Why is my dog licking the floor? Should I be worried?

Dogs lick everything because they pick up information about their surroundings with their tongues. But if the dog licking the floor constantly and excessively, a dog owner should make sure their four legged friend is alright.

Excessive floor licking isn't something dog owners should ignore.
Excessive floor licking isn't something dog owners should ignore.  © 123RF/fongleon356

It might look to you like there's nothing there, but your dog just keeps lapping away at the floor. What's up with that?

Well, for one thing, dogs have keener senses than us and use them to get a better understanding of the world. They can perceive inconspicuous tastes, and the fact that a dog licks the floor as a result is nothing unusual at first glance.

However, if dogs lick the floor or other surfaces obsessively and constantly, this behavior may actually be something to worry about. Sometimes excessive licking can be a sign that something is amiss

Dog's secret napping spot leads its owner to a momentary meltdown
Dogs Dog's secret napping spot leads its owner to a momentary meltdown

Take a good look at whatever it is the dog is licking and first make sure there's nothing toxic there. If the behavior seems compulsive, take note and watch the pooch.

Some dogs lick the floor because they like whatever it was cleaned with, while others tongue the tiles because something physical or psychological is bothering them. So ask yourself, why is your best friend all up in the kitchen floor.

TAG24' dog guide is here to clue you into which licking behaviors are normal and which are a cause for concern.

Why do puppies lick the floor?

Everyone knows that human babies use their mouths to explore the world. Puppies are the dog version of a toddler: they use their mouths to learn about their surroundings. They lick or chew on new things to figure out what they are.

This behavior is normal and harmless as long as your puppy licks the floor and is relaxed, and whatever they are chewing on isn't harmful. And most of the time the same goes for the big adult dogs.

Puppies learn about the world with their tongues, which is why anything that comes near their nose ends up in their mouths.
Puppies learn about the world with their tongues, which is why anything that comes near their nose ends up in their mouths.  © unsplash/Edge2Edge Media

Why do dogs lick the floor?

Dogs lick the floor for lots of reasons. But if your pooch's everyday life is unstructured and overly stressful, or it doesn't get enough exercise and attention, then it may start acting oddly. Some dogs lick the floor because they find it relaxing, distracting, or soothing.

Reasons your dog may be licking the floor:

  • leftover food stuck to the floor
  • an unpleasant smell
  • the need for attention
  • boredom
  • stress
  • anxiety

Identifying any stressors, problems or fears the dog may have, and then taking any appropriate countermeasures is always a good idea. And that goes for any unsettling behavior that your furry friend displays.

Any animal owners unsure of how they can help their dog should get help from a dog trainer, psychologist, or their veterinarian.

Behavioral abnormality can also be an indication of a serious disease or physical concern.

Possible physical reasons why your dogs lick the floor:

  • it's distracting itself from pain
  • it feels sick or nauseous
  • heartburn
  • a foreign object stuck in its throat
  • a throat inflammation

If the dog's behavior is pathological or compulsive, then it is called Excessive Licking of Surfaces or ELS for short.

The following conditions can cause ELS in dogs:

  • gastrointestinal problems
  • gastric ulcer
  • inflammation of the pancreas
  • liver dysfunction
  • mucosal inflammation
  • adrenal gland dysfunction
If you suspect that your dog has a serious medical issue, then you need to take your pet to the vet as soon a possible.
If your dog can't stop licking at the floor, then it is time to take a trip to the vet.
If your dog can't stop licking at the floor, then it is time to take a trip to the vet.  © 123RF/highwaystarz

Dog licks the floor: How do I know if the licking is a sign of something serious?

Most of the time, there really is nothing to worry about. But it's always a good idea to be on the lookout for warning signs and symptoms. It is also important to make sure that whatever clean the floor with is safe and non-toxic to dogs.

If your dog licks the floor with pleasure and their posture is relaxed, then there's no cause for concern. It should only be noted that floor licking does not become a bad habit of the four-legged friend and the floor was not cleaned with means toxic to the dog.

Dog owners should pay more attention if their dog is excessively licking the floor and does not want to stop, or if they only lick the floor on specific occasions. As a general rule, if the dog licks the floor for more than 15 minutes at a time, you may want to take them to the vet.

If any of the following symptoms are also present when the pooch is floor licking, head to the vet:

  • salivating
  • hiccups
  • belching
  • empty swallowing
  • gagging
  • vomiting
  • breathing problems such as panting or prolonged gasping for air
  • pale mucous membranes (this is a sign of poisoning).

Generally, your dog’s floor-licking behavior is nothing to worry about. But If you get the impression that your pooch isn't doing well physically or mentally, then visiting the vet is never a bad idea.

Cover photo: 123RF/fongleon356

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