Why Does My Dog Lick The Carpet?
Every dog has this unique inherent trait that sets him apart from other dogs. These strange yet charming mannerisms can be harmless and are usually driven by your pooch’s innate curiosity to explore the world with all of his senses. Sometimes, these habits or traits can become a cause for concern, especially if they occur in an obsessive and unnatural pattern. If your dog developed a habit of licking your carpet obsessively, then you need to figure out why your pooch is doing this in order to nip this odd behavior in the bud and fast.
Why Does My Dog Lick the Carpet After Eating?
Excessive Licking of Surfaces
Excessive licking of surfaces, also known as ELS, drives your pooch to lick more than just your carpet. This licking issue may extend to floors, furniture and even walls. In some cases, he may find every surface of your home in need of licking. This compulsive behavior also exists under a different name and condition known as acral lick dermatitis. This condition is linked to paws instead of carpets. ELS may seem like a strange and harmless behavior but there is more to it than meets the eye. If this behavior persists, and your pooch continuous licking carpets, floors and walls, then his can lead to abdominal and digestive issues. ELS can also be a sign that something more serious is brewing under the surface.
According to experts, ELS is an obsessive behavior with a distinctive pattern and not a meaningless isolated event, so there is a big difference between this condition and normal everyday grooming. Normal grooming is when your dog licks and nibbles his fur in an effort to remove dirt and debris from his coat. Repetitive obsessive behavior is something else entirely and can be a harbinger of bad news. ELS may open the door to worrisome health problems such as intestinal blockage. For example, if your dog feasts on something he should not be eating, his intestines might become dangerously clogged. Pets who lick carpet fibers can end up swallowing them and this can cause this type of obstruction to occur in their bowels. Dogs with an upset stomach will normally eat grass after a meal to induce themselves to vomit. In the absence of grass, your pooch will attempt to vomit by licking your carpet.
Research on ELS was carried out by the veterinary teaching hospital at the University of Montreal. Twenty-nine dogs were included in this study and 19 of these dogs were diagnosed with ELS. The other ten were healthy dogs. The results showed that fourteen out of the nineteen dogs who had ELS suffered from different kinds of gastrointestinal problems such as pancreatitis and irritable bowel syndrome. During the study, the sick dogs were given treatments for their abdominal issues before being placed under observation for a period of ninety days. Post-treatment, ten dogs with ELS showed a considerable reduction in their licking habit and nine dogs eventually stopped suffering from ELS altogether.
Therefore, scheduling an appointment with the vet is a step in the right direction, especially if you notice your pooch licking your carpet in a compulsive manner. This will give your vet a chance to find the root of the problem and prescribe the needed treatment as soon as possible.
Dogs tend to do destructive things when they are bored while others resort to licking the carpet obsessively. Chewing furniture and shoes are two examples of destructive behavior that usually occurs in the absence of mental and physical stimulation. If your pooch has an abundant supply of energy, then chances are that he will need a combination of toys and activities to keep him entertained and away from your precious belongings. In this case, the cure for excessive licking behavior lies in providing an energy outlet for your pooch. This includes taking him out for walks twice a day and making sure that he receives his fair share of exercise as well. Playtime in the yard is also a chance for you to bond with your pooch and keep him away from your carpets.
Making smart choices when it comes to toys can keep your dog entertained for hours on end. Therefore, investing in a number of puzzle toys that offer treats as a reward will do your carpet licking pooch a world of good. There are a wide array of ball puzzle toys on the market that you can stock with scrumptious snacks. Try switching out the toys every week so that your dog can have a different lineup of puzzles and games to play with. You can even organize a small scavenger hunt by hiding his favorite toys around the house. Doggie daycare is another great option for bored dogs, especially during those busy workdays at the office. Dropping your pooch off at a trusted daycare center will give him a chance to leave his bad habits and boredom at the door.
If your dog licks carpets obsessively, then the culprit might be stress and not boredom. Figuring out why your pooch is stressed will help you tackle this problem head-on before it turns into a chronic issue. Generally speaking, a calm and stress-free dog will have floppy ears and a relaxed mouth, not to mention a healthy appetite for fun and food. On the other hand, a stressed dog will have a completely different body language. He will be more aggressive toward people and other animals and will avoid making eye contact. He will also lick his lips and nose, and his muscles will become tense and far from relaxed. If your pooch starts licking the carpet whenever the doorbell rings, then the mere idea of having strangers in the house could be causing him a gargantuan amount of stress.
Moving to a new house could be another reason why your pooch is stressed and out of his comfort zone. Adjusting to this new environment is not easy, so you will need to take the necessary steps in order to turn this new house into a warm and friendly home for your pet. Holding on to your dog’s old bed and familiar toys will help him cope better with this sudden change.