Why Does My Dog Lick The Carpet?

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There's nothing quite like the slobbery kiss of a dog. When you come home, you're probably used to your furry friend running up to give you some hello kisses. But what happens when your dog starts licking some other things, like for example, the carpet? That's right some dogs have a tendency to obsessively lick carpeting. If your dog suddenly starts getting overly familiar with the floor, there are a few causes that may be irresponsible.

A Lack of Nutrients

A dog's diet plays a significant role in his or her well-being. Dogs have evolved to a point where they can sometimes subconsciously try to cure or correct any deficiencies that they perceive in their diet. Sometimes those cures can take place through some unusual means – like licking or eating inanimate objects, such as carpeting. Below we've laid out what a dog's ideal diet should consist of. Read through our list and see if your dog is getting everything he or she needs in her diet.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are essential to keeping your dog happy and healthy. Carbohydrates are what give your dog the energy to run and play every day. Carbohydrates can also provide essential vitamins minerals and fiber. Ideally, your dog will receive his carbohydrates through whole grains. Whole grains will help to keep your dog's blood sugar level steady and will keep him feeling fuller, longer. This will lead to less in between meal whining and begging.

When looking at potential dog foods try to find a brand that contains two to three carbohydrate sources. The best sources of high-quality carbohydrates include whole grains, brown rice, whole corn, barley, and potato.

Protein

Protein is another essential aspect of a dog's diet. Protein helps our dog build muscle, maintain their energy levels, and grow properly. Ideally, a protein source should be one of the first few ingredients listed in your dog food. The best sources of protein include chicken, fish, beef, lamb, pork, chicken meal, soybean meal, and eggs. Try to find a dog food that has one to two sources of protein,  because when it comes to protein more is not better. The main ingredient in your dog's food should be carbohydrates followed by protein. Too much protein can be potentially harmful to dogs.

Fats and Oils

You may have been a little weary when you saw the word fat, but just like humans, fats and oils play an essential role in creating a balanced diet for our pets. You may find it helpful to think of your pet's diet like the common human food pyramid. Carbohydrates should be the base of the pyramid, followed by protein, then fats and oils, vitamins, and lastly, minerals. Dogs don't need to be as concerned about fats and oils as humans do. Typically, when humans think about fats they usually also think about cholesterol levels and the subsequent effect that fats can have either on their good or bad cholesterol. Dogs naturally have higher levels of HDL (good cholesterol) than LDL (bad cholesterol). Try finding a dog food whose source of fats and oils is one of the following options: chicken fat, pork fat, soybean oil, or sunflower oil. A dog food only needs one source of fats and oils.

Vitamins and Minerals

When looking at the list of nutrients needed for your dog's food you probably wondered why fruits and vegetables weren't listed. Instead, we've listed vitamins, and the primary source of vitamins in dog food is fruits and vegetables. Vitamins aid in the release of energy from other nutrients and help to boost your pet’s immune system. There are two basic types of vitamins, fat soluble vitamins and water soluble vitamins. Fat soluble vitamins get absorbed into our pets bodies the same way that fats are absorbed, whereas water soluble vitamins are absorbed in the small intestine. The food that will provide vitamins for your dog will also be responsible for providing much-needed minerals. Like vitamins, minerals help keep our pet's bodies healthy and working at their highest capacity.

Good sources of fat soluble vitamins include carrots, eggs, asparagus, corn, and cabbage.  Some excellent sources of water soluble vitamins include fish, leafy greens, beans, broccoli, and sweet potato.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder  (OCD)

While less frequent, dogs can get OCD just the same as their human counterparts. OCD in dogs can also be referred to as Canine Compulsive Disorder (CCD) or Compulsive Behavior Disorder (CBD). OCD can be brought on by a multitude of stressors including

  • Close confinement

  • Chaining

  • Positioning for status

  • Changes to an established social structure

  • Separation

  • Unpredictable or uncontrollable environments

Common OCD behaviors include

  • Tail-chasing

  • Fly snapping

  • Shadow chasing

  • Air licking

  • Skin sucking

  • Licking

  • Barking


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Breeds predisposed to OCD

  • Doberman Pinschers

  • Bull Terriers

  • German Shepherds

  • Miniature Schnauzers

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

  • Bernese Mountain Dog

  • Retrievers

  • Herding Breeds

  • Pomeranians

Retrievers and herders have statistically been shown to have a predisposition to OCD. However, any breed can be affected by OCD. If you suspect that your dog is suffering from OCD the best course of action is to seek individualized care from your vet.

Is It A Quirk or Something More?

Most dogs appear to be bouncy and happy, but they can suffer from mental illnesses just like any other animal or human. You may not always be able to ensure that your dog is the epitome of perfect health, but knowing some of the common causes behind odd behaviors such as licking the carpet can help you be more aware of what is and is not normal for your pet. This awareness can help you identify when a behavior transitions from an odd quirk to a concerning symptom. Every dog is unique,  while OCD and an unbalanced diet are two of them most common causes for excessive carpet licking, other causes could be to blame for your dog’s new unique habit. When in doubt we always recommend checking with your veterinarian to find the source of your dog’s carpet licking.


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