Why is my dog licking the floor?

If you find that your doggy is constantly licking the floor then you might think that it is a matter of concern. However, this type of behavior is quite normal for most of the pooches out there. Although you might find this behavior to be somewhat irritating, it is not that harmful after all. There might be lots of reasons that might urge your pet to lick the floor, and the majority of these reasons are not harmful.

5 reasons why your dog licks the floor

Some of the reasons why dogs tend to lick the floor might appear to be rather complicated for humans to understand. In fact, canines are known to use their tongues for licking virtually everything, and floors are no exception to that.

However, there lies a huge difference between licking occasionally and licking excessively. The latter behavior is something to be concerned about. The constant licking of the dogs might be related to a medical condition which is known as excessive licking of surfaces or ELS. Canines suffering from this condition are going to lick virtually all the time and just about everywhere.

ELS isn’t restricted to licking floors only. Although floor licking might be a common symptom of ELS, pooches struggling with ELS will be licking almost everything.

For the starters, any type of floor happens to be a game that consists of tile, carpet, concrete, wood floor, linoleum, and so forth. Canines suffering from ELS will be in the habit of licking walls, doors, furniture, and even their owners.

ELS can be caused due to various reasons, and several of them are not that major whatsoever. On the other hand, other reasons can be far more serious and need the attention of the vet. In case your adorable pup is licking the floor obsessively and you are of the notion that he is suffering from ELS, then they will be licking the floor relentlessly without stopping.

Unfortunately, there might be several underlying causes that are forcing the animal to exhibit this kind of behavior. Let us explore some of these causes right below.

1. Gastrointestinal disorders

It has been revealed by several studies that most of the canines that have been affected by ELS also suffer from gastrointestinal disorders. This consists of disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas), giardiasis, and delayed gastric emptying.

The good thing is that most of the pooches get rid of their ELS disorders to a great extent once their gastrointestinal disorder has been treated. In fact, more than 50% of them are able to get relief from ELS completely. If left untreated, the majority of the gastrointestinal disorders can become worse over time and can cause lots of discomfort to the doggies. For this reason, make sure to take the help of a vet in case you find that your pup is licking the floor constantly.

2. Monotony

Make sure that your pup is getting adequate exercise during the day. Otherwise, there is a possibility for them to suffer from boredom since they will not be able to release their energy. It is possible for bored dogs to develop bad habits one of which can be licking the floor constantly.

It will be imperative to take out your pooch for a walk to the nearby park on a regular basis and also provide them with interesting toys to play with. If you are uncertain regarding what type of workouts should be provided to him, then go online and enrich your knowledge on this topic.

Even though the smaller breeds will be able to get their exercises indoors, the larger breeds will need to go outside. Several breeds, particularly those with short snouts, face issues while working out or venturing outside in hot weather conditions. They have not been bred properly which prevents them to breathe properly and regulate the temperature of their bodies as well. You need to figure out some ways for providing exercises to these breeds, especially during the hot summer months.

3. Anxiety

It is possible for a canine that is licking the floor obsessively to suffer from anxiety. In fact, they might like to burn off their nervous energy with the help of licking the floor. In that case, you must know the reasons that make them anxious in the long run. Perhaps they are becoming anxious because of you leaving your house for going to your workplace, an alteration in lifestyle that has happened recently, or guests staying at your residence.

You need to find the solutions after comprehending the reasons for their anxiousness. For example, your pet might be suffering from separation anxiety while you’re leaving your house every morning. It will be imperative for you to convince them that they should not be scared of anything. However, this process is quite lengthy, and you need to be patient.

If he is becoming anxious due to the presence of the guests, maybe they need to have your presence for being comfortable or your guests might have to provide them with some treats. Otherwise, it will be a sensible idea to go to any comfortable place where they will not feel threatened.

4. Problems with mouth and teeth

ELS behavior can also be caused because of any injury that has happened to the mouth, teeth, or gums. Pooches suffering from mouth pain or ailments might experience difficulty while chewing or they might have an unpleasant odor within their mouth at all times. Here, we have mentioned some typical conditions that can happen because of infections of the oral cavity and the mouth.

  • Traumatic injuries
  • Dental conditions
  • Stomach ulcers
  • A foreign object that has become stuck in the mouth
  • Oral tumors causing plenty of discomforts

Although the vet will be examining the mouth of the pooch very carefully during the consultation, anesthesia might be required in some cases to fully assess the area as well.

5. Deficiency of nutrition

Similar to human beings, it is also common for canines to suffer from malnutrition. In that case, they might be eating something which is inappropriate for them to do. For example, they might start licking the floor in an attempt to get the nutrition that they’re lacking.

You will be able to evaluate this condition by bringing the photo of the dog’s food to your trusted vet. They will be the best person to inform you whether there is any deficiency of nutrients in the food item your dog is consuming. In that case, it will be a sensible idea to make an alteration in his diet, and this should be able to stop him from licking the floor in the long run.

How would it be possible to stop your dog from licking the floor?

As already mentioned in this article, there might be several causes for your dog to suffer from ELS. In that case, your initial step will be to consult with your vet at the earliest. You need to figure out the underlying cause for this uncanny behavior of your pet for proceeding further with the treatment. The vet is going to perform a comprehensive clinical examination of your pooch. Following this, they will be finding out whether there is any medical problem after performing diagnostic testing.

If they think that there is any neurological disorder, then they might suggest x-rays, urine, and blood testing, ultrasound examination, plus a CT scan or MRI. They will proceed further with the treatment in case they are able to identify any medical condition. Here, we like to mention that ELS treatment can be quite variable in the long run.

On the other hand, the treatment can be somewhat more complicated for any behavioral cause like anxiety or compulsive disorders. In that case, always make sure to take the help of your vet. It will be possible to manage the behavioral disorders that are resulting in ELS in the following ways:


It will be imperative for you to make sure that the place where your pet stays has got enough facilities to keep him engaged. Try to figure out whether they have the required space for staying in a comfortable manner. Are they able to interact with individuals or have they got access to interesting playthings to spend time with? Are you able to provide him with adequate exercise? As a responsible dog owner, you need to find out some way in which your pet can relax. Consider some soothing music and low lighting which will help him to keep calm.


In some cases, medicines will be needed for helping the dogs get rid of their behavioral disorders like anxiety. However, medicines will not have the same effect as environmental modification techniques, and you need to use medications only if required.

Final thoughts

It is quite natural for a canine to exhibit the behavior of licking stuff like the wall, the floor, or the couch. However, it will be a matter of concern if they lick these things obsessively. In that case, don’t hesitate to take the assistance of your vet who will be the best person to provide you with guidance.