why is my dog licking the floor?

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Is your dog licking the floor constantly? It can be annoying right? It makes you wonder, “why is my dog licking the floor?”. It’s a more common occurrence than you think and if it’s happening to you it’s more than enough to make you worry. Anything could be on the floor; anyone could’ve stopped there and God knows what else they would’ve stepped on before steeping there and your dog could be licking up something dangerous.

If you try to stop them and they stop and do something else then there isn’t much to worry about. It becomes a problem when after you stop them, they just change position and keep going like nothing happened. If you’re facing this then it could be a sign of a lot of different things. We’ll do our best to cover them here.

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why is my dog licking the floor?

This persistent licking of not just the floor but any surface is referred to as ELS (Excessive Licking of Surfaces; yeah, I know, it’s not a very creative name) and it has numerous causes so the method of treatment depends on the cause. Dogs, just like humans can develop dangerous and compulsive habits.

It might start because of one of many reasons and if left unchecked it will most likely become a habit and then it becomes even harder to stop. You should try to figure out the cause as soon as possible so you can stop it before it escalates. Let’s look at some of the reasons why this might happen:

There’s Food on the Floor: If it isn’t excessive or a very common occurrence then this is probably the reason. There might be crumbs or small pieces of food on the floor where they are and they’re either hungry or just want a taste of it out of curiosity. You probably just can’t see it from where you are.

If this is the case it’ll just be a one-off occurrence and will only happen when they see food on the floor. However, if they find food on the floor a lot, they might just end up looking for food themselves with their tongue.

Boredom: They might just have nothing to do. They know that if they start licking the floor, you’re likely to try to stop them and they just want your attention. Spending some more time with them will help but don’t ignore them because if you do it’ll most likely become a habit.

Anxiety: Their anxiety could be a product of multiple things like moving to a new place or not being comfortable around certain people or even feeling abandoned. They might just be looking for a way to get rid of their nervous energy and doing this is helping them cope the same way we as humans have varying methods of coping with different situations. You can start looking for a solution once you figure out what’s causing the anxiety.

Malnutrition: I know you love your dogs and you feed them well and make sure they get all the nutrients they need. Sadly, despite our best efforts it’s easy to overlook one or two things simply because we don’t know. A lot of times they will start eating random things and might end up eating inappropriate things to get those nutrients but in a lot of cases they might start licking surfaces and, in your case, it’s the floor.

The best solution is to speak to your veterinarian. Tell them what you’ve been feeding your dogs and how you’ve been feeding them and they’ll tell you what adjustments you need to make. It’s best to do that than to start trying to guess or ask people who don’t know any better because it’s not knowing that got you here in the first place.

Gastrointestinal Upset: Your dog might have eaten something that didn’t sit well and now they’re uncomfortable. It could be something mild and all the other signs will be diarrhea and abdominal pains but it might be as bad as a blockage. If you notice additional signs like hunching, whining, repetitive vomiting, abdominal pains, diarrhea and unusual weakness or unresponsiveness, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

Neurological Disorders: This isn’t very common but it’s also a potential reason, especially in older dogs who might have started to develop canine cognitive dysfunction. Just like dementia that humans suffer from, aging will have its effects and cause changes in their brains and extreme cases can lead to this cognitive dysfunction.

Other neurological issues like seizures, the presence of a brain tumor or hydrocephalus an accumulation of fluid in the brain) could lead to strange changes in behavior which could, in turn, lead to ELS. They might also be suffering from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) known as CCD (Canine Compulsive Disorder) for dogs.

It prompts them to perform actions repetitively with no discernable reason which will interfere with their ability to function normally and these actions are extremely difficult to stop. Depending on the condition, there might be ways to manage and treat it. Your veterinarian is in the best position to perform the necessary tests and advise you on this.

Other Health Problems: It could also be a sign of numerous other things. Even simple things like a toothache or pain in another area in the mouth might be the cause. If it just starts out of nowhere and you can’t see any reasons why it’s best to take them to the veterinarian so any underlying problems can be dealt with.

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Are My Tiles or Carpets Causing My Dog to Lick the Floor?

Other than the fact that some floor coverings or finishes hold on to spilled food easier than others, there really isn’t anything else that involves the type of flooring that’ll lead to your dog licking the floor.

My Dog is Licking the Floor and Panting

In this case, it’s probably anxiety. Panting can be a sign of stress and this can be a sign of stress or anxiety. However, there’s also the chance that your dog has an intestinal blockage or gastrointestinal upset and that’s why they’re panting while licking the floor.

My Dog is Licking the Floor and Vomiting

Some dogs usually lick the floor just as they’re about to vomit. If this happens just once then monitor them over the next few days and if you don’t see any signs then there’s nothing to worry about. If you notice any other unusual behavior, any symptoms of sickness or vomiting are happening constantly then you should take them to the veterinarian.

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This is a similar condition to ELS but if your dog is not just licking but eating things too then they’re most likely suffering from Pica. It might just be one specific object or all sorts of objects but Pica can lead to a lot of issues like choking, an intestinal blockage, or consumption of items with contents that might be toxic to them.

Pica, just like ELS can be caused by most of the reasons stated above and if you notice your dog eating strange objects like this you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

What Can i do to stop my dog from licking the floor?

Immediately you notice the behavior you should take action to stop it before it turns into obsessive behavior. You can try distracting them and spending more time with them so they won’t be bored all the time or feel abandoned. Playing with them and spending time with them can also make them feel better if anxiety is the cause of the problem. If there are any other signs present then you should take them to the veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What if My Dog is Licking Me?

Most of the time they’re just showing affection. However, just like the floor, there might be a little food somewhere on your skin or clothes and they’re just trying to eat it. Other things like nice-smelling lotion and even the salty taste of sweat can attract them. It’s also a way of getting your attention if they want something. However, if they’re doing it excessively then it’s most likely a case of ELS.


Licking the floor or any other surface on occasion is normal because they’re probably just trying to eat something. If it becomes excessive then it’s a sign of something else and if there’s no reason you can see, you should visit the veterinarian.

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