Why Does My Dog Keep Licking the Floor?

Dogs that repeatedly lick the floor or other surfaces are exhibiting symptoms of compulsive behavior. Anxiety may be triggering this compulsive desire to lick a certain spot on the floor repeatedly, or the behavior is triggered by an unknown cause. There are several options for treating obsessive licking.

The first step in ending a dog's repetitive licking is to consult with a veterinarian about possible medical problems. A dog may have a neurological issue or chemical imbalance that is treatable with medication. If there is no medical reason for the licking, an owner can observe the dog, watching for clues that cause the dog's compulsion. A common reason for unusual dog behavior is stress. Recent changes in the dog's environment or to his routine may be causing emotional issues. Examples of stressful situations that may trigger repetitive licking include losing a canine or human companion, conflict with other dogs, severe punishments, or lack of socialization.

If owners can identify the cause, often the stressful trigger can be removed from the dog's life. Another tactic is to distract the dog from engaging in the behavior by giving it attention, treats, walking outdoors or playing. Teaching the dog to avoid licking the floor through obedience training is another option.