Elderly Dog Licking Floor – Why & What To Do?

It’s in dogs’ nature to demonstrate their love through licking. But when they start regularly licking the floor, something may be wrong. A wide range of conditions can be the cause of excessive floor licking among elder dogs.

elderly dog licking floor – reasons

It may be due to gastrointestinal, known as GI conditions. Other conditions can be a behavioral, physical, neurological, compulsive disorder, nutrition deficiency, memory disorder linking to nausea, seizures.

Below, we describe the well-known causes of licking a floor amongst older dogs.

Gastrointestinal (GI) Or Nausea Discomfort

Aging changes the dog’s physical condition, which also can affect the digestive system. Improper diet can also have a negative effect. So, excessive floor licking can also be a sign of gastrointestinal disorder (GI) and Nausea.

This is associated with gastrointestinal tracts such as pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, liver disease, and intestinal parasites. Naturally, in this condition, dogs seek to eat grass, which helps them to vomit and get better. But when didn’t find grass, they start licking the floor.

Elderly Dog Licking Floor Due To Gastrointestinal Discomfort – What To Do

You should take your dog to the vet, who may recommend x-rays, abdominal ultrasounds, or blood tests in order to diagnose the cause of an upset belly.

Different treatments can be introduced, e.g. prescription diets, stomach protectants, probiotics, antacids, antibiotics, and steroids.

Neurological Disorders

Dementia can be another reason for excessive licking of surfaces (ELS) amongst elderly dogs. It is a memory disorder, or we can say, a disorder of the mental process. It may also be linked to nausea and seizures, including a sudden attack of an epileptic episode.

Sometimes seizures like limbic epilepsy may affect only certain body parts. The brain’s limbic area controls many behaviors, so dogs affected by limbic seizures often manifest behavioral changes.

Obsessive-compulsive disorders also fall into the neurological diseases category. They are similar to compulsive obsessive behaviors found in humans – dogs engage in certain behaviors and repeat them over and over again due to mental disorders. Elder dogs are more affected by this condition.

Elderly Dog Licking Floor Due To Neurological Issues – What To Do

First of all, you have to identify the medical problem that has caused the floor licking to keep up a historical record of the condition. Call a veterinary doctor or take your dog to the hospital.

Behavioral Problems

Dog aging leads to the development of behavioral problems similar to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Cognitive dysfunction is a major behavioral issue. In such cases, dogs cannot recognize familiar people, their sleep-wake cycles are disturbed, and new fears appear.

elderly dog licking floor – why & what to do

Anxiety, boredom, disorientation, irritability, reduced desire to play, incontinence, inability to learn new tasks, decreased self-grooming, and stress are the other indicators of cognitive dysfunction. Any of these can cause dogs to lick the floor excessively.

Elderly Dog Licking Floor Due To Behavioral Problems – What To Do

For cognitive dysfunction treatment, a medical record of the past occurrences is essential. See your vet and provide them with a history of behavioral issues. This will help to diagnose the cause and prepare an adequate treatment plan.

Environment rearrangement and drug therapy have proven to improve behavior and reduce cognitive dysfunction. It is necessary for anxiety treatment to search out the cause and introduce a treatment plan to decrease the stress.

Mental stimulation, playing, and exercising with older dogs give promising results. A comfortable environment, therapy, and medication can help reduce stress.

On the other hand, a vital trick is knowing the dog’s body language. Thus, we can understand the uncomfortable situation or recognize whether the dog is getting anxious or not.

Socialization is another factor that can reduce anxiety. You can introduce your dog to new animals, places, and people.

Nutrition Deficiency

Another considerable cause, which leads to licking the floor can be a nutrition deficiency due to low food quality, amount, or lack of required nutrients. Some dogs may be also allergic to certain foods.

Elderly Dog Licking Floor Due To Nutrition Deficiency – What To Do

You should always provide a balanced diet for your dog. Sometimes, adding in supplemental vitamins and minerals helps overcome deficiencies. Nutritional deficiencies may lead to severe disabilities or even death. So be careful about the nutritional value of your dog’s diet.

Dental Pain

Elder dogs often suffer from dental problems and experience pain inside the mouth, throat, and teeth, which may be a reason for excessive licking. When something is stuck in the dog’s mouth, it tries to remove it through licking.

Elderly Dog Licking Floor Due To Dental Pain – What To Do

For the treatment of pain, visiting a professional is the best solution. Mostly, elder dogs are prone to dental, oral, and throat problems, so routine dental check-ups can help reduce the pain.


Aging is always a challenge for dog owners. We have to face different physical, behavioral, and cognitive changes.

Caring for elder dogs is tough duty, but this is when the owner can return their love!