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Why is My Dog Licking the Carpet?

Dog Upset Stomach

So you suspect your dog has an upset stomach and now you have noticed your dog licking the carpet or licking the floor. Most likely your dog is also pacing, acting anxious and gulping repeatedly after licking the carpet, what's going on?

You are right to be concerned because most likely your dog appears very uncomfortable and even panicky, seeking your presence for reassurance. Following are some possible explanation as to why dogs lick the carpet. 

What Warrants an Emergency Visit

Nauseous dogs by instinct want to eat grass.

Dog Licking The Carpet

One possible explanation for this behavior is that the dog has a digestive problem. Indeed, when dogs have an upset stomach, their instinct is to eat grass so they can induce themselves to vomit, but in a domestic setting at home, there's no grass to eat so the dog reaches out for the carpet or anything else in reach.

Many times when these dogs are sent out in the yard, they will seek grass or leaves to get themselves to vomit. Now, of course, not all dogs eat grass to vomit. Many dogs eat grass because they enjoy it and not all dogs of course who eat grass will vomit. In our experience though, dogs who eat grass to induce vomiting often frantically ingest large quantities all at once and they often choose the dry, coarser variety that is likely more effective in making them vomit.

If your dog licks therefore the carpet, you will need to keep a close eye on him as in his frantic effort to make himself vomit he may try to gulp down something that's he's not supposed to. Also, consider it's not a good idea to let him lick the floors or carpets if you use chemical cleaning products.

For many dogs, these licking episodes end with the dog vomiting and then feeling better, but for some dogs, it may last quite long. Fortunately, for some dogs, these licking episodes are short lived.

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"It’s not unusual for a vomiting dog to eat fibrous material (your carpet). Most probably this is a natural instinct to add bulk to the stomach contents to help the dog to vomit up anything that shouldn’t be there."~Dr. Pete, veterinarian

Getting Some Help

Dog's acid reflux worse at night

If your dog's carpet licking episodes occur quite frequently, it's important to consult with the vet to find out what's causing them in the first place. It could be your dog has the canine equivalent of acid reflux, which causes the buildup of acid when the stomach is empty for too long.

Indeed, some dogs get better if they're fed some plain bread that can absorb some of the acid. If your dog is reluctant to eat bread, veterinarian Dr. Fiona suggests trying to feed some meat-based baby food containing no onions or garlic. Some dogs may require anti-acids such as (famotadine) Pepcid AC prescribed by the vet.

So if your dog is licking the carpet, floor, fabric or walls, consult with your vet, especially if these episodes tend to reoccur or last for a long time. While a snack may temporarily help if it's caused by acid buildup, it's important to find the exact cause and address the underlying problem.

For instance, some dogs may also act this way if there's something stuck in their esophagus. As with any health issues affecting dogs, it's important to understand that in some cases, it may be a sign of serious problem.

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