Why Do Dogs Lick Carpet and Floors?

Have you noticed that your dog seems to like licking carpets or floors all of a sudden?

Have you wondered why they do this?

In this post, we will answer the question – why do dogs lick carpets and other floors?

Let’s jump into it.

Why Does My Dog Lick the Carpet and Floor?

There are a few potential reasons why your dog licks the carpet or the floor.

It could just be natural curiosity, casual licking, or something tasty was dropped there.

Or it could be related to mental or physical health issues such as stress or nausea.

If the dog is relaxed when it happens, has no other health symptoms, and the licking isn’t persistent and obsessive, it is most likely just casual licking and part of normal canine behavior.

Who knows, there might even be some tasty crumbs they are licking up.

However, if the canine carpet licking is more persistent, then it is likely that the reason for it is related to the dog’s well-being and, as such, should be investigated further.

Potential Health Reasons for the Behaviour

The first thing to say is that if you are worried about your dog’s health, please think about taking them to the vet for a check-up.

It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your beloved pet pooch.

If you are short of cash and can’t afford vet bills, please look on Google for local and national charities that offer help with veterinary care for dog owners who are in financial difficulty (or take a look at this excellent resource).

Now, let’s look at some of the potential health issues that could cause your dog’s carpet licking:

  1. Stress and anxiety.
  2. Boredom.
  3. Loneliness.
  4. Nausea.
  5. Acid reflux.
  6. Pica (the consumption of non-food items).
  7. Canine cognitive dysfunction (the canine version of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease).
  8. Canine obsessive-compulsive disorder (also known as OCD).
  9. Brain damage or similar neurological issues.

This is not an exhaustive list, but as you can see, some of these issues need to be dealt with sooner rather than later.

So, if you think your dog might be licking the carpet due to a medical condition, you should take them to the vet asap.

And don’t forget, if you are in financial difficulty and are worried about vet bills, this site lists helpful resources for charities to help you pay your bills.

(If you don’t live in the US, you can use Google to find similar help in your country, there is a lot of support for dog owners who are in difficulty).

NOTE – Please don’t freak out if your dog has started licking the rugs, carpets, or floors in your home.

The chances are there is nothing serious to worry about. It’s just worth being extra careful and getting them checked out if you think it’s necessary.

Should You Be Worried About Your Carpet Licking Dog?

If it is an occasional behavior and does not appear too obsessive or harmful to the dog, there is most likely nothing to worry about.

However, if your dog does it obsessively, you should speak to a vet.

If the carpet and floor licking is persistent, obsessive, and seems upsetting for the dog.

You probably should be concerned and take action to ensure any underlying issues are resolved as soon as possible.

How to Stop Your Dog Licking the Carpet or Floor

There are two main ways you can reduce this behavior:

  1. Reduce stress-related reasons your dog may be licking the carpet.
  2. Use distraction training to reduce carpet licking.

If you think stress is the driving force for your dog’s licking behavior, if they are doing it obsessively, stress reduction should be your first focus.

If you are unsure why your dog is acting this way but are confident they aren’t sick, then training is the best approach.

1. Reducing Stress-Related Causes

Your approach to reducing your dog’s stress levels should be two-fold.

Firstly, you should try removing as many stress factors from their life and environment as possible.

For example, try not to leave them alone for too long, try not to change their routines too often, etc.

Secondly, you should try to increase the number of positive factors in their life and environment to fortify their mental well-being.

For example, creating a quiet, den-like area for them to hide in can be effective in helping them cope with stress.

The den should be as quiet as possible, dark, covered, and only the dog should ever hang out there.

(If you have young children, you must ensure they understand that the den is only for the dog and not for them to play in).

A crate with a nice comfy bed inside and covered with a thick dark blanket can make an excellent place for your dog to have some quiet time, de-stress, and chill out.

2. Using Distraction Training to Reduce Carpet Licking

Assuming that the carpet licking is just a habituated behavior and not a sign of something more serious, it should be pretty easy to reduce the behavior using practical training.

The training should follow two simple steps to be repeated until the behavior is reduced or eliminated.

Firstly, when the dog starts licking your floor in a clear and firm voice, say “No.”

Then once they stop, use distraction to pull them away from the behavior and reward them for stopping.

You can distract them with a treat, a chew, their favorite toy, a game of catch, a trip outside, a walk, or even something as simple as giving them some strokes and cuddles.

Every time you catch them licking your floor, you need to repeat this; over time, they will stop doing it as much.

Repetition and consistency are the keys to success with all dog training, including teaching them not to lick your carpets.

Note – You might also find this short video useful. Just click to start playing:


Final Notes On Why Dogs Lick the Carpet

Dogs lick carpets and floors for various reasons, from random licking and discovering tasty treats dropped on the floor to mental and physical problems such as stress or nausea.

If you are worried about this licking behavior, if it has appeared suddenly, and you think it might indicate something more serious, you should consult your local vet for more advice.

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