Joe Kinnard: My 14+ Terrier mix has now taken to licking the carpet. I mean she hunkers down and makes a meal out of it. Just licks and licks like it’s a steak. Mind you, nothing is on the carpet (food spills etc.) She does not go back and lick the same
spot over and over.
It is all random. Wherever she plops down, that is her licking spot. At times, we hear here grunting like its the best meal she has ever had. kinda grossing me out here. I’m thinking she is having an anxiety attack or something. Nothing new in the household. Have no idea what has triggered this.
Ask Kelly: Hi Joe, dogs looove to lick. Some have taken to the fine art of licking more than others. Some love licking their pet parents as a sign of affection, (wet kisses) or their toys, themselves and yes…some love licking carpet.
Since I know you don’t want to use your dog as your only source of carpet cleaning, I thought I’d ask one of my favorite veterinarians about your case.
Dr. Stacey Wallach of Town and Country Veterinary Hospital says you’re not alone. Wallach says, “Licking the household carpet is commonly heard by veterinarians and can also be due to medical or behavioral concerns. Some medical conditions include nausea from gastrointestinal disease, dental disease or cognitive dysfunction. It is important for these conditions to be ruled out by your veterinarian before we assume the carpet licking is due to behavior. A good physical examination with bloodwork and a urinalysis will usually give us these answers. Sometimes more diagnostics, including radiographs and ultrasound, will also need to be performed. Once all the medical conditions have been ruled out we can focus on behavioral problems. Some dogs will lick the carpet as attention seeking behavior. The best way to know if this is the problem is to set up a video camera when you are not home and see if this behavior occurs in the absence of people. Anxiety and stress situations are another cause of carpet licking and should be considered once everything else has been ruled out. Talk with your veterinarian about finding the underlying cause and treatment options for both medical and behavioral conditions.”
So Joe, I hope you can get to the bottom of her licking. Since she’s an older dog, the options/possibilities can be greater. So I recommend taking Dr. Wallach’s advice and rule out any medical or cognitive issues.
Please keep me posted!
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