Q:

Why does my dog lick the carpet?

A:

Excessive licking of objects and surfaces including carpets is a common canine behavior, according to Veterinary Medicine. A veterinarian can help determine if the cause is from a medical issue or a specific environmental stressor.

According to Daily Puppy, veterinarians sometimes determine that dogs exhibiting a persistent behavior of licking objects such as carpets have obsessive-compulsive disorder. Treatment includes identification and elimination of external sources of stress. In addition, providing opportunities for play and exercise helps distract dogs from licking.

Other causes of excessive licking include early separation of a puppy from its mother or simply boredom. Early separation can be treated with feeding that mimics natural feeding. Licking resulting from boredom is a source of entertainment and even of soothing for a dog.

Observation of the dog that obsessively licks can determine the source of the problem, according to Veterinary Medicine. Factors to consider include the age at the onset of the behavior, the frequency and any stimulus that appears to encourage the behavior. Temperament, interaction with family members and effects of medication should be observed as possible triggers of licking. Finally, the dog's diet should be examined, including any table scraps, raw meat, bones and supplements. An improper diet can cause nausea, which can lead to excessive licking.

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