Seeing your dog licking the floor or carpet can be concerning and sometimes annoying. While you may wonder whether it’s a sign that something is wrong, the first thing you should know is that floor licking is normal behavior for most dogs.
Dogs often use their mouths to explore their environment. However, if your pup is constantly licking unusual surfaces like the carpet, it may signify something more serious because dogs don’t lick surfaces excessively when exploring their surrounding environment.
In veterinary medicine, incessant licking of objects such as the floor is known as Excessive Licking of Surfaces (ELS). Dogs suffering from ELS may lick surfaces or objects for no obvious reason. ELS is commonly caused by the following:
- Dental or Mouth issue: Dogs may exhibit excessive licking if they have an injury in their mouth, teeth, or gums.
- Gastrointestinal Disorders: A study by the University of Montreal found that 14 out of 19 dogs with ELS had issues with their gastrointestinal tract.
- Neurological Disorders: While this is quite rare, it could be the culprit, especially in older dogs.
- Polyphagia: Increased appetite due to diabetes or the use of drugs can cause your dog to lick the floor excessively.
If you notice your dog appears to be licking the floor a bit too much, you should call your vet, as it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition or behavioral disorder.