If your German Shepherd has been licking the carpet or floor then you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it.

This post will show you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd licks the carpet and floor and what you can do about it.

So, why does my German Shepherd lick the carpet and floor? Possible reasons are that its thirsty or hungry, compulsive behavior, wanting attention, anxiety, a poor diet or illness.

There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd licks the floor. Depending on the cause, there are also a number of ways that you can get it to stop.

Why your German Shepherd licks the carpet and floor

Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd licks the floor will likely come with a number of clues.

Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might be doing it and what you can do about it.

Compulsive behavior

It could be the case that your German Shepherd is licking the floor compulsively. This is where your German Shepherd has an irresistible urge to repeat the behavior. This would be more likely to be the case if your German Shepherd has been licking the floor or carpet repeatedly over the course of weeks or months.

It would also be more likely if it started doing it excessively when something happened that would cause it to develop behavioral issues.

Possible things that could have happened could include:

  • Someone mistreated it
  • Another dog was aggressive towards it
  • It was separated from another dog

Look here for more information about compulsive behavior in dogs.

It’s thirsty or hungry

The reason why it has been licking the floor could be that it is thirsty or hungry. This would be more likely if it does it when it does not have access to water especially if it does it right after being active or when it is hot outside.

In this case, it would help to make sure that it has access to water and a cool area when it needs it.

It wants attention

It could be the case that it has realized that by licking the floor it gets attention so it does more in order to get attention. This would be more likely if you tend to give it attention or treats when it licks the floor and if it does it when you have not been giving it much attention.

It’s anxious

The cause of the floor licking could be that it is anxious. The reason why it might be anxious could be that there is someone around that it does not like, it moved homes recently or it is frightened of something else.

This would be more likely if something triggers it to do it such as the doorbell ringing. It would also be more likely if it does it repeatedly in the same area and there is no food there.

A lack of nutrients in its diet

The cause could be that your German Shepherd is looking to get minerals and vitamins that it isn’t getting in its diet. If you’re unsure that your German Shepherd is getting the nutrients that it needs then you can read on nutritional guidelines here. The good news is that this is not usually the case but you should still take a moment to make sure that you’re feeding it the right things.

If you are unsure of what food to get for your German Shepherd, consider getting dog food designed specifically for German Shepherds. You can get a GSD specific dog food on Amazon here and one for GSD puppies on Chewy here

Illness

There are some illnesses and diseases that can cause dogs to behave unusually and this could be the reason why your German Shepherd has been licking the floor. This would be more likely to be the reason if it has been acting unusually in other ways as well and if it has shown other signs of being ill.

There is food stuck to the floor

It might just be the case that it was licking the floor because there was food stuck to it. This would be more likely if it was only licking one area in particular and if it hasn’t been doing it repeatedly over a prolonged period.

Things to consider

Before trying to get your German Shepherd to stop licking the carpet or floor it would help to have a good understanding of what could be causing it. Below, I will mention a few things that you can consider.

When it first started doing it

It would help to consider when your German Shepherd first started licking the floor.

If it started doing it suddenly then it would make it more likely to be due to being anxious, ill or food being stuck to the floor. It would help to consider what else happened at around the same time that it started to lick the floor.

When it does it

The timing of when your German Shepherd licks the floor would also be useful to consider.

For example, if it seems to start licking the floor when it doesn’t have access to water then it would be much more likely to be due to being thirsty. Whereas, if it only seems to do it when a certain person is around then it might be anxious.

How often it licks the floor

It would also help to consider how often it does it. If it has been licking the floor constantly then it would be more likely to be compulsive behavior and something you’ll want to get help on from a vet or dog behaviorist.

If it does it less often then it would help to consider what is different when it does do it.

How to get your German Shepherd to stop licking the floor or carpet

There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to stop licking the floor that I will mention below.

Make sure its diet is right

Since the cause could be that it is not getting enough nutrients in its diet it would help to make sure that you are feeding it correctly. You can look here to see what you should and shouldn’t feed your German Shepherd you can also consult with your vet on what you should be feeding it.

Take it to a vet

Since illness could be the reason why it has been licking the floor it would help to make sure that it is not ill by taking it to the vet. This would be especially recommended if it has been showing other signs of being ill as well.

Give it distractions

One option you have is to give it things to be distracted with when trying to get it to stop licking the floor. You can do this by training it, giving it chews to chew on or toys to play with.

Give it exercise

German Shepherds are a breed that is supposed to be getting a lot of exercise daily. It is generally recommended that they get at least an hour of exercise per day. If your German Shepherd is not getting that much exercise and it is not injured or ill then it would help to make sure that it does. You can give it exercise by walking it, playing fetch with it or getting a dog walker to do it for you.

Avoid encouraging the behavior

If your method to get your German Shepherd to stop licking the floor is to give it things that it wants such as treats or attention then it could have learned that licking the floor will get it those things.

Instead, it would help to reward it when it doesn’t lick the floor when it normally would and to reward it before it starts licking the floor and then to stop rewarding it when it does.

Most Recommended For German Shepherds

Best German Shepherd Training Program

Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.

Best German Shepherd Guide

Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.

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Our favorites: N-Bone Puppy Teething Ring (on Amazon) - Great for German Shepherd puppies. American Journey Dog Treats (on Amazon) - Great for adult German Shepherds.

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