Dog constantly licks the carpet
November 23, 2005 6:37 PM   Subscribe

Stop my dog from licking the carpet

Our 13-year-old Shi Tzu is constantly licking the carpet. She suffers from congestive heart failure and is taking Theophylline for coughing and Enalapril for the CHV. Her appetite is good and she seems active enough for a dog her age. Any ideas why she has to lick the carpet? By the way, she licks both acrylic pile and Persian carpets, and she does not seem to prefer any particular place--she licks lots of different places.
posted by cyphill to Pets & Animals (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Don't look at me.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:45 PM on November 23, 2005

My dog licks the tile floor a lot. The only downside can be that she licks up hair.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:54 PM on November 23, 2005 [1 favorite]

Ours does too. I think in her case it's simply neurotic, as she sometimes begins with licking her paws and proceeds after a few minutes to licking the carpet.

What happens if you tell her to stop?
posted by words1 at 6:55 PM on November 23, 2005

This is a common problem that vets are plenty familiar with. Though there are a lot of theories, the prevalent one seems to be that it's basically OCD.
posted by waldo at 7:02 PM on November 23, 2005

Have you tried licking the carpet yourself? The problem might be that it's delicious. If this is the case, I suggest replacing it with a less-delicious carpet.
posted by Nedroid at 7:26 PM on November 23, 2005

You could try using a bitter spray (Bitter End is my choice, I think it works better than Bitter Apple), I would also start using a distract and redirect technique to try and break the habit - when you see her licking, make a noise at her and redirect her attention to a toy. This can be a really hard habit to break, I'd discuss it with your vet. I'm wondering if could be that she's having some side effects from the medication (does the licking coincide with starting the meds at all?). I would also increase her exercise and training, I know I always say that but exercise and training help tire a dog out mentally and physically, and almost every behavioural problem can be at least helped a little just by giving the dog more mental and physical exercise. Obviously start gradually and do not exceed her physical tolerances.
posted by biscotti at 7:46 PM on November 23, 2005

My dog does this, too. Our vet had no idea why. Now, I will suggest the Prozac for her apparent OCD. Thanks, AskMe!
posted by MrZero at 8:18 PM on November 23, 2005

I'd definitely try licking the carpet myself before I'd dose my dog with Prozac.
posted by words1 at 9:43 PM on November 23, 2005

Why, words1? Prozac works very well for some OCD in dogs. You'd rather have the dog engaging in obsessive carpet-licking which can cause it physical harm (not to mention the anxiety) than medicate it?
posted by biscotti at 10:53 PM on November 23, 2005

I have a cat that licks the floor on occasion. It's just cute and infrequent enough that I haven't been moved to find a solution, but I'd probably head for a tiny bit of curry powder.
posted by krisjohn at 12:23 AM on November 24, 2005

My dog (10-year-old yellow lab) licks the carpet occasionally, but it's usually when I think he's found something delicious. He'll do it in one spot for a brief period of time and that will be that.

He does this maybe a few times a week, but not something so chronic that I'd ever considered it something other than him finding some buried flavor of spilled food or some such.

How frequently is your dog doing this that it's this much of a concern to you?
posted by disillusioned at 3:02 AM on November 24, 2005

our dog licks the carpet, the bed, the pillows, my shoes.... she is just a freaky dog.
posted by nimsey lou at 10:58 AM on November 25, 2005

Response by poster: Well, since it looks like such a common problem we're going to ignore it for now and just ask our vet at her next regular check-up. Thanks all for the answers, I never knew dogs could be so OC.
posted by cyphill at 6:49 AM on November 30, 2005

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