Your dog licks the floor and that worries you? You do not understand the reason for this behavior, habitual or sudden, and you are unable to stop this unfortunate habit? Discover the main causes of this attitude and the trails to be explored to reduce or eliminate this behavior.
Why is my dog licking the floor?
First of all, it is a question of observing the frequency of licking: Does your dog constantly lick the ground or is it still very punctual? Then the sudden change of behavior is also an important notion to take into account: Has he done this since he was a puppy or has he adopted this behavior suddenly ?
If your dog has been overnight to lick the floor in a very regular way, I invite you to take the point with your veterinarian as this behavior may be the symptom of stomach ache for example, or even cognitive problems for elderly subjects .
Also, if you watch your puppy lick on the floor, rub his head to the ground, etc. It may just be that the formation of his teeth is painful for him. This will pass with age but make sure you are with your veterinarian.
Several medical causes, various and varied, can explain this disorder, being absolutely not veterinary, I would of course prefer to direct you to a specialist who can detect any anomaly.
Once you have put aside any physical problems that might cause this behavior in your dog (and you can settle with the help of your veterinarian if necessary), then it is a question of understanding the behavioral cause that Could explain this problem.
In the most extreme cases, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) can occur in the most stressed, awry or constantly bored dogs. The licking of soil can indeed be part of the OCD that the dogs develop to finally express their ill-being.
Then, not to mention real OCD, licking the floor can simply be the answer to a boredom or the somewhat stressful arrival of a new member in the social group (baby, spouse, dog, cat, etc.) for example.
In the majority of cases, dogs that start to lick the floor are bored and “caring” dogs through this activity.
Moreover, this attitude can also be a conditioning that you yourself have strengthened. This will be the case of dogs who quickly understand that this behavior allows them to get all the attention of their human. And effect when a new unusual behavior appears in our dog, whether we want to reinforce it or remove it, in any case, attention is paid and if that is what your dog is looking for, then he will reiterate this attitude to get Satisfaction.
What to do to keep my dog from licking the floor?
In the first case, if your veterinarian finds that your dog is licking the ground for medical reasons, it will accompany you in solving the problem.
On the other hand, if the physical and medical reasons are discarded, it is up to you to roll up your sleeves to ensure that your dog no longer adopts this behavior.
In view of the behavioral causes mentioned above, you must:
Offer your dog a safe environment
If for example the arrival of a new member in the social group stresses it, do not hesitate to make sure that your dog has his own cocoon, a place in which he can take refuge and where no one will bother him. The best solution is an indoor niche (always open) where your dog will feel protected, more than with a basket where the danger can eventually come from all sides.
Focus on individual times with your dog
This advice is also to be taken into account when your dog suddenly changes behaviour as a result of the arrival of a new individual at home. He must understand that this does not change his exit habits and the interactions he had with you.
For example, if you adopt a second dog, always keep a time to devote solo rides to the first, so that its daily life is not too messed up.
Even if your family grows up and welcomes a baby for example, don’t let your dog out of the way, even though it is true that it is not obvious.
Spend your dog to the level of his needs
This is very often the reason for dogs to adopt deviant behaviors like licking the ground. Boredom is the worst scourge for a dog, and you will find that it is often the most active dog breeds that act like this.
In fact, spend your dog, don’t let him get bored so much that he has to find alternative activities such as this one. For, let us say: licking the ground is not very disturbing, but a bored dog can also come to self-injure and there it becomes much more serious.
So, to properly stimulate your dog, you need to fill 4 spending needs:
- Physical spending: Walk your dog at least 1h/day (two 30-minute walks).
- Olfactory expenditure: offer them home-occupied toys (Kong, games and research courses, search mats, etc.).
- Mental spending: Teach them new tricks on a regular basis. Even if you don’t want to make it a circus dog, it keeps you awake.
- Social spending: offer meetings with regular, controlled and always positive congeners.
At the end of these changes, you will inevitably see an improvement in the attitude of your dog. It will be much better in his paws and in his head and will no longer need to find alternatives to express his ill-being.