Why Dogs Lick Carpet



There is a show about weird addictions, things that people are addicted to that have no addictive chemicals themselves, no known trends with addiction, and yet all the same, people get hooked. If a show like that existed for dogs, licking carpets would make the cut.

You see a lot of dogs eat carpet. Chewing and scratching and whatever else they can do to tear it into tiny little bits. For something so foreign to the natural habitat of a dog, carpet always seems find a special place in their hearts. What if your dog just licks it though? It is weird, I will give you that, not destructive. Is it something you should be worried about? What can you do to correct that behavior?

The Root of the Behavior

Dogs in all their simplicity are still highly complicated and diverse creatures. For this reason, it can sometimes be impossible to tell why a dog does what it does, and just because one dog has a reason to lick your carpet does not mean another is licking it for the same reason. First, let us assume your carpet is spotless. If you have got some bacon hidden away in there then you just may have found your answer. If the carpet is clean then this is likely a systemic issue and they do it repeatedly. This being the case, then your most likely culprit is good old fashion boredom. Your dog may quite simply have nothing better to do and so they fill that time with the joys of licking your carpet. Dogs often react unpredictably in high stress environments and under anxiety as well. Simple and repetitive behaviors can often be adopted by a dog seeking comfort. If you have introduced someone new, dog or otherwise, into the household recently, then this may be the cause of this unusual behavior. It is important to keep in mind that your levels of stress and anxiety can pass on to your dog very easily. Dogs are extremely empathetic and will adopt your demeanor quickly. This will sound like a cop-out, but there may be no particular reason why your dog enjoys this. Sometimes your dog is just weird and likes weird things, not unlike the odd and unseemly addictions people get themselves into. This does not mean there is no recourse and that your dog is destined to lick straight through that carpet and the hardwood underneath until they find themselves at the foundation. Often there is no reason, and occasionally the reason is so obscure that you could not figure it out if you were Sherlock Holmes himself. Even if you cannot discern the cause of the behavior, you can still correct them.

Encouraging the Behavior

This is commonly a boredom based behavior, and like boredom elsewhere you just have to fill up that time. Make sure the dog has toys around that it enjoys and things to do. It could also indicate that your dog is not getting enough exercise and this is how all that pent-up energy is manifesting itself. To reduce other contributing factors, make sure your dog has a comfortable and familiar environment that they can retreat to when they are stressed or in a high anxiety atmosphere. This environment should be away from the high traffic areas of your home and should be a space specifically for your dog. A comfortable bed and a few toys can do wonders. Dogs may compulsively lick things due to other medical issues. In cases like these, they will often lick things other than carpet if they are removed from a carpeted environment. You can train them out of this behavior but it is much more important to identify and treat the conditions causing them to go to this comfort-seeking behavior. If your dog just does this, and you have no idea why then it might just enjoy the sensations. A training regiment built around this behavior should easily be able to change it. Contact a trainer or a behavioral specialist to be able to learn more as to why your dog is behaving this way, and what you can do about it.

Other Solutions and Considerations

A trainer is going to be the fastest way for you to correct this behavior. However, with the right practices each day you can adjust this behavior yourself. Other compulsive behaviors have likely the same list of potential causes and the same solution. Introducing some anti-lick spray to areas of your carpet that the dog typically licks can quickly change the behavior for some dogs, though others will find another area to lick. If you cannot discern what is causing this behavior then contact a behavioral specialist to get more specific information regarding your dog. Someone who can evaluate your home and the behavior first hand can glean a lot more information.


Overall, licking the carpet is not really going to have any negative health benefits. Compulsive behavior is common for dogs that are particularly high-strung. If this behavior comes out of the blue then it may indicate a change in their mental state or possibly underlying health concerns so be sure to contact your vet if this could be the case.