Licking is a normal canine behavior. When your pet licks your face or your feet, it is his way of saying in dog language that he loves you. In the canine world, licking is associated with feelings of pressure and comfort.
However, it can also be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Dogs tend to lick their paws when they are suffering from an allergy or a yeast infection.
But what if your pooch started licking the carpet all of a sudden? It looks normal and even cute but not when your pet does it compulsively. Find out the possible reasons behind this strange licking behavior and see how you can address it.
Why Do Some Dogs Lick the Carpet?
Oftentimes, it’s just because a dog is left without anything particular to do. Like us, our pets can also become bored. Licking can be their way of providing themselves with an activity. The best way to relieve your pet’s boredom is to take him out for a walk.
You will know that your dog is bored if that excessive licking is accompanied by restlessness, aggression, and constant barking. He might focus his attention on anything that will keep him occupied, like digging the trash bin.
Kill doggie boredom by exposing your pet to interesting places and activities. If your buddy has never visited a doggie park then why not bring him there? Or you can dine with your pooch in dog-friendly cafes and eateries.
As with people, canines benefit from having daily physical activities. Certain breeds are naturally hyperactive and enjoy adventures. Examples of energetic dog breeds are Siberian Huskies, Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, and Jack Russell Terriers.
They also need mental stimulation so it helps to play games with your dog or challenge him every now and then. There are toys in which you can hide small treats and it will be your pet’s job to solve the maze as quickly as he can.
If he’s not doing it out of boredom, perhaps a drink was spilled or food was dropped on your carpet and your pet found it interesting. Before vacuuming your carpet, sprinkle baking soda on it to get rid of any food odor.
Other than boredom and remaining food bits on your carpet, here are the other possible reasons why dogs lick the carpet:
- Allergy – many dogs do it when they allergies act up. Your pet possibly ate something that made him ill. If your pet is on specific dog food or supplement, you may research if there is a change in their formulation. The problem with allergies is that they are not easily diagnosed. Food elimination takes time.
- Emotional distress – dogs may display stress and anxiousness in so many ways, and excessive licking is one of them. You’ll know that a dog is depressed if the excessive licking is associated with sudden changes in his sleeping pattern and he does not want to eat. Some dogs will show no sign of interest in doing anything.
- Behavioral problems – dogs can develop cognitive problems and there are many reasons behind this. Dogs can be distant and may exhibit weird repetitive behaviors when they are always confined in the four corners of a certain place. The other possible causes of excessive licking are the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and separation anxiety.
Dogs can experience behavioral problems, ranging from excessive licking and chewing to poop eating. These problems should be addressed immediately before they become worse and turn to uncontrolled aggression. Did you know that separation anxiety is the most common reason for canine behavioral problems?
You will know that a dog has separation anxiety if he looks anxious whenever you are getting ready to leave and then becomes insanely happy as if he is going crazy when you come home. When your dog loves you, it’s just natural for him to be always wanted to be near you.
Dogs are creatures of habit. For example, if you used to be with him 24/7 and you suddenly had to leave him for several hours, he may notice the changes. Rescue dogs are also prone to developing separation anxiety.
How to Prevent a Dog from Licking the Carpet
Distract your pet’s attention and ensure he gets a lot of exercise throughout the day. All dogs need physical activities to keep them in their top shape. Exercising your pooch before you leave him at home will also help him rest when you are not around.
Don’t forget that there are dog breeds that are naturally more active than others. Terriers, Australian Cattle Dogs, and Bernese Mountain Dogs can be very energetic and they have to be involved in physical activities that also challenge their minds.
Even the most laid back dog breeds such as Chow Chows, Tibetan Spaniels, and French Bulldogs require 15 minutes of exercise per day. If you can’t walk your dog early in the morning, you should do it in the evening when you come home.
In case you cannot be with your pooch all day and there’s no one to keep your dog company at home, consider getting a sitter for him. A pet sitter should provide care, exercise, and companionship while you are away. If you are looking for a more budget-friendly way, a day-care for canines is your next best option.
Also keep in mind that dogs have a powerful sense of smell. So if there are traces of food left on your carpet, your pet will keep on licking it. Maintain a vacuuming schedule to keep any lingering odors at bay. Use deodorizing products, such as baking soda to remove the smell of dropped food or spilled drinks on your carpet.
In case the food stain is difficult to remove, mix the baking soda with water to make a cleaning paste. Apply it on the part where there is a stain and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. Use a damp cloth to clean it and vacuum only once it is completely dry.
If there are crumbs on your carpet, pick them up using a tissue and collect the tiny bits using a lightly wet sponge. You may also use vinegar diluted in warm water to clean and deodorize your carpet. This also works for light colored carpets.
Why You Need to Stop Your Dog from Licking the Carpet
It’s not healthy for any dog to lick substances excessively . If your dog continues with this habit, he may put his attention into licking his own skin. This can become a problem especially when your pet does it without control and he could develop Acral Lick Dermatitis, a result of chronic licking.
Acral Lick Dermatitis or Lick Granuloma may occur when your pet is suffering from an itchy skin condition. Sometimes, a dog will also lick his painful joints. Stress and OCD can also contribute to lick granulomas.
The Bottom Line
A dog’s licking behavior can mean a lot of things. It can be caused by something as simple as having dropped some food on the carpet and your pet could not help but get a taste of it. In some instances, this can be a sign of a behavioral problem that needs to be addressed immediately.
Your pooch might be going through sadness or anxiety. Cheer him up by spending more time with him, taking him for a walk, or buying him a toy or his favorite treat. If none of these work, schedule an appointment with your vet to further discuss the issue.