Behavior Mod.

Does Your Dog Lick Things Obsessively?

dog lickDoes your dog lick things obsessively? A dog licking various objects is considered pretty much normal among pet owners and experts. But when a dog obsessively and abnormally licks the floor, or brick walls, or other objects…that is another story. This type of odd behavior might be caused of either a neurological or physical illness. It is one of the hardest of odd canine behaviors to properly diagnose and treat.

The usual reason for dogs licking at things is that they are curious by nature, and they want to investigate things around them. They use it to gather information from whatever they are licking. But when the licking habit comes to the point where you cannot stop or distract him from doing so, then that is where the abnormality comes.

Does Your Dog Lick Things Obsessively?

The cause of obsessive licking could be caused by many illnesses or diseases, or it could just be a bad habit. Therefore it is important to have a check-up with your local veterinarian first to diagnose your dog and explain things, especially when the licking habit started all of a sudden.

  • The first possible cause is lack of nutrients. Because of this, some dogs subconsciously try to cure the deficiencies by licking various inanimate objects around them. So make sure that your dog gets the right nutrients in his daily meals.
  • Your dog may have Cushing’s disease or Hyperadrenocorticism, in which his adrenal gland produces excessive glutocortisoid which can harm or affect many organs in the body such as the kidney and liver. It is also known to cause the excessive floor licking.
  • Liver failure also causes this weird licking habit. The liver failure might have been caused by Cushing’s disease or some other illness.
  • Some neurological diseases can trigger this odd behavior in dogs, as they interrupt some of the normal functions of the body and organs. Examples of such are obsessive-compulsive disorders, in which dogs like to repeat a certain activity or behavior over and over again. Don’t worry though – medical treatment is available for it, and can usually cure this cause.

If no medical disorder or illness was found by the vet, then the problem could be in the dog’s behavior. Perhaps he might have been stressed by a certain event, such as moving to a completely different environment, someone losing a job or getting pregnant, someone dying. Basically, any major event in your life or the dog’s can cause anxiety in your dog. To deal with this, you should maintain a normal physical routine for your dog, and make sure he gets regular exercise, walks, and outdoor games.

Note that this is emphasized by Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer) in an answer on his website:

…keep this in mind — dog anxiety is usually caused by a lack of exercise or release of energy. In order for Gina to stop her obsessive licking, she needs to be properly exercised and fulfilled. She has become fixated on licking, and you need to help Gina redirect that frustration into dog exercise and ultimately, balance.

You will probably have to do some detective work yourself. For instance, there may cases where when the obsessive licking only occurs at certain times, such as when visitors come to your house. This may be a symptom that your dog may be poorly socialized, or just has a nervous personality. You can soothe him with some good music and a DAP diffuser to calm him down. His own crate or room can help relieve your dog’s stress. Determine what the dog’s fears are, and take appropriate action.

Boredom can also be the root cause of this licking. Maybe he needs more exercise, play time, walking around the neighborhood, or anything to keep him busy. Dog toys and chew toys can also work. You can also take him to different places such as parks and beaches, or you can go trekking or swimming.

Does your dog lick things obsessively? Overall, you just need some good diagnosis of the problem and the right communication with your best friend to eliminate this odd behavior.

Have you ever experienced this behavior with your dog? If so, please share below how you cured it.



  1. Teresa

    Mar 18, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    My poodle licks the hardwood floors constantly. Also the bed linens. He has diabetes. Is that one of the diseases that can trigger the licking? H s on a special diet due to diabetes so I'm not sure about the vitamins in his food. It's WD by Hills Science that I get from the vet.

  2. Bobbi

    Jan 31, 2017 at 3:12 am

    My 18 yo Jack Russell is hard of hearing, cannot see very well and despite his age loves to go on walks,but does tire easily. He does lick obsessively and I suspect he is leaving a trail of crumbs, so to speak, since his sniffer seems to be just fine. He marks his favorite places. He does seem to be more agressive with his behavior when he is nervous or stressed for some reason.

    • Barbara

      Feb 4, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      I have very close to the same situation, although my 15 yr old JRT (same hearing/vision issues) doesn't get upset or aggressive about anything. He licks CONSTANTLY! Every bed he takes over is soaked! Have you gotten any good answers?

  3. Laura Huxford

    Oct 23, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    My 9 month old Potcake puppy licks and gnaws at the floor. We are beginning to get holes and I want to know how to get her to stop.

    • Epic

      Dec 23, 2016 at 11:57 pm

      Make sure your dog has plenty of other things to chew and play with so he won’t want to chew or mess up your home and your stuff.

  4. Pat Glynn

    Aug 21, 2016 at 10:00 am

    9 month old Charlie licks and licks. Mostly apolstery chairs, couches, beds. Also leather. Started this many months ago.
    He’s a Morkie

  5. Anna Carter

    Aug 4, 2016 at 2:51 pm,if.we.don’…Help

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