Why does the dog keep licking the deck?

Original Article By Joan Morris

Dogs find a lot of uses for their tongues, but when it comes to obsessive or repetitive floor looking, it could be a sign that something isn’t quite right.

Question:

I have a 12 year old Lhasa-poo who has taken to licking our composite deck.  There isn’t anything on it, such as dropped food or anything else I can see. My husband thinks maybe it is salty. We do live next to an open space and during spring get a lot of pollen. She does have a water bowl out there that she uses.

Any ideas would be helpful.

Answer:

Your dog’s floor licking could indicate a physical issue or a psychological one. Your first step is to take the dog to the vet for a check-up.

Floor licking can be caused, as your husband suggests, from a lack of nutrients that the dog craves. I doubt she’s getting what she needs from the deck, but she’ll keep trying. Talk with your vet to see if you are giving her a nutritionally balanced diet. Those needs can change as a dog ages, so you might need to switch foods or add in a supplement. That should stop the floor licking.

Licking floors also can be a symptom of illness, including Cushing’s disease, which involves the adrenal gland, liver disease or a neurological disorder. That’s why it’s important to see a vet.

If your dog is getting all the nutrients she needs and receives a clean bill of health, then you can consider whether it’s become a habit. Your dog might once have found something tasty on the deck, so now she keeps licking it in hopes of finding it again.

Dogs also can develop obsessive habits, so the floor licking might indicate boredom or lack of stimulation. You might need to play with her more or get her challenging toys.

Obsessive licking can also be a sign of stress, anxiety and nervousness. As this is a relatively new behavior, you should consider whether anything has changed in your dog’s life or within the household that might be triggering the behavior.


Laurelwood Animal Hospital,located near Jesuit High School on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway offers a full range of companion animal services, including surgery, nutrition and behavior counseling, parasite control and preventative medicine. The hospital also offers advanced imaging through an all-digital spiral CT scanner, a comprehensive dental program and laser treatment.

If you’re looking for quality, compassionate veterinary care in Beaverton, Oregon, come visit us at Laurelwood Animal Hospital.

Laurelwood Animal Hospital

9315 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
Beaverton, Oregon 97005

Phone: (971) 244-4230
Fax: (503) 292-6808

E-mail: info@laurelwoodvets.com