floor could be a sign of an obsessive disorder or stress.

“Repetitive floor licking can be a ‘displacement behavior’ and might be a signal that your dog is experiencing anxiety,” explains Dana Emerson, a veterinary technician and Karen Pryor Academy-certified trainer with the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center.

Emerson suggests looking at recent changes to the environment (like a move or new pet) that may be making your dog feel anxious or determining whether there are certain triggers that are associated with licking the floor such as thunderstorms, beeps, buzzers, or loud noises.

Understanding the trigger can help address the stressor and keep your dog from constantly licking the floor.

Why is my dog licking the floor all the time?

Increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, can trigger chronic stress, leading to a diagnosis of Cushing’s disease, Bennett says. The hallmark signs of this disease include increased thirst, urination, appetite, excessive panting, low energy levels, hair loss, and frequent skin infections.

Not all dogs with Cushing’s disease constantly lick the floor (or other surfaces), Bennett notes. “The chronic stress state works against the normal mechanisms of keeping the GI tract healthy,” and that stomach upset could cause excessive licking behaviors.

Your vet can do blood work to get a definitive diagnosis and medications can help manage the disease.

Reason 3: Anxiety

Anxiety can cause all sorts of odd behaviors in people, and it’s not much different for dogs.

One common result of anxiety is the occurrence of compulsive or repetitive behaviors, such as non-stop licking of surfaces.

Generally, when a dog is suffering from anxiety, there will be other signs to clue you in, aside from just the excessive licking. Other symptoms of canine anxiety include:

  • Drooling
  • Destructive behaviors
  • Excessive barking
  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Accidents in the house
  • Aggression
  • Three types of anxiety affect dogs most commonly.

    Fear anxiety is when your dog is anxious because they’re scared.

    Separation anxiety makes a dog anxious when their owner leaves.

    Age-related anxiety can set in as your dog gets older and loses cognitive function.

    There are several ways to treat anxiety, including counterconditioning, desensitization, and medication. Your vet should be able to help you determine the best course of treatment for your dog.

    Why is My Dog Constantly Licking The Floors and Carpet?

    Dogs lick for all kinds of reasons. They use taste as a powerful method of interpreting the world around them. A tiny lick here and there helps them know where you have been, where they might be going, and other things so they can interpret their situation.

    Although this licking can be irritating sometimes, it is often a healthy behavior. Small licks are usual for a dog. Excessive licking of any kind frequently comes down to a lack of training or some kind of health issue.

    Sometimes the location that they choose to lick can help you determine what is going on with them. We have a list of reasons that your dog might excessively lick the floor, the floorboards, and the walls and when to take it seriously.