Dogs do a lot of licking and lapping. They even lick your face anytime they want as a gesture of love. Some owners also mind dogs licking their own bodies and whatnot. However, it is an astonishing fact that dogs lick so many things without even understanding what they are. For this reason, they are truly similar to babies. Earlier, we wrote an article on why dogs lick other dogs, but this one is about why dogs lick the floor. We have often seen this question raised in the owners’ minds, and below is the answer they are searching for.
Does your dog lick floor?
Not all dog owners have witnessed their dogs licking the floor, but those who have must have noticed some other signs of a medical disease or condition. Sometimes dogs also lick the carpet along with the floor, and these can be due to the following reasons.
ELS is a medical condition that stands for Excessive Licking of Surfaces. Under ELS, your dog will not only lick the floor, but will also lick other surfaces like beds, blankets, and walls. A recent Canadian study has even proved that dogs with ELS often deal with problems like gastrointestinal issues (GI). To help a dog with ELS, the treatment of GI is necessary. The best way to treating it is with either some changes in your dog’s meal plans or prescriptive medicines. Once the GI is resolved, studies have noticed that 60% of dogs saw in improvement in their ELS. More than half of those dogs even stopped licking surfaces completely.
Another medical reason due to which your dog might be excessively licking floor is Cushing disease or hyperadrenocorticism, which is common amongst middle-aged and old-aged dogs. In this condition, the body starts overproducing the cortisol steroid hormone, which can even lead to a tumor in your dog’s pituitary or adrenal glands. In some cases, it also harms the kidney and the liver. The cortisol hormone is responsible to control stress in dogs, but it’s over and underproduction can lead to several problems. Excessive licking of the floor is one of the symptoms of Cushing disease.
Pica is another condition like ELS, but with more severe symptoms and consequences. In pica, along with licking the floor, your dog will also like to chew and eat non-digestible items like wooden splinters, keys, wallets, stationery, furniture small toy parts, etc. According to PetMD, in Pica, dogs not only like to chew non-food items, but they also crave them uncontrollably. Nutritional deficiency and poor diet are proved to be a cause behind pica. Meaning, there are chances you can improve this condition without much difficulty by improving your dog’s diet. You can also visit a consultant to know which diet will be the most suitable for your dog. Another thing that you can do to fight pica is to buy a new chewable toy for your dog quite frequently to keep him distracted from harmful things.
Neurological disorders can also be the reason why your dog is licking the floor. Some disorders like OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder are present in not only humans but animals too. If your dog is obsessed with licking only a particular area of the floor, it is possible that he is suffering from OCD. A common misconception that owners have about OCD is that it is a behavioral disorder that will go away on its own with the passing of time. However, it is a serious neurological condition that needs medications to be treated.
Last but not least are the behavioral problems. Stray dogs or grown-up dogs are when adopted, they are so adjusted to the old habits that they bring them into their new homes. Licking the ground surface can be one of those habits that your dog might have picked as a stray dog. It is why you may not find this habit in dogs who have been domesticated at an early age, within the first three months of their life. Another reason why your dog might be behaving this way is that he is suffering from depression or anxiety. Sometimes, dogs who suffer from boredom also adopt such habits. To help your dog with these behavioral problems, you can buy him a toy or do disciplinary training.
What should you do if Your Dog is licking the Floor?
While it may take some time for your dog to stop licking the floor on his own, you can try some treatments to cure his medical conditions and do several other things to keep him away from harm.
- You can begin by cleaning the floor. It is possible that your dog might be licking the floor because he can smell the residuals of food from it. While doing this, he can also swallow a harmful item like a pencil sharpener or a toy or a key. For this reason, it is important to wipe the floor daily with some aromatic cleaner.
- If a veterinary diagnosis your dog with Cushing disease, he will prescribe him trilostane and mitotane. These are the two drugs that have shown effective results in the treatment of the Cushing disease. Although, it is difficult to cure the Cushing disease, managing it is simple in many ways if you maintain your dog’s prescription routine.
- If your dog is from ELS, it is highly possible that he is also suffering from gastrointestinal issues (GI). In this situation, your focus should be on improving your dog’s electrolyte balance and rehydration. The main cause of GI in dogs is often a bacterial or viral infection, which will require an antibiotic medicine prescription from a vet. Some dogs also suffer from GI on consuming new or sensitive foods. To treat this type of GI, your dog should be given bland food that is low in fat and easy to digest.
- To cure Pica, you must check your dog’s environment and lifestyle. He must be getting adequate exercise and eating properly. You should also pay him more attention as the lack of it can also be a cause of Pica. Lastly, focus on your dog’s diet. If your dog refuses to eat his regular nutritious meals, you can try feeding him special foods like dog icecream. You must play with him more, spend more time, and can buy new chewable toys frequently.
- To improve behavior problems, you can find a trainer to train your dog or do it yourself. Your dog will stop licking the floor within the first few months of behavioral training, which is why there’s no need for you to worry.
- In the case of neurological conditions like OCD, behavior modification drugs are stated to help. As alternatives, you can also try reinforcement training and play with him till he exhausts himself out. Dogs with stress can also have OCD and playing with them will help you treat that too.
Our team at WhyDoPets believes in setting the healthiest life standards for every pet and is thus always available to help you clear your doubts about your pet friends. For more such interesting articles or blogs, feel free to explore our website anytime you want.