Dogs can be quite the oddballs when they feel like it, but one of the strangest things they do may be licking the carpet. Yet, it just doesn’t make sense for dogs to repeat behaviors without any reason. There is always some underlying factor you may have missed.
If you find yourself scratching your head over why they are doing it, you should know you definitely aren’t alone. Dog behavior consultants have found that excessively licking the carpets can be a sign of something deeper. Let’s learn why dogs lick carpets today.
Rule Out Medical Issues
This may seem like harmless behavior or even just mildly annoying, but you should rule out medical issues too. If the dog is licking the carpet frantically and excessively, it could indicate that it doesn’t feel well. You can start by taking them to the vet to rule out any medical issues. Once those are ruled out, you can take a look at the behavioral causes that may be at play here.
1. Feeling Nauseous
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) or nausea could be at play when it comes to why dogs lick carpets. Usually, dogs look for grass when they are feeling queasy and want to vomit. With no grass around, the dogs may start to instinctively lick the carpet. They may also drool, swallow, and smack their mouths together when they are feeling sickly.
Nausea can be caused by inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, adrenal disease, exocrine pancreatic insufficiencies, and even cancer. But in some cases, it can be as simple as stress or changes in the diet.
2. Problems in the Throat/Mouth
There may be some issue with the mouth, gums, teeth or throat that could be leading to excessive licking. If there is something stuck around the dog’s mouth, it can cause more drooling; the dog may try to remove the drool by licking the carpet. If the problem is hurting them, then pain can also lead to licking. It could be worth the effort to look around in the mouth to see if something is stuck there. Reddened gums and loose teeth should also be checked for.
Polyphagia refers to an increase in food consumption. Dogs with polyphagia are known for their ravenous appetite. They tend to obsessively want to eat random things like clothes, rugs, carpets, and even trash. Polyphagia may be a reason why dogs lick carpets excessively.
4. Neurological Issues
Disturbances in the central nervous system can be the cause of the odd behavior. We often associate seizures with uncontrolled movements by the entire body, but sometimes, they can manifest in uncharacteristic forms and only affect specific body parts. For example, limbic epilepsy can affect behaviors; dogs with it may develop strange behavioral changes.
But if you are able to interrupt their licking by calling them or getting their attention, it is most likely not a seizure.
Old behaviors can persist when we reward our dogs with attention. It doesn’t matter whether it is positive or negative, attention-seeking dogs just want attention. If they are under-stimulated, feeling neglected, possessive, or bored, they can try out different odd behaviors to get the attention of their owners.
6. Compulsive Disorders
Compulsive disorders can often become quite ingrained and be difficult to even interrupt. Dogs may be repeating behaviors out of mental issues, just like humans do at times. If there are no medical issues, you may benefit from seeing a veterinary behaviorist in such cases.
Dogs that have anxiety may find relief by doing some odd things since it could be their coping mechanism. If your dog is known for being anxious and starts to lick the carpet too much, you should consult with the vet. They can help narrow down what their phobias or stressors are, making it easier for you to keep them happy.
Some dogs can become stressed out or frustrated if they have no outlets for all the boundless energy some dogs can have. This stress can come out in odd ways.
8. Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
Dogs can face cognitive decline once they start aging. Canine Cognitive Dysfunction is similar to Alzheimer’s disease and causes some to develop odd behaviors. If an older dog suddenly starts licking carpets excessively, it can be due to cognitive decline.
Other signs can include irregular sleep cycles, being unable to recognize familiar people, and getting confused about similar locations. Increases in anxiety, accidents, and the onset of new phobias or fears can also be signs of cognitive decline.
Dogs often eat strange things like rocks, socks, and clothes. But if eating up non-foods turns into a hobby, it can be an indication of the pica disorder. If your dog is trying to eat out parts of the carpet along with licking it, you may want to get them checked for pica.
10. It Could Be Just Casual, Old Licking
Honestly, it could just be casual licking. Some reasons why dogs lick carpets could be that someone spilled something that smells good on the carpet. If they don’t do it excessively, you don’t have much to worry about.
Let’s be honest: dogs can do the strangest things without batting an eye. But there can be some underlying issues for why dogs lick carpets that you should keep in mind. If you suspect something bigger at play or if they are licking things excessively, you could get the dogs checked out!
Discover how to create a joyful, healthy home for your pet.
Subscribe to your weekly rundown of practice, real life ideas and training tips straight to your inbox.